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On Walkabout At: El Paso’s McKelligon Canyon

Quite possibly the most visited location in the Franklin Mountains State Park located in El Paso, Texas is the scenic McKelligon Canyon:

The turn off to the canyon is located right in front of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center which is probably the most recognizable building in El Paso.  The twisting road that leads up the canyon is a popular route for joggers and I occasionally jog up the road myself in the morning.  At the end of this road is a picnic area where a number of hiking trails into the surrounding mountains begin.  Many of the trails lead up to a variety of caves that litter the sides of the Franklin Mountains:

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I headed up a trail leading to one of these caves:

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The trail was steep in some areas and all around I was surrounded by lush Chihuahuan Desert scenery:

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Along the way up the mountain there was plenty of nice rocky mountain scenery to enjoy as well:

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The trail became steeper and steeper as I got closer to the cave:

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Something that really annoyed me as I hiked up the mountain was the graffiti that various people have littered the mountain side with over the years:

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Anyway I was just about to reach the cave:

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As I approached the cave I could see that it to was covered in graffiti:

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The entire inside of the cave was covered in graffiti as well:

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I just don’t get why the first instinct someone would have after hiking up here would be to pull out a can of spray paint?  Anyway the view looking down into McKelligon Canyon was tremendous from the cave:

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After spending only a few minutes at the cave I then next proceeded to head up to the ridgeline of the Franklin Mountains above the cave.  The trail became much steeper now and the wind was getting pretty bad at this point:

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The wind during the spring time is notorious in El Paso and so I was getting a pretty good taste of it once I reached the top of the ridgeline that offered views over to the west side of El Paso:

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Here was the view looking towards the northwest where the green farms and ranches along the Rio Grande River can be seen:

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Here is the view from the ridgeline looking back down to McKelligon Canyon:

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Here is the view looking towards the 6,791 feet (2,069 meters) South Franklin Mountain:

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As I looked towards South Franklin Mountain I noticed these two hikers standing at the top of on the slopes of the mountain:

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From the ridgeline I also saw a rock outcropping with something posted at the end of the rock:

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So I decided to walk out to the end of the rock formation and saw this Mexican flag posted at the end of the rock:

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From the rock formation I also was able to get a great view of some of the posh homes that can be found on El Paso’s west side:

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Here are a few of the nice homes that can be found at the base of the mountains:

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I thought this home was particularly nice:

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Here is the view looking towards the northwest of El Paso:

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Here is the view far to the west and of the Potrillo Mountains that lie in the remote southern New Mexico desert wilderness:

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Here is the view of Mt. Cristo Del Rey:

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Mt. Cristo Del Rey is one of America’s most dangerous tourist attractions because the Cross that is built on the mountain is located at the point where New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico all share a common border.  Due to this bandits from Juarez regularly cross over and assault hikers that are climbing the mountain to visit the shrine.  Thus authorities advise potential walkers to only climb the mountain in a large group in order to fight off potential attackers.  Sounds like a lot of fun, huh?  Needless to say I have no plans to hike up that hill.

Here is a look at the Rio Grande River which by the time it passes through El Paso it has little water left in it:

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After I finished checking out the view I walked back to the ridgeline from the rock outcropping and continued to walk along it and enjoying the views:

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I eventually had enough of the wind on top of the ridgeline and then proceeded back down the mountain to the McKelligon Canyon picnic area:

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As I headed down the mountain I had a nice view once again of South Franklin Mountain that loomed in front of me:

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Here is the view looking back towards the ridgeline of the Franklin Mountains that I traversed during this hike:

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McKelligon Canyon is very popular with locals, but it is also nice place for people visiting the city to have lunch and take a quick hike into the mountains if looking for something to take up an afternoon while visiting the city.  The gate is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for those interested in visiting the canyon.  During the summer the canyon is also the location of the Viva El Paso show that is well worth checking out as well.

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