Ron Coleman Trail is a 7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near El Paso, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Hike through Upper Fusselman Canyon to a scenic overlook. Follow the trail up the canyon. At 0.45 miles, the main trail keeps right. DO NOT follow the wash up. At 0.5 miles the trail will zig-zag up the hillside covered in red rhyolite rock to the ridgeline. On the ridgeline at 0.80 miles, turn left and follow the trail up to the Elephant's Trunk at N31.86502 - W106.49520. There are a few small caves at the trunk. There are several possible trails up and down, so pick your route as you like.
We hiked the entire length of the Ron Coleman trail which we began in McKelligon Canyon and ended at the opposite end on Trans-Mountain. The description says dogs can use this trail but if you are going to hike the entire length do not take your dog. There are sets of chains you will have to climb in order to get to The Window when coming from McKelligon Canyon. You will also want to drop off a car at the Trans-Mountain side then drive to McKelligon Canyon where you begin the hike. We also took a side trip to the Towers before starting the decent past The Mammoth and then following the remaining trail to the parking lot at Trans-Mountain. This hike has a little bit of everything. When you begin the hike at McKelligon there are two caves that you can take a break in. Past that you walk the Ridgeline and come up on one of the most scenic areas in the Franklins just before you have to climb the chains up to The Window. hike past the window into an open area where you can hang your feet off a cliff and eat lunch. Proceed up to the towers and see another incredible view of the East and West sides of El Paso. Head down where it is loose rock, I recommend a good walking stick or two in order to keep a good footing. You'll go by The Mammoth where you get to take another break and see another cave. On the way down pay close attention to the blue dots which mark the path. There are usually a few people on this section so just ask directions of you're not sure which way to go. Eventually you will find yourself in the parking lot looking back at what you just accomplished.
We started this trail from TransMountain side and it wasn't our favorite. The ascent and descent was steep with very, very loose rock pretty much the entire trail. Most of the time, the trail was unmarked and difficult to navigate. Then, when you get to Mammoth Rock, it becomes unclear which way to come down, making it a potential to extend this hike even longer. So if you arrive at noon, be aware of how much daylight you have left. Also, a few days after hiking this, we found out it turns out a young, local guy had died from falling off this trail. Likely from being off trail and climbing the crazy, unsafe rocks. I don't think we would ever go on this trail again.
I hiked this trail with some Army Buddies in august 2013. Wearing shorts and T-shirts, we were UNPREPARED for the cold biting wind as we traversed the ridge leading up to Mammoth rock. We passed the trail marker begging us to "GO BACK" and we almost did... We saw a spider us Easterners had never seen before, looked like a big orange crab under the rocks. I would consider this trail MODERATE as it was not too steep or strenuous on the way up. I was NOT the leader of this group, By rank I was next to last in seniority. The leaders didn't like the ridgeline ascent and chose to descend through the ravine. lots of steep and loose rock made the descent very difficult and I'm sure we didn't help with any erosion prevention at all. I intend to LEAD a group here soon as well as the North trail.
Stop 1/2 way up to take you picture in front of the Mammoth.
Nice hike with amazing views.
Nice hike to N Franklin Mountain... Great Views of El Paso.
Nice hike on way to North Franklin Mountain. Great views of El Paso to the West and East.
Started on the Ron Coleman trail, but went left on the ridgeline towards Franklin Mtn. Great trail, fairly steep in sections. Lots of loose rock.
Great experience! Loooooved it!