Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

On Walkabout At: West Cottonwood Spring, Texas

My final stop before heading back to the parking lot during my hike up to the summit of North Franklin Mountain just outside the West Texas town of El Paso was the desert oasis at West Cottonwood Spring:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

Most people hike up to West Cottonwood Spring as a separate day hike, but I had enough energy left after summiting the 7,192 feet (2,192 meters) North Franklin Mountain to go ahead and hike up this trail as well.  The spring lies at the base of a valley formed by the slopes of North Franklin Mountain:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

The trail wasn’t much of a trail but rather just a scramble up a slope of loose rocks that have been washed down the side of the mountain over centuries of erosion.  As I climbed up the trail I passed by this old, rusted water tank that was once used by the miners that worked the mountains for copper.  If you look at the left upper corner of the picture you can see one of the cottonwood trees that grows at the spring:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

Here is an additional look at the water tank:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

From the water tank I then hiked up the last stretch of the trail where I entered into a small grove of tall trees:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

These are by far the largest trees I have seen in the Franklin Mountains.  If anyone knows of any larger trees please leave a comment, but I have hiked all over these mountains and these are the tallest ones I have seen.  Underneath the shade of these trees there is a pair of park benches to sit down on, which I most readily did to momentarily rest my legs after yet another ascent on the day and enjoy the shade provided by the trees:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

Behind the grove of trees there is a trail that passes through dense grass and other vegetation:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

The trail slightly climbs up the mountain towards the source for all this vegetation which is this spring that drips from the rocks:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

The water dripping from these rocks is enough that it provides a very small trickle of water that passes through this desert oasis before evaporating in the desert heat that lies beyond:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

The trail also passes by this small cave that probably has served as a convenient source of shelter for many people over the centuries:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

From the cave I had a nice view of the surrounding terrain such as the desert oasis that lied below me:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

To the north I could see the trail that leads to the summit of the mountain that I traversed earlier in the day to Mundy’s Gap that can be seen in the upper right of the picture:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

Finally here is a picture of the route I had to climb to get up to this oasis and eventually had to climb back down to get back to the parking lot from where I started this hike:

Picture from West Cottonwood Spring

For those that just want to hike up to the spring as a day hike, it should take no longer than an hour for most people and it really is a nice place to hang out and have a picnic for example.  The shade and coolness provided by this oasis stands in deep contrast to the blazing desert heat that lies outside the shadows of these lush trees.  Because of this I highly recommend for people looking for a quick and pleasant hike in the El Paso area to checkout the West Cottonwood Spring.

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *