Franklin Mountain State Park - TRAIL

Franklin Mountain State Park - Trail, El Paso, Texas

Very rocky, no-pack, sand. Singletrack and road mix. Very challenging to improbable climbing in spots with some very fun downhill. A lot of hike-a-bike for most riders but a lot of fun. Nice views from Upper Sunset.

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
kinsler   Racer [Aug 18, 2012]

So the state park actually includes two sections that are independently reviewed on mtbr. The west side of the state, also know as Tom Mays, includes lower sunset which is a rocky 6 mile plus singletrack with some steep technical uphills and when ridden north one of my favorite sections of trail in the area. From the end of lower sunset you can continue north which has several cut offs. If ridden all the way north you can then continue on the northern pass trail to the east side of the park (Chuck Heinrich). From there you can ride back over to the west side by climbing up Mundy's Gap.
These trails are technical and rocky. If you don't run tubless expect flats.

Customer Service

For a true epic start at the Redd Rd trailhead and ride across Trans-mountain to Tom May's Unit, then hop on lower sunset and ride over the Northern Pass down into Chuck Heinrich section. Choose your loop there, but eventually ride up Mundy's Gap and back down into Tom May's. This is anywhere from a 35-50+ mile ride.
Alternatively ride out on lower sunset then take loop 2 around and back on lower sunset.

Similar Products Used: Redd Road trails, Dona Ana in Las Cruces
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Guitar Ted   Weekend Warrior [Oct 10, 2010]

Franklin Mountain State Park trails in the Tom Mays Unit are rocky, technical, and very challenging. If you are not from the area,or if you are not from an arid area, it is advisable to bring more water than you think you'd ever need, and plan on doing less than more of these trails. Bringing a buddy is advisable, although I ride these solo when I go. This could be a dangerous trail if care and attention isn't taken. Did I mention it was rocky? Very much so, and the plant life lining the trail is full of thorns waiting to gash you. Be careful! Otherwise it is top notch desert mountain biking. Highly recommended.

Customer Service

There are two main trails with several cut-off opportunities between the two. Or- you can just do the entire loop, as mentioned here previously. Named Lower Sunset Trail, this is the one to start on if you are new here. Cut offs can take you back to Upper Sunset loop in three easy to find places, but do take a map, it is easy to miss things out here if you don't pay attention. A map really helps. (Available at the Rangers Station as you enter) Trails are up and down, but only a couple extended climbs, (which are difficult), and going will be slow due to the technical nature of the route. Upper Sunset gets a bit more technical towards the end. Recommend a full suspension bike here, (although I've done it on a hard tail). Tubeless tires or tubes with sealant a must.

Similar Products Used: Rangers told me that there is a new, multi-switch backed trail going to the top of the mountain now and another that crosses over the mountain from the west to east now. I did not have time to explore these last time I was there, (March 2010), but I plan to next year.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
ROAD WARRIOR   Cross Country Rider [Feb 27, 2010]

A mountain biker's mountain bike trail. Won't be doing any day dreaming on this trail. Lots of loose rocky steep sections. Not to many fast flowey sections, and they end abruptly. Lots of wash crossing and some wash riding. As stated by others ( big tires,stans or lots of patches, full sup. A 29er would be really great here. Overall a great intermediate to advanced trail.

Customer Service

Full loop, clockwise. While trail can be ridden either direction , clockwise puts the big climb on double track. Although not on the map trail continues behind the pay booth. This section is tight and twisty.
5 short cut trails if you find yourself over your head.

Similar Products Used: Dona Ana trails in Dona Ana NM (30 miles north) These are great more beginner friendly trails.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Licey   Cross Country Rider [Nov 08, 2008]

Great trail with a lot of variety. There are a few uphill sections during the first part of the ride that need maintenance as a lot of loose rock has washed down from all the rain we received this summer. Beginners will be walking a lot of the uphill, mainly due to the loose rock.

Customer Service

The 18 mile loop is the most fun. Nice uphill at the end.

Similar Products Used: Redd road trails, Northeast trail
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Heckler10812   Cross Country Rider [Dec 13, 2007]

Very nice maintained trail, i would recommend doing the long loop, although the long loop is 18 miles or so I wish they would add more trails to the VAST land they have there !!!!

Customer Service

I-10 transmountain

Similar Products Used: Go across the road ( transmountain ) and ride double the amount of trails that they have in the park but are not maintained, but it is mtn.biking so rough isnt bad either.........
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
boisebomber   Cross Country Rider [Apr 06, 2007]

how would you like to ride thru the Chihuauan Desert? this ride is it!!! get up close and personal with catus, snanks , widlflowers, creostore bushes, the geology of tex/mex Chiuanain Desert. i don't know of any better way to do that than ride at Frnklin Mtn. State Park.

there are some where in the neigborhood of 20-30 miles of 4 WD and S-T .probably about a 50/5 mix. Park brochures suggest they are developing more.

all other review claims are true...lots of rock,not many babyheads, few sand traps.,climbs out of arroyas, swtichbacks, ..all 100% ridable , if not a little bumpy.

the best start is to ride the 6.2 miles Lower Sunset Trail. this trail is groomed regualrily by a 72 YOA man , who does so out of love. ridable intermediate all the way. +/- 800' elevation gain lots of "safety markers" that alert you to changes in terrain or direction. these are not mile markers. +/- 2 hours.

there are trials that conect to this to make a 15.5 mile Loop. and there are other trials that run up to the summit.

there IS a MT. Bike trail map, but i had to get mine from a ranger. so stop and ask. it reflects the 2 other hiking maps with a more detailed summary for mt. bikes.

these trail are tuff enuff for the hardened rider, but easily doable for the intermediate rider. but did i mention you are riding thru the HEART OF CHIHUAHAUAN DESERT? this is real exploration by Mtn bike.

IMPORTANT ISSUES: ALERT, ALERT

1. there is NO WATER in park. bring it from town
2. during a thunderstorm there is a real GOOD chance of getting caught
in a flash flood.
3. Park closes at 5:00 PM. get combination for gate from ranger if you
plan to stay beyond 5:00.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Murph   [Jan 02, 2002]

Rode this trail while visiting EP for the holidays and only got through Lower/Upper Sunset and loop 2. Pretty much completely kicked my butt. Had to hike the bike through a number of spots in Lower Sunset and a lot of what was ridable was real work because of the sand and loose rock. Surprisingly fun though and I wish I'd had something left in me to go back down Upper Sunset, looks like a blast of a downhill. May want more protective gear than usual, my full-finger armored gloves saved me from a cactus I landed on top of. Recommend full suspension, big tires and extra tubes, etc. also recommend coming out first on a weekend when the Rangers are manning the booth so you can get a map. Ask for both old and new maps because the new one although nicer and easier to read, doesn't have the trail markers listed on it. I added this trail to mtbr.com after looking and looking for it. I believe it is well known to locals and had a hard time believing no one had entered it on this site yet. Also, I think in spots it ranks with some of the most technical riding in the state and would like to hear other opinions and info on the rest of the trail system especially from locals.

Customer Service

Map will lead you to start at Lower Sunset (follow the 'mountain bike' sign off the road in), however, DH fans may want to start at Upper Sunset. Don't know if this is considered 'wrong-waying' the trail, locals please chime in.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Travis Swicegood   [Jul 20, 2002]

There are some great trails at the FMSP. Lower Sunset is the best, but there are a few areas that are almost impassible. I road it this afternoon after two nights of flash flooding in the area and the trails were still in great shape. The Beginner's Loop is a fun way to hit some single-track quick if you're heading out to Lower Sunset, or it's a great loop for someone who's wanting to move from dirt roads to single-track.

I haven't ridden Upper Sunset yet, looks like it your legs would be Jell-O by the time you finished it. Also, if you don't take the short-cut route, you can ride all the way to the state line and back, nearly 50 miles if you take the whole trail.

The biggest draw-back is the $3/person fee. If you enjoy riding on a pretty good trail, I would suggest getting a Texas Conservation Passport ($50 at any sporting goods store), as you'll pay for it just in the times you go riding. Plus you can take up to 8 buddies along without having to pay for them.

The bottom line, FMSP is a great place to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning riding.

Customer Service

Lower Sunset if you're in descent shape. If not, just do the beginner's loop and come back to your vehicle. For the most fun, take the Beginner's Loop until it comes back into the jeep trail, turn back west at that point and you're on Lower Sunset again. Take the shortcut (approx. 7 miles into the trail); when you clear last major hill and come out by the bathrooms, hop back on the main road, look for a road turning off to your left with a single-track trail head. Ride the single-track back to where you parked.

Similar Products Used: Arroyo Park to Monk's Trail is a lot of fun if you don't mind a horrendous uphill and spending most of your downhill time on pavement. The east side of the FMSP has some interesting rides, but you have to have permission to cross private property to get to them, plus there are no maintained single-track trails.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Travis S   [Aug 20, 2002]

This is just an update to a previous review. I've done the big loop now, and it's no 50 miler!. They do have "safety" markers (not mile markers like I thought) that go to 51. It's approximately 16 1/2 miles. Once you get through the first two loops however, the trail really starts to get good. A lot of the technical stuff in the first loop has been made worse by riders that don't know what they're doing. Those riders are all too pooped to try the other loops, so that part of the trail stays in excellent condition!

Customer Service

The big loop. The views and ride are worth it!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Dodgedog   [Apr 05, 2003]

Grab a map and know your milage. There are lots of turns that could be taken by some one new to the area. Nice ride, kind of hot at times! Frankie and I were drinking more water than ever. The ride required goo filled tubes for the thorns. I would recomend full suspention for comfort and some clipless. Good mix of chalenges, Cacti, Sand, loose rock, and some good climbing terain. Saw two people on the trail. Moderate skill levels will have fun. The ride can be all 16 miles or shorter, there are cut backs all along the trail that start you looping back to the parking lot. Watch for wild life, i.e. snakes, might want that snake bite kit after all.

Customer Service

Trans Mt hwy watch for sign Franklin Mt State Park. After ranger hut follow road till on the right hand side you see a turn up hill kind of a sharp turn, take that and park at top. Trail head is at the end of this parking lot.

Similar Products Used: Cloudcroft N.M.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 10  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.