Camping and Aztec Caves
We made the short drive from our spot in Las Cruces, NM to Franklin Mountain State Park in El Paso, TX. We’re camped right at the mountains and it’s pretty sweet. The park closes at 5:00 so for the first night we were all alone in the park. SO QUIET! Franklin Mountain State Park is 24,247 acres of rugged mountains and trails reaching up to 7,192′. This is THE LARGEST urban wilderness park in the nation.
After setting up camp we hiked from our spot to Aztec Caves. It was a fast hike, only 1.2 miles with around 500′ of elevation gain. These caves are gigantic air pockets of molten lava and pretty cool. The hike was quick but pretty and left us time to relax in our own private park all evening.
Franklin Mountain Big Loop
Two thumbs up! The Franklin Mountain Big Loop was a completely awesome mountain bike loop. It’s remote, and it’s rugged. From camp we rode 23 miles with 3212′ climbing. We were a little concerned because the MtbProject app said it was a 6-8 hour loop and neither of us really wanted to be out for that long. No worries, ride time was 3:19. It was a serious loop with most of the trails just pure rocks. The trail through the Sotol Forest was beautiful and all the red rocks were gorgeous. I can’t stop thinking about this loop, it was so much fun. Definitely a solid expert loop with a lot of technical riding and a huge climb at the end.