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A steep climb leading to a sweeping high desert viewpoint.

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Point to Point

5,146' 1,569 m


4,666' 1,422 m


391' 119 m


482' 147 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

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.


Schaeffer Shuffle, one of the Franklin Mountains State Park's more challenging trails, is a short mile and a half diversion off of Lower Sunset.

From the eastern trailhead, which is marked by a sign, Schaeffer Shuffle heads northeast around the base of a large foothill. Keep left at a fork shortly after the entrance; the right path leads to a small rest area. The path enters a creekbed briefly before heading up the hill on the opposite side. A rock cairn marks the way.

The climb starts off easy but quickly becomes a challenge, traversing large areas of talus at steep grades. Some brief respite can be had at the top, where hikers are rewarded with an impressive view of the Rio Grande and New Mexico. The trail's descent is as steep as the climb; use caution as footing can be very slippery among the small rocks. Schaeffer Shuffle then flattens out into an area with small ups and downs, crossing two washouts and merging back into Lower Sunset. A smaller sign and wooden structure mark the trail for hikers beginning from this side.

Flora & Fauna

Desert plants tend to bloom in waves in spring and summer after the short periods of rain that El Paso experiences. Ocotillo tend to turn green and blossom first, followed by barrel and claret cup cacti, and finally flowers and prickly pears.

Animals are mostly limited to jackrabbits, lizards, and small birds. Roadrunners will dart across the trail at times, and hawks circle overhead, looking for prey. Coyotes are hard to spot and tend to only come out after dusk, though they leave most visitors alone.

Keep an eye out for snakes. They avoid the hot desert sun and are more common during the winter months. Most are harmless, but rattlers are a part of the local wildlife. Give them a wide berth, and if they're blocking the trail, tossing a few rocks in their direction tends to be enough incentive for them to leave.


Shared By:

Brendan Ross

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes


  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Texas


11 Views Last Month
631 Since Sep 25, 2015



Looking NW on the trail
Aug 31, 2019 near Westway, TX
View of  Franklin Mountains from the trail
Aug 31, 2019 near Westway, TX
Early morning view of the Franklin Mountains
Apr 12, 2018 near Westway, TX
Looking NE on the trail.
Aug 31, 2019 near Westway, TX
Looking east from the trail
Apr 12, 2018 near Westway, TX
Looking NE on the trail.
Apr 12, 2018 near Westway, TX



Current Trail Conditions

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Aug 9, 2020
Irma Chiarello
Jul 27, 2017
Nick Bandstra
Nov 19, 2016
Jean-Claude Linossi
This is a somewhat steep trail in place. Some good views along the way. 1.5mi — 0h 45m