Cooler weather does happen in Texas, and many people take those opportunities to hike, bike, and paddle, along with other outdoor activities. For those looking for a unique experience and are not afraid to work for it, consider El Paso’s Thousand Steps Trail. This popular trail is accessible year-round and totals 3.7 miles, and the views at the top are breathtaking! Wildflowers growing along the way are lovely pops of color.
A little over a mile and a half to the top, although the trail is not extensive, it is quite steep (the elevation gain is over 1,000 feet), and the sun exposure can be intense, as there is no shade. Due to the rocky terrain and elevation, the Thousand Steps Trail is recommended for experienced adventurers, who typically use it for hiking, running, biking, and bird watching. Dogs are allowed on the trail. Please note advanced day pass reservations are required. Currently, due to COVID-19 precautions, gatherings of more than five people are not allowed, excluding families living in the same household.
Photo: @nikitajshah via Twenty20
To begin, strap on ankle-protectant hiking boots, pack up plenty of water, and walk from N. Stanton Street parking area by climbing the road to the water tank. Desert vegetation is heavily present; keep an eye out for snakes and pointy plants like cactus, as well as loose rocks. The trail ends a short distance below the Wyler Aerial Tramway building (closed for now) at the Ranger Peak Loop. An additional aspect of the Thousand Steps Trail is access to the B-36 Crash Overlook, from which wreckage from the 1953 tragedy can still be seen alongside the rugged terrain. When visiting this area, take into consideration the nine airmen who lost their lives on the historic aircraft. This trail is enjoyable for outdoorsy people. Plan a trip to this El Paso spot in the fall, winter, or spring!