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Activities

Discover El Paso!

El Paso is located at the western tip of Texas, where Texas, New Mexico and Old Mexico meet. It is the largest international metroplex in the world and seamlessly blends cultures and traditions: from the historic Old West to the colors of Mexico, from the heritage of Native Americans to the beauty of our desert sun.

Aguirre Springs

Located about 45 minutes from El Paso, just over the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico, this park features streams that run year-round and shade trees located along hiking trails. Camping and picnic sites are available.
Unlike most of the time-worn mountains in the area, the Organ Mountains are jagged and steep. They present a forbidding countenance to hikers. Over the years, many climbers have suffered severe injury while attempting to conquer this formidable landmark. Fortunately, the mountains also have easy trails for the casual hiker.

The Aguirre Springs Recreation Area lies on the east side of Organ Mountains. The vegetation of the park changes with altitude. At the base of the mountains, we see desert shrubs and cactus. As we ascend the mountain, the vegetation changes and various trees such as pinons, junipers, and oaks can be found. Many different species of mammals can be seen on the park, including deer, antelope, oryx, and (rarely) mountain lions.

The park is run by the Bureau of Land Management. It has camp sites, picnic areas and two major trails. The Baylor Pass Trail is well marked and runs six miles to the other side of the Organ Mountains. The Pine Tree Trail is a four mile trail that winds through the woods that cover the upper part of the Organ Mountains. Both trails offers great views of the Tularosa Basin.

Aztec Caves Hike

Guided ranger hike
Start at entrance to the Tom Mays Area, Franklin Mountain State Park
Length: 2 1/2 hours
Cost: Park entrance fee

Learn about wildlife, vegetation, geology, Native American usage of the area. Tour group size may be limited. Please call the park office at 915-566-6441 for more information. Short drive to trailhead, then light to moderate hiking with periodic stops, final approach to the caves is steep.

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Be Driven To Win (El Paso to Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort)

All Aboard America and New Mexico Coaches now provide motor coach service to the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino and Casino Apache Travel Center. Must be 21 years old.

•Departs El Paso every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00am and 8:00am
•Returns to El Paso at 6:00pm
•For reservations, pick-up times and locations, call (915) 751-2219
Please note this information is subject to change.

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Big Bend Region

A four-to-six-hour drive from El Paso, the Big Bend area offers some of the most beautiful desert scenery in the world. Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park contain miles of seemingly unexplored desert wilderness. River rafting on the Rio Grande, horseback riding, hiking and backpacking are favorite activities. The nearby towns of Terlingua, Lajitas, Marathon, Alpine, Marfa and Fort Davis house several sites of interest including Fort Davis National Historical Site (home of the Buffalo Soldiers), McDonald Observatory, Sul Ross University and the Museum of the Big Bend. Keep an eye open for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and even mountain lions.

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Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns National Park was established on October 25, 1923 in order to preserve the more than 100 known caves. The Park also contains Lechuguilla Cave, which is the nation's deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet (478m) and fourth longest.

Carlsbad Cavern, with one of the world's largest underground chambers and countless formations. It is also highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round.

The evening flight of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) from the entrance of Carlsbad Cavern is one of the park's principal visitor attractions. Free-tailed bats are a colonial species that feed entirely on insects. The colony at Carlsbad is comprised primarily of females who give birth to their young from June through July before migrating south in October to winter in Mexico.

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Chihenne Ranch

Chihenne (pronounced chi-hay-nee) Ranch is located in the beautiful foothills of the Black Range near the Gila National Forest. Elevations on the ranch range from 6500 feet at the ranch house to over 8500 feet at the tops of the mountains. A working cattle and horse ranch of over 12 1/2 square miles, the ranch offers an opportunity for every-day visitors to experience life on a working cattle ranch. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, Indian site visits, excellent hiking, gold and silver mine visits, cattle roundups, cattle branding, 4-wheel off road trips, unsurpassed panoramic scenery, visits to ghost towns and much more. The ranch also hosts camps for Boy Scouts and Youth groups.

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Cloudcroft, New Mexico

The closest mountain retreat from El Paso, Cloudcroft is a quiet village with a population of just 750. Surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest and situated at 9,000 feet above sea level, the town has a wealth of recreational alternatives. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, plus snow tubing and alpine and cross-country skiing are all available. The center of town has an old west look with shops, restaurants and even a saloon.

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Elephant Butte Lake State Park

The largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake provides a setting for every imaginable water sport. The visitor center offers regional interpretive exhibits. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park headquarters are five miles north of Truth or Consequences via I-25 exit 83

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Flying "J" ChuckWagon

The Flying J Ranch Chuckwagon Supper and Western Show has been in operation since 1982. Since the opening some 27 years ago, we have fed and entertained over 600,000 guests! We have pony rides for kids, an "old west town" with gift shops, a pistol range, gold panning, a great cowboy dinner featuring the Flying J's beef and chicken, potato, cowboy beans, biscuits, spicecake, chunky applesauce, coffee, tea and lemonade. After dinner we perform a Western Stage Show featuring the Flying J Wranglers! The Wranglers are comprised of Cindy Hobbs - National Champion Yodeler, James Hobbs - singer songwriter (Best known for "The Song for New Mexico") and his incredible tenor voice and rhythm guitar, Randy Jones is a multi instrumentalist and plays lead and rhythm guitar, mandolin, The Flying J Ranch Chuckwagon Supper and Western Show has been in operation since 1982. Since the opening some 27 years ago, we have fed and entertained over 600,000 guests! We have pony rides for kids, an "old west town" with gift shops, a pistol range, gold panning, a great cowboy dinner featuring the Flying J's beef and chicken, potato, cowboy beans, biscuits, spicecake, chunky applesauce, coffee, tea and lemonade. After dinner we perform a Western Stage Show featuring the Flying J Wranglers! The Wranglers are comprised of Cindy Hobbs - National Champion Yodeler, James Hobbs - singer songwriter (Best known for "The Song for New Mexico") and his incredible tenor voice and rhythm guitar, Randy Jones is a multi instrumentalist and plays lead and rhythm guitar, mandolin,

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Gila National Forest

This attraction is located two and a half hours northeast of El Paso, off I-25. Covering 3.3 million acres, this area is the largest national forest in New Mexico and contains hundreds of miles of streams, some 20 campgrounds, and more than 1,500 hiking trails.

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Approximately two and a half hours east of El Paso on Highway 80, this national park features the highest mountain peak in Texas. Guadalupe Mountains National Park also includes a hot, dry region in the low desert areas and green forested landscapes with cooler temperatures. Visitors can take advantage of the grand views, dramatic landscapes, and historic sites such as the Butterfield Stage Trail and Sitting Bull Falls. Hiking and camping are permitted.

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Hueco Tanks State Park

Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is known for its many American Indian rock paintings and unique geology. Pictograph tours are offered, as well as hiking, picnicking, climbing and camping opportunities. Admission: adults (13 and above) $4; children (12 and under), seniors (77 years and older), and veterans with at least 60% disability, free: Texas residents 65 and over, 50% discount. Summer hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; winter hours: daily, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Limited access; reservations recommended.

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Indian Cliffs Ranch at Cattleman's Steakhouse

This 26-year-old landmark east of El Paso offers great family fun. You can see Texas longhorns, buffalo, deer, Belgian team horses and may other animals. There's also an Indian maze, movie sets, the Fort Apache playground for kids and hayrides on Sunday afternoons, plus the admission is free for steakhouse guests! After the sights, stay for dinner at the world-famous Cattleman's Steakhouse. Located 35 miles from downtown. Take I-10 east to exit 49, turn left and travel about five miles into the desert and you're there! Open daily for dinner and lunch and dinner on Sundays.

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Keystone Heritage Park Birding Tour

Keystone is an archeological site, an archaic wetland and a desert botanical garden.
The 52 acre park is home to Middle Archaic ruins between 3,600 and 4,800 years old.
The park is visited by more than 120 bird species migrating to Central and South America. Plans are under way to develop a botanical garden at the site that will be educational as well as a tourist attraction. The Audubon Society has documented 171 bird species at the park. Call to schedule an event or to become a garden volunteer.

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Kilbourne Hole/Aden Crater Volcanoes

Kilbourne Hole is a Maar volcanic crater, located 30 miles west of the Franklin Mountains. The crater is thought to be 80,000 years old. The hole is over a mile wide, and over 300 feet deep. Cell phones are out of range here.

FROM EL PASO:
ELP 1. Travel I-10 West to exit 6. At light, turn LEFT onto Loop 375 West
ELP 2. Travel Loop 375 West for 1 mile. At light, turn RIGHT onto TX 20
ELP 3 .Travel on TX 20 to next light. Turn LEFT onto TX 259
ELP 4. Travel TX 259 for 1 mile into NM. At stop sign, curve RIGHT onto NM 28
ELP 5. Travel NM 28 for 3 miles to LEFT onto NM 182. [now, go to #6, below]

FROM LAS CRUCES:
LC 1. Travel I-10 East to Exit 0, Anthony, TX. At light, turn RIGHT onto TX FM1905
LC 2. Travel TX FM1905 for1 mile. At light, turn RIGHT onto TX 20.
LC 3. Travel TX 20 to next light. Turn LEFT onto TX FM1905 (again)
LC 4. Travel TX FM1905 2.7 miles into NM. At stop sign, turn LEFT onto NM 28
LC 5. Travel NM 28 for 3.2 miles to RIGHT onto NM 182. [now, go to #6, below]

6. Travel NM 182 for 1 mile to RIGHT onto Alverez Rd.
7. Travel on Alverez Rd for 7 ¼ miles. It will curve LEFT and soon become dirt.
8. On dirt road, stay to LEFT and begin gradual ascent to top of escarpment
8. At top of escarpment, continue STRAIGHT and travel to intersection beyond RR.
9. Turn RIGHT and travel < ½ mile to intersection on other side of cattle gap. Now…

…FOR PHILLIP'S HOLE: (Maar)
PH 1. Turn LEFT at cattle-gap intersection (#9, above) and travel for 7-plus miles.
PH 2. Turn RIGHT onto small road and travel ½ mile to Phillip's Hole.

...FOR HUNT'S HOLE: (Maar)
HH 1. Turn LEFT at cattle-gap intersection (#9, above) and travel for 10 miles
HH 2. Road will suddenly begin undulating for 1 to 1 ½ miles as it passes over lava flows
HH 3. Then turn RIGHT onto what is little more than a dirt driveway.
HH 4. Travel a few hundred feet to rim of Hunt's Hole.

…FOR KILBOURNE HOLE: (Maar)
KH 1. Continue STRAIGHT at cattle-gap intersection (#9, above) and travel for 4 ½ miles.
KH 2. Just beyond road-material dump on left, turn LEFT onto narrower road
KH 3. Travel for 9 miles to Kilbourne Hole, visible several hundred feet to right.
KH 4. Park, lock car, and walk (very arduous on cinder slope) to top.

…FOR ADEN CRATER: (Volcano)
AC 1. Continue STRAIGHT at cattle-gap intersection (#9, above) for 20 miles to second lava flow. Road is one-lane through this lava flow!
AC 2. < ¼ mile beyond this lava flow, turn LEFT onto what is little more than a primitive two-track driveway.
AC 3. Travel for 4 ½ miles to LEFT fork, then 1 more mile to LEFT turn.
AC 4. Travel for ¼ mile. Park, lock car, and walk the ¾-mile “lava road”, then path, to top and into Aden Crater.

WARNINGS: High-clearance vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, are recommended for travel in the desert. Go SLOWLY over all cattle gaps and lava flows that cross the road to avoid losing control and/or damaging your vehicle. In all cases we urge you to drive sensibly due to the conditions.

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McKelligon Canyon

Beautiful canyon park located on the north side of El Paso and in the middle of the Franklin Mountains. Great hiking and picnicking. The canyon is also home to a spacious amphitheater and is home to performances of Viva El Paso! and other events. Go left onto McKelligon Canyon Road off Alabama St.

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McKittrick Canyon Hike

About a two-hour drive from El Paso, on the road to Carlsbad Caverns, is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Camping, backpacking, and hiking are the main attractions. The strenuous day hike up to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet above sea level, ends with a breathtaking view of the surrounding desert and mountains. Hiking in McKittrick Canyon, especially in the fall when the foliage changes colors is a serene walk along a mountain stream. Call 915-828-3251

The park is open year-round. Visitor Center hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, slightly longer in summer. Headquarters Visitor Center is closed on Christmas Day. McKittrick Canyon is a day-use area; the gate at the highway is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm; open until 6 pm during daylight savings time.

The Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs is accessed via U.S. highway 62/180 between Carlsbad, NM and El Paso, TX. Dog Canyon, on the park's north side, is accessed via New Mexico state road 137.

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New Mexico Museum of Space History

Located two hours northwest of El Paso. It is a complex consisting of the space museum, Planetarium, Imax dome theater, Hubbard Space Science Education Facility, and the International Space Hall of Fame.

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Old Mesilla

Only 45 minutes away from El Paso, this historic community has a distinct New Mexico feel through the surrounding fields of cotton, chile, pecan tree groves, and vineyards. Once a stop on the old Butterfield Trail and home to Billy the Kid and other notorious characters, it is now host to eateries and shopping featuring a blend of Native American, New Mexican and Spanish influences.

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Old Tin Mines Tour

Moderate hike and mine exploration
Length: 4 hours
Summary: Participants will hike up to the Franklin Mountains State Park (about 2 miles, 600 feet climb) and see the only place in the United States where tin was mined from rock (1906-1911). Several hundred feet of mines are available and participants walk upright.

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Organ Mountains Hike

From Las Cruces, take I-25 to US 70, head east up the mountains towards Alamogordo. After passing through San Augustin Pass, drive approximately 3/4 of a mile, watching for signs announcing Aguirre Springs to the right. Turn right and follow the
road to the fee area, approximately 6 miles. From El Paso, it takes about an hour to travel there. Fee: $3 per vehicle.

Parking is just beyond the fee station across the road from the trailhead of the Pine Tree Trail. This is a loop trail and can be hiked in either direction. The trail crosses two creeks several times. To the northwest hikers get views of the San Andres Mountains, to the northeast, White Sands and Sierra Blanca and east into the Tularosa Basin and Sacramento Mountains.

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Pancho Villa State Park

The park is located on the grounds of former Camp Furlong from where Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing launched 10,000 troops on an 11-months, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. The Exhibit Hall tells the story that begins with the 1910 Mexican Revolution and ends with Pershing's command of the Allied Forces when the U.S. entered World War I.

Through donations and funds appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature in 1999, Pancho Villa State Park acquired expedition-era examples of the vehicles and technology employed by Pershing and his men. The Exhibit Hall contains a full-size replica Curtiss JN-3 “Jenny” airplane used by the 1st Aero Squadron; a 1916 Dodge touring car, the type used by Pershing for a field office; historic artifacts; military weapons and ribbons. An armored tank stands as a sentinel outside the facility.

With only rudimentary initial instructions, military recruits were given orders to drive vehicles and fly the airplanes, which had not been previously tested at

high-altitudes. As a result, equipment modernization and mechanical specialization during the 1916-1917 expedition period proved be essential to U.S. military success during World War I.

At Pancho Villa State Park, several buildings date from the time of Villa's raid and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the 1902 former U.S. Customs House, two adobe structures dating from the Camp Furlong-era and Camp Furlong Recreation Hall.

Pancho Villa State Park is located in the village of Columbus, 35 miles south of Deming via NM Hwy. 11. From El Paso, take NM Hwy 9 65 miles west.

The Exhibit Hall is open year-round, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven-days a week. The adjacent campground, offering picnicking, 62 electrical hookups and tenting sites, is open year-round, 24-hours a day.

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Ruidoso and Ski Apache

Located 7,000 feet above sea level, in the cool pines, is the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. A vacation hideaway for nearly 100 years, Ruidoso sports a horse racing track that houses the Billy the Kid Casino and features live horse racing from late May through Labor Day weekend, the fabulous Hubbard Museum of the American West, Casino Apache, The Inn of the Mountain Gods, and numerous golf courses along with great dining and shopping. Just outside town lies Ski Apache. Run by the Mescalero Tribe of Apaches, Ski Apache boasts great skiing from November through March on the north face of the 12,003' peak of Sierra Blanca. The surrounding Lincoln National Forest is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting and fishing. The nearby town of Lincoln was one of Billy the Kid's favorite haunts. Call 505-336-4356 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 505-336-4356 end_of_the_skype_highlighting for Ski Apache and 877-RUIDOSO begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 877-RUIDOSO end_of_the_skype_highlighting for Ruidoso visitors info.

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The Mission Trail

Located just 15 minutes east of downtown El Paso, the Mission Trail is rich in history dating back 400 years. You can visit three active missions, plus numerous other historic sites. Unique local shopping and dining are also nearby. Take I-10 east to the Zaragosa exit, turn south and follow the blue historical signs.

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White Sands National Monument

At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies the world's largest gypsum dune field. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.

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Wyler Aerial Tramway State Park

Seven thousand miles of Southwestern natural beauty and culture present an eagle-eye's view atop Ranger Peak in El Paso's Franklin Mountains. A four-minute climb treats visitors to a 946-foot vertical rise. Upon reaching the Wyler Observatory at 5,632 feet, sky-travelers spot the Hueco Mountains, New Mexico's White Sands and Mexico.

 

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