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Stretching all the way to the outskirts of El Paso, Franklin Mountains State Park is a rare example of a state park located entirely within the city limits of a bustling metropolitan area. The park’s namesake Franklin Mountain isn't just the park's centerpiece; it's a place of great historical importance. The mountain contains traces of human presence dating back around 12 millennia. The Native Americans most likely used the mountain for gathering food and medicinal herbs, and they also etched the images on rock walls and boulders.
Conquering North Franklin Peak (7,192 feet high) is so much more than a feat of strength. You'll journey through a seemingly desolate yet biodiverse ecosystem. As a result, rock climbers, mountain bikers, and bird watchers enjoy camping at Franklin Mountains State Park and come here frequently to unravel its mysteries.
The park covers nearly 27,000 acres of land and, although prevalent, mountains are not the only type of terrain present here. The Chihuahuan Desert, a Creosote bush-dotted landscape, is also a part of the state park, and most of the plant and animal species found in the park are desert natives. These include squirrels, coyotes, mule deer, mountain lions, and ring-tailed cats. Barrel cactus, yucca, and Mexican poppies are also quite common sights.
For those looking to rent an RV near Franklin Mountains State Park, try El Paso or any other nearby towns like Anthony and Canutillo, since both of these are just minutes away from the park. Alternatively, you can search for an RV in El Paso County.
There are plenty of activities you can do here to make your motorhome camping trip exciting and memorable. Hikers rejoice, as the park holds multiple hiking events that have you backpack across a variety of different areas during your stay. These include full moon hikes, prospect mine tours, and Aztec Cave tours. Make sure you bring food, supplies, comfortable footwear, and the hike-specific gear suggested in the event’s description. Alternatively, set out on your own to explore the park's 100-mile trail network.
Much like with hiking, there are organized tours for mountain biking as well. Cycle through the desert or jagged mountain trails, and pick the tour that corresponds to your level of skill and endurance. Rock climbing is another pastime at the park popular with experienced thrillseekers.
Finally, guests love to spend their time birdwatching as over 100 bird species can be found here. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some birds of prey that you don’t get to see every day, like golden eagles, hawks, and owls. You can also see smaller birds such as Calliope, pyrrhuloxia, and hummingbirds.
Franklin Mountains State Park camping sites are, in a sense, modest when compared to other state parks of a similar size. There are only a few RV camping spaces available here. Online reservations aren't available. Campers can only reserve their site at the park office. This is an important detail, especially for those who plan to come here via RV rental, as coordinating the dates for camping at the state park and renting an RV might be more difficult than usual.
The sites are pet-friendly. However, there are no hookups, so you'll have to use your own generator for electricity, and you'll have to bring your own water. The maximum RV length is 40 feet, and there's no dump station. You'll have to use the dump tanks that are located throughout the park. Alternatively, you can look for campsites in metropolitan El Paso, since the state park is just north of downtown.
When RV camping at Franklin Mountains State Park, take a day to drive into El Paso to discover the city's big-ticket attractions. Start with El Paso Museum of Archeology. The museum hosts different events and workshops, but more importantly displays artifacts and antiquities that date back as far as 14,000 years. Learn about the rich history, culture, and traditions of the Native Americans who called this area home.
Another place everyone should during their stay is Keystone Heritage Park. The park boasts both an archeological site and botanical gardens where you can learn more about history, culture, flora, and fauna of El Paso.
The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens also feature more than 600 species of native plants. As with the previous two museums, the exhibits here offer insight into the area's indigenous, pre-urban history, as well as the folk cultures of this region. The natural history exhibits showcase the geology and biology of Mexico.
It goes without saying that stores and gas stations are easy to find here, as well as many different restaurants. Simply hit TX Highway 375 and follow it to town. In downtown, you'll find a cuisine to please every palate, from Italian and pizza to Mexican and seafood.