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Lower Sunset Alternate Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Scenic trail along the western base of the Franklin Mountains and Upper Valley.


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Map Key

4.9

Miles

7.9

KM

Loop

5,185' 1,580 m

High

4,477' 1,365 m

Low

771' 235 m

Up

752' 229 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Historical Significance · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Intermediate trail for all ages under 5-miles with beautiful views of the Franklin Mountains, Rio Grande, and desert valley.

Description

Trailhead can be found on the south parking lot of Tom Mays just past the Visitor's Center. Trail starts of as doubletrack and turns into a singletrack as it turns northward. Elevation gradually increases with rolling terrain and arroyos.

The trail becomes moderately steep as it turns eastward. Trail sign will point to the Tom Mays picnic/campground area, where the trail will lead right to the north pavilions. The main park road can be used to reach your vehicle at the southern trailhead/parking lot.

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 runners 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.

History & Background

Views of the Rio Grande where the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Royal Road of the Interior, spanned 404 miles between San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, and the present-day national border with Mexico at El Paso, Texas. It is the earliest Euro-American trade route in the United States and historically continued roughly 1,000 miles further south to Mexico City. For nearly 300 years, the trail remained the principal trade route between New Mexico and the regions of Spanish-occupied New Spain, located to the south.

Contacts

Shared By:

Practical Scoutcraft

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3814

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#66

in Texas

#3,814

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35 Views Last Month
175 Since Oct 1, 2020
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Photos

Looking east from the trail
Mar 11, 2018 near Westway, TX
Looking North on the trail.
Mar 11, 2018 near Westway, TX
Lower sunset facing northwest.
Oct 1, 2020 near Canutillo, TX
Dalea Formosa and Franklin Mountains
Mar 29, 2020 near Westway, TX
Flora along the trail.
Oct 1, 2020 near Canutillo, TX
Looking west from the trail
Mar 31, 2020 near Westway, TX

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Sep 28, 2020
Practical Scoutcraft
Mileage and duration included stops to take photos/video and enjoy the views. 2 litters of water recommended with sun hat. 4.9mi — 2h 30m