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Aztec Caves

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.1 (8)

A short, popular trail leading to caves once inhabited by Native Americans.


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Map Key

0.6

Miles

1.0

KM

Point to Point

5,559' 1,694 m

High

5,058' 1,542 m

Low

501' 153 m

Up

1' 0 m

Down

15%

Avg Grade (9°)

61%

Max Grade (32°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Cave · Views · Wildflowers

Tom Mays Unit is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily. Off-hours access is permitted and is via a small parking area at the gate off of Transmountain. Overnight camping is available.

A ranger station, usually only staffed on weekends in the warmer months, is located a mile inside the entrance. Adult entrance fees are $5 per person, or $2 in groups; children 12 and under are free. When the station is not staffed, use the pay box next to the station.

Description

This popular trail leads to three small caves on the western face of the Franklin Mountains.

Aztec Caves' trailhead is located a short distance east of the Tom Mays Trail, just off a parking lot near picnic and camping areas. Well-marked and straightforward, it heads in a mostly straight line up to the caves, which are visible from the base. Two more primitive campsites are located along the trail, which would make a nice option for visitors spending the night.

The trail becomes much steeper in its final section around the half mile point, possibly requiring some minor scrambling. The caves, while not deep, are large and one of the few spots to find shade in the Tom Mays Unit.

Flora & Fauna

Sotols, agaves, mesquite trees, cacti and apache plumes can be seen. There several species of birds and there are also jackrabbits.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brendan Ross with improvements by Jean-Claude Linossi

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 8 votes

#7863

Overall
  4.1 from 8 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
63%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#142

in Texas

#7,863

Overall
68 Views Last Month
7,492 Since Sep 6, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
63%
13%
25%
0%

Photos

Looking NE on the trail.
May 3, 2018 near Westway, TX
Looking SE from the trail.
May 3, 2018 near Westway, TX
View of the Cave
May 3, 2018 near Canutillo, TX
On top of the Aztec Caves.
Sep 15, 2019 near Canutillo, TX
View from parking lot before walking up the trail
Mar 11, 2018 near Westway, TX
View of cave entrance
Mar 11, 2018 near Canutillo, TX

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Check-Ins

Feb 3, 2021
Marianna Rogers
Out and back. 1.2mi — 0h 45m
Oct 10, 2020
Rick Stuart
1.2mi — 2h 00m
Sep 7, 2020
Jacquelin Rodriguez
Jul 8, 2019
Marianna Rogers
Out and back. 1.2mi
Mar 24, 2019
Rosie Hernanadez
1.2mi — 1h 30m
Jan 27, 2019
Rob Rome
1.2mi
Jul 29, 2018
Joe Haake
Dec 19, 2017
Rachel Phifer
0.6mi