Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Guide

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Introduction

Located amid the rolling rock basins of western Texas, Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site is the perfect getaway for adventurous RV campers. There are miles of hiking trails that weave through the park’s huecos, natural basins that are home to over 200 species of birds throughout the year. RV campers looking for a thrill can scale one of the many rock climbing faces found throughout the park.

The park also has a wide range of educational tours, where they give you a guided walk through the area. Birding tours can be booked in advance, where a ranger takes you to the park’s best lookouts. You can also schedule hiking or rock climbing tours. The interpretive center, located in an old ranch house, will give you even more information on the region’s history and wildlife. You can also learn more about the park’s wall paintings, which date back over 6,000 years.

The small campground located in the park gives you 13 RV sites to choose from for your rig. Most of the sites have electrical hookups, and the secluded setting gives you plenty of privacy in the shadows of the East Mountains. You’ll also be just minutes from the park’s hiking trails and various lookouts.

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Transportation in Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

Driving

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site is located just outside of El Paso in the western tip of Texas. The park is easy to navigate and has no winding roads, so RV campers should have few issues finding their way to the campsites.

Driving from El Paso, take US-180 east from the city to US-62 and you will reach the park in around 45 minutes. From Albuquerque, take I-25 south out of the city and you’ll get to the park in just over four hours. If you are coming from Tucson, take I-10 east and you’ll arrive in a little over five hours.

The park is just off FM 2775, with one road leading directly to all of the campsites. The road is fairly wide, so you shouldn’t have many issues with larger RVs. If you have a very large rig, however, you should consider trying to book one of the sites near the front of the campground, which have longer driveways and are easier to reach.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

Campsites in Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

Reservations camping

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Campground

There are 13 campsites located within the park. Ten of the sites have electrical hookups, two have electrical plus water hookups, and one is primitive. There are restrooms located within the campground, as well as an RV dump station. The campground is located on the east side of the park, near the Chain Trail

Pets are allowed in the campground, but not in the park’s other areas. The park many ancient wall paintings, which can be damaged by fire. To protect the paintings, no charcoal or firewood is allowed in the campground.The park strictly enforces check in times. If you arrive more than an hour before the park closes, you will not be allowed to access your site.

All of the park’s sites can be booked in advance online or by calling the park office. The campground is small, so you should try to book as soon as possible if you want a spot. Once you arrive at the park, you will have to attend a mandatory orientation, where park officials will walk you through campground rules.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

In-Season

Picnicking

Once you’ve tired yourself out from climbing and hiking, head to one of the park’s ten picnic areas to unwind and refuel. Many of the picnic spots are tucked among the huecos, the natural rock basins found in the park. You can also find picnic areas at the park’s lookout spots, giving you beautiful panoramas of the area.

If you cook your own food, you cannot use charcoal or firewood, as these can damage the rock paintings that are found throughout the park.

Rock Climbing

The natural rock basins also make for excellent rock climbing. Climbs vary by difficulty, so climbers of all experience levels should find a route to suit them. There are also a number of lookout points that can be reached via rock face climbs, giving you beautiful panoramas of the park from North Mountain.

You can also book a guided climbing tour with one of the park’s rangers. You can learn more about the area’s natural history, as well as the native people that lived in the region. These tours must be booked in advance by calling the park office.

The park doesn’t rent climbing gear, so you’ll need to bring your own shoes, harnesses, rope, and chalk along with your campervan or trailer.

Hiking

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site has a wide range of natural wonders, making for miles of scenic hiking. The natural water basins dotted throughout the park are surrounded by hills and sheer rock faces.

Park rangers also offer guided hikes, where they highlight the park’s wildlife, as well as walk you through the area’s history. Times vary greatly depending on the season, so check with the park office or visit their social media pages for a current schedule.

Off-Season

Birdwatching

Dozens of bird species visit the park and rest at the natural water basins. With various lookout spots, the park is a great location for birdwatching. The area is famous for its range of desert birds, including the cactus wren, white throated swifts, Say’s phoebes, and Cassin’s sparrows.

The park office can provide you with more information on the birds found in the area. They also have guided birdwatching hikes, where a park ranger will take you to some of the area’s best lookouts.

You can also check the websites of some of the local birdwatching groups, many of which produce field guides. You can also book a guided birdwatching tour with a park ranger by calling the park office.

Visiting the Interpretive Center

If you want to learn more about the area’s history, head to the park’s interpretive center. Located in a preserved ranch house, here you’ll get more information on the natural history of the area, as well as learn about the natives who lived in the region for thousands of years.

The interpretive center also has a gift shop, where you’ll find a number of souvenirs and books on the area’s history. Hours at the center may vary by season, so check with the park office during your visit for current times.

Taking a Tour

You can book guided tours if you want more information on the park’s history. These tours must be booked at least a week in advance by calling the park office. They’ll walk you through the rock drawings located throughout the park, as well as discuss the ecology of the region.

You can also take a self-guided tour through the North Mountain area. Only 70 people are allowed per day, so you should book a pass as soon as possible by calling the park office.

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