FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STATE PARK
Although the park is completely within the city limits of El Paso, a robust and diverse ecosystem of birds, reptiles and small mammals live here. If you are observant, you may catch a glimpse of mule deer, squirrels, coyotes, and perhaps one of the elusive mountain lions.
The Franklins are an incredible bird-watching site. Over 100 species of birds visit or live here, including golden eagles, ash-throated flycatchers, calliope hummingbirds and pyrrhuloxia. Visit the parks bird blind in the Tom Mays Unit to see some of these birds.
Plants here are typical of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Lechuguilla, sotol, ocotillo, several yuccas and numerous cacti grow in the park. The Franklins are the only known location in Texas for a number of plant species, including the Southwestern barrel cactus.
The Franklin Mountains form a striking backdrop to the city of El Paso. Farsighted El Paso residents and conservationists from across the nation dreamed for many years of making the mountains a park, both to protect the land and to provide public access.
Developers began carving roads into the almost pristine mountains in the late 1970s. Soon after, concerned citizens formed the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. This groups advocacy ultimately led to passage of House Bill 867 in the Texas Legislature. The bill authorized the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to acquire the Franklin Mountains. The Legislature sought to protect the mountains scenery, ecology and history.
TPWD acquired the property in 1981 and opened it in 1987. Franklin Mountains is the largest urban park in the nation at 26,627 acres. It covers about 40 square miles, all within the city limits of El Paso.
Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition The coalition has supported Franklin Mountains State Park for more than 30 years. It was involved in the creation of the park, and has continued to work on behalf of the mountains, both locally and on a statewide basis