Preparation is the key to hiking the Franklin Mountains


Entrance of the Franklin Mountains through the Tom Mays Unit. Photo credit: Sarah Montelongo

Hiking the mountains and trails in El Paso are an appealing attraction to residents and tourists alike, but it is not just a simple stroll up and down.

There are many ways that novice hikers in the Franklin Mountains might end up in need of rescue, such as losing the trail, not being able to find a way down after dark, or even a potential medical emergency.

Losing the trail is a very common occurance, due to individuals not paying attention to the trail, or venturing to explore beyond established trails and not being able to find their way back.

Also, hikers need to make sure that they plan the duration of their hike accordingly. You need to plan for your hike up, rest time, as well as hike down. Before you know it you could have been hiking for four hours without even realizing it.

Another major factor to take into consideration is your physical limitations. You do not want to go up a trail that is beyond your ability. Make sure to look up the trails and climb the ones the best fit your skill level.

Mountain rescues come at a cost for the city of El Paso as well as the individual being rescued.

The rescue is performed by a combinationteam that is made up of fire department, police, as well as state park personnel. Athough the majority of the bill is covered by the City of El Paso, the El Paso fire department will also bill the individual.

According to Carlos Briano, the El Paso Fire Department public information officer, “the cost that an individual could expect to pay is $82.50 per hour per vehicle, with a three vehicle maximum. If anchor teams and medical transportation is needed the cost will go up accordingly.”

The El Paso Fire Department urges people to know their limits when hiking in the Franklin Mountains and offers the following guidelines:

  • Know what kind of trail you are capable of hiking, there are various lengths of a trail as well as different rougher terrains.
  • Be sure to remain on the trails. Going astray from the trail can lead to losing direction, encountering wildlife and increasing your risk for injury.
  • Pack plenty of water at least two to three liters for a day hike for one person.
  • Be sure to look at the weather conditions prior to your hike and never hike during extreme weather conditions.
  • Do not only rely on your cell phone in-case your battery runs out and you have no way to call for help.
  • Take flash lights, a whistle, a mirror or even a flare. These items will help you locate your other party, or a rescue team if you need one
  • Don’t hike alone. Travel in groups. Not only is group hiking more fun but it will also help keep you from danger. If you do not currently have a group of hikers to go with, you can visit this website to get notifications of hiking meetups.


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