FMSP - B-36 Crash Hike is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near El Paso, TX and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from September until May.
Hike to the 1953 B-36D crash site From the parking area, climb the road to the water tank. Follow the trail east from the tank and up hill. The trail will turn right around the arroyo, then right again and downhill. When the trail turns left, look for a large rock on the right (west) of the trail. This is waypoint W-1 (N 31.80579 W 106.49340). Turn left (east) and follow the arroyo up. When the arroyo splits, follow the left side. You will return down the right side. See photo one. The red trail is up. The blue trail is down. The yellow circles are rock out-crops used as markers. The major wreckage is at the south (right) rock outcrop at N 31.80662 W 106.48733.
Although a shorter distance than most of my hikes, this hike was a bit more challenging due to the steepness of the incline once you get to the arroyo and with the amount of lechuguilla and other pokey spiny desert flora. We did see a couple of fossils in the rocks that made the hike that much more interesting. My friend and I brought up 9 American flags to honor the 9 crewmen that were killed and when we hit the first pieces of the wreckage it hits you that this is a gravesite as well. We played an audio re-enactment of the final minutes after we reached the bulk of the plane pieces and that made it all very real. It happened to be the 4 anniversary to the day that my friend got out of the army (unbeknownst to me- I had picked where we would hike that day) so that made it all the more meaningful. There is a Guest book in a hole on the big outcropping/ Boulder that has other memorabilia and a plaque commemorating the fallen. I left a second notepad and along with the existing guestbook I put them in a new ziplock. ( bring a big ziplock like I did if you plan to replace the old ones holding the guestbooks that are weather worn with holes in them). By the time we got down my ankles were jello from the steep incline going down ( and I consider myself and expert hiker in great condition) but the feeling of accomplishment made that trivial. I highly recommend this hike- and take a veteran!
Great hike and really made me appreciate what the recovery crew had to go through to get to the crash site.
great view with great story
It was a good day. I took our Boy Scout troop and leaders out on this hike. We had fun. Found trail to the wreckage hard to follow.
So when I did this trail I did it in the snow and had to blaze my own trail down to the crash site since I was the first in El Paso to Trek there since the snow storm. Anyways even though most of the wreckage was covered in snow it was still cool to think long ago a plane crashed there and I think the history alone makes it worth going to .
Hike was great!! Started around 0745 to avoid the sun. Turned out to have overcast up to around 20 feet above the crash site so the whole trek was nice and cool. Used the app to find the turn off point and it was easy to find from there. Brought two friends with me they liked it also. I wouldn't suggest bringing animals due to the amount of cactus after the turn off.
Despite the fact it began to sleet and snow as soon as the dogs and I headed up the main trail, I had a great time hiking up to the crash site. I highly recommend reading everyone's reviews and either print out the map or take your smart phone with you! I brought my iPhone and used the AllTrails app to keep track of my progress which was extremely helpful. As other users mentioned, there is no marker or anything to indicate where to split off from the Thousand Steps Trail, nor is there a defined trail to/from the crash site. Keeping to the trail listed on this website, you can find a lot of parts and pieces scattered about the mountain. I did not see the guest book one user mentioned up at the memorial, but there was a wooden block with a flag for each crew member that had been blown down by the weather that I placed back on the rock below the memorial sign. I found all but one flag, so if anyone is planning on making the trip up to the site anytime soon, please spare $1 to replace the flag that had been blown away. This was my first hike here in El Paso and although pretty demanding, it really is very enjoyable and not that bad if you simply take your time. As mentioned above, I brought both my dogs with me and they had a blast. There were a few spots where I had to help them up/down some large rocks, but they didn't have any issues other than that. I hope everyone enjoys this hike as much as I did!
This trail is awesome! It is on the west side of the mountain, so if you go at sunrise, you can complete it in the shade, before the sun comes over the summit. Park in the gravel parking lot where N Stanton St. dead ends, on the left. You will see a big sign with a trail map. Go to the right, up the steep rocky incline that goes toward the water tank. The best way to do this trail is to follow the track with your phone. It follows the main Thousand Steps Trail, and then abruptly cuts off to the left to head up the mountain, and the cutoff is not clearly marked at all. So, if you are following along with your GPS, you will know when to make the left up the hill. There isn't even really a trail up the mountain, you just have to climb and follow along on the moving map. It is well worth the effort though. Keep your eyes out for numerous pieces of wreckage as you climb. At the top there is a memorial and a guest book you can sign.
I took the thousand step trail up to the electrical hut, from there I went up and to the left, off the trail, towards the wreckage site. The trail to reach the wreckage is hard to find, and very slippery, so be prepared. Once I made it to the top of the mountain, two trailhead were visible, B-36 Crash Overlook trail, and Ranger Creek Loop trail. From there I made the descent down to the wreckage memorial, keep in mind this is no easy decent and it is very easy to lose your footing. From the memorial I spent a good 10 minutes looking for a decent trail down, but ended up spending 45 minutes just making my own trail down the mountain. Overall this is a very difficult hike and proper precautions should be followed, plenty of water, good shoes, and take your time in the tricky places.
This was a great hike...not necessarily easy, but relatively short compared to other hikes I've done. The trail is nice and has been recently improved. This is such a unique thing for El Paso to have such great hiking right in the middle of the city--the trailhead is only a few minutes from my house!!! It was amazing that I was right in the middle of town on a beautiful Sunday with perfect weather and I only saw a couple other people on the trail--from a distance! I took the Stanton trailhead up the "Thousand Steps Trail" to "Ranger Peak Trail" and to the "B36 Overlook" to the summit today, but I think there is a lot more to explore over there and I'm definitely going to check out all the other trails.
One of my first hikes in the area. I don,t think we followed the right trail. we recognized the rock that the crash was near and just somehow made it up there. on the way down we explored a new way down and eventually found the back of a sign that said thousand step trail near a large telephone pole. now we know the right way to go next time up.