10 Perfect Day Trip Ideas Near El Paso, TX
Located in the western Texas frontier, El Paso is home to beautiful natural wonders with plenty of opportunities for adventure seekers. Situated along the Rio Grande River, El Paso boasts a selection of state parks, gardens, and wildlife reserves perfect for a planning quick day trip.
1. Franklin Mountains State Park
Visit the Franklin Mountains State Park for hiking, biking, and rock climbing opportunities. The park offers roughly 27,000 acres, translating to approximately 40 square miles holding over 100 miles of trails. Hiking along the Franklin Mountains offers fantastic opportunities for bird watching, wildlife spotting, and enjoying the desert flora. Take a hike and pack a picnic for a quick day excursion. The desert trail terrain is rugged, however guided tours are also offered for those on foot or mountain biking. Stay for the day or take advantage of the park’s designated campsites. The park is home to 14 tent sites and five RV sites. Campground areas can be rented through the park. Be advised that the campsites do not have water or electricity and campers should plan to bring enough supplies to accommodate their stay on the grounds.
2. Wyler Aerial Tramway
The Wyler Aerial Tramway offers breathtaking views of El Paso. Visitors should expect to arrive at a parking area sitting at an elevation of 4,692 feet. Tickets board one of the Swiss-made gondolas to can be purchased at the tramway station. Each gondola soars above the 240-feet-deep canyon to the top of Rangers Peak. The four-minute ride is an exhilarating experience with beautiful views of the city. Tramway riders can enjoy the 7,000 square mile view encompassing three states and two nations. The station at the top of the mountain offers paved grounds leading to the observation deck which proves a 360-degree view of El Paso and the surround areas.
3. El Paso Zoo
Situated on 35 acres and continued exhibit expansions, The El Paso Zoo offers an expansive green space home to a wide variety of animal species from around the world. The zoo boasts prized attractions including the African Star Train, Hunt Family Desert Spring, and the Foster Tree House Playground. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, with the mission of celebrating the value of animal and natural resource appreciation and preservation. The El Paso Zoo is a great day trip opportunity for adults and children alike.
4. Keystone Heritage Park
The Keystone Heritage Park and the El Paso Desert Botanical Gardens is a 52-acre park located in El Paso’s Upper Valley. The Keystone Wetlands is home to an array of birds including over 206 species, 22 of which are considered as rare. The Garden is comprised of a children’s garden, an amphitheater, a moonlight garden, an ethno-botanical garden, and more. The Keystone Heritage Park often works with community groups to ensure the educational and beautifying mission of the park and is a popular destination for weddings, receptions, and other events.
5. El Paso Municipal Rose Garden
The El Paso Municipal Rose Garden is home to over 1900 rose bushes including over 500 different varieties of roses. The garden boasts planting several new rose varieties each year with most of the garden’s bushes being repeat-bloomers and continue to bloom until early winter. The tending over the flowerbeds and bushes are volunteer-led which encourages the mission of the garden to provide a tranquil and beautiful space for the greater community. Tours are also available for visitors and are led by community volunteers. The gardens offer a plaza area as well as waterfalls and a Koi pond for added serenity. The gardens are open to the public daily from March 1st through November 30th.
6. El Paso Museum of History
The El The El Paso Museum of History is one of three city-operated museums alongside the El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. Establish in 1974 as the Cavalry Museum, the museum quickly adapted to function as a local history museum leader to a name change in 1980. The museum operates to promote the understanding and significance of multicultural and multinational history. The museum serves as the largest continuous border metroplex in North America.
7. El Paso Museum of Art
The El Paso Museum of Art serves as a major cultural and education resource for the people of New Mexico, West Texas, and Mexico. The museum holds a permanent collection of over 7,000 works of art and offers a diversified schedule of temporary exhibitions along with educational programming and classes for both children and adults. Masterpieces from the likes of Botticelli, Canaletto, and Van Dyck can be found within the museum among its collection of American, Mexican, and European works. The museum welcomes approximately 80,000 visitors per year and is located in the heart of downtown El Paso.
8. El Paso Mission Trail
Steeped in history, the El Paso Mission Trail dates back to over 400 years ago and still remains as a living testament to El Paso’s Spanish and Indian ancestors. The architecture of the mission is reflective of the cultural significance and spirit of El Paso’s early settlers through embodiment of European style and indigenous architecture. The Ysleta Mission, established in 1682 by the Tigua Indians, represents over 300 years of Texan history.
9. Hueco Tanks State Historic Site
Visitors are welcome to hike, rock climb, and pack a picnic to the historic site known as the Sacred Desert Sanctuary which honors the people who, for thousands of years, trekked these hills to collect water that had pooled the natural rock basin. The park offers both guided and self-guided tours around the historic site including a historic ranch house. Although the site is largely a day-use park, the grounds also offers 20 different campsites for evenings under the stars.
10. White Sands National Monument
Situates in the northern Chihuahuan Desert approximately one hour outside of the City of El Paso, the White Sands National Monument is known for dramatic landscapes of rare, which gypsum sand dunes. A glistening natural wonder, the White Sands National Monument offers spectacular wave-like dunes within 275 square miles of desert. Park officials prohibit off-roading through the dunes and encourage visitors visiting by bike or motorized vehicles to stay on the paved paths. For adventure seekers looking for desert off-roading, hop in your Jeep Wrangler and head to the Doña Ana Trails for some precipitous climbs near the base of the mountain.
Interested in moving to El Paso, TX? Contact Kristen De Santiago, Realtor at (915) 841-1714.
Author: Brennan Flentge