“Wind across the eastern foothills, taking in hundreds of miles of desert and city views.”
— Brendan Ross
Views · Wildflowers
Not to be confused with the street of the same name wrapping around the southern tip of the Franklin Mountains, Scenic Road features the east side trails' best views and one of its nicest hikes.
Scenic Road begins on its southern end at the intersection with Old Tin Mine Road
and Mundy's Gap
. A sign marks the beginning of the trail, which immediately crosses a wide wash out area; keep an eye out for where the path picks back up on the left side after a few hundred feet. Less than a quarter mile in, North Tin Mine Trail turns off to the west, connecting to a historic former tin mine that can be explored.
The gritty, fairly even trail continues north, alternating between sandy and rocky sections. At the half mile mark, it crosses another creek bed and begins a strenuous but short climb to the trail's high point, doubling back a few times as it clings to the side of foothills. At the top, Scenic Road looks out onto a canyon thick with desert plant life, emptying into the desert flatlands below. Continue along the hillside. As the trail wraps around and turns north, an expansive view opens up, looking out over El Paso, Fort Bliss, and West Texas. On a clear day, New Mexico's Sierra Blanca can be seen to the east-northeast.
The path turns northwest, crossing one final arroyo. As it doubles back to the east at the base of a red cliff formation, it begins a rocky descent. This section can be challenging in the uphill direction, as it is more technical than the rest of the trail. After a final quarter mile, the trail ends at a three-way intersection with Sotol Forest
and Rock Shock.