Monday, March 26, 2012

Franklin Mountains State Park: South Franklin Peak

I woke up early this morning, packed up the car, and hit the road. I would be headed for El Paso, Texas and the wonderful urban oasis of the Franklin Mountains. The drive was a long one. I saw a few pronghorn along the way, but not a whole lot else. Soon I was into the sprawl of east El Paso, with its countless auto salvage yards, taco joints, and strip clubs. The mountains beckoned though. I soon found myself in McKelligon Canyon and the trail-head for the Ron Coleman Trail. I paid my entrance fee and hit the trail.
Ron Coleman Trailhead

The trail made its way past two small caves; they are in actuality rock shelters.
First Cave
It was a pretty steep climb up to the ridge and there were lots of braided user trails that made route-finding a bit challenging. Soon I had some great views of some of the higher portions of the Franklins. Eventually I ran into a large group dressed in red. It turns out that they were from El Paso Search and Rescue.
SAR Team on Ron Coleman Trail
Were they running a drill or was there a real search in progress? Shortly after passing the SAR team, the trail got really interesting.
South Franklin Mountain

The views got even better and the trail climbed some steep cliffs using chains bolted into the rock.
Climbing Chains
There was an excellent view from the Window.
The Window
As I moved further up the mountain there were far reaching views into west El Paso
Near South Franklin Summit
and my objective for the hike, the tower-covered summit of South Franklin Peak was getting closer.
South Franklin & Ocotillo

Soon the Ron Coleman Trail would bypass the summit of South Franklin Peak. Since my objective was to summit the mighty peak, I set off sans trail and followed a lightly-used social trail to the fenced-in summit. I admired the view for a bit and then retraced my steps back to McKelligon Canyon and my car. 
Summit View

1 comment:

Abigail Austin said...

Eric, that is a great trail! I climbed that side last October and was a bit razzled by the chains :) I hiked on Monday to the summit via the north side (Smuggler's Pass) and saw vehicles for search and rescue. Our paths might have almost crossed! Happy trails!