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South Franklin Mountain via Ron Coleman Trail

HARD 226 reviews

South Franklin Mountain via Ron Coleman Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near El Paso, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,889 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

rock climbing

cave

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

There are several ways to do this trail. The route shown on this page has the hiker starting on Mckelligon Canyon Drive, hiking Ron Coleman Trail to South Franklin Mountain, and returning the way they came. Hikers can also do this route as a point-to-point. This means the hiker would end at Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive, and need to get a ride back to their car on Mckelligon Canyon Drive. Hikers may also choose to start the hike on Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive and either hike an out-and-back or point-to-point from there. This route can also be used to visit the popular Mammoth Rock, which is close to the summit of South Franklin Mountain.

7 days ago

so very windy! a great scramble. The map at the trailhead says 7 miles round trip but it is more like 5 if you stay on the trail, 4 if you scramble. Dog friendly but I wouldnt bring my 30lb terrier unless there was significantly less windy. 2 cool caves

hiking
11 days ago

I made it to the chains; my son made it to the window, and because I could not go further he turned around. I am 55 years old and when I started I saw teens, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s all start with my son and I. They all turned around at the caves and only my son and I made it to the ridge. By the time you make it to the caves it is a dificult hike and I feel great that I made it as far as I did when others turned around. If you think the hike to the caves is tough, it only gets tougher, a lot more difficult until you make it to the ridge. This trail is really for people who are in great shape and/or have hiked or rock climbed in the past. It was very windy with gusts to 35mph or more.

The hike is challenging but well worth the effort, especially if you make it to the ridge. The view is gorgeous and you can see Texas, Mexico and New Mexico very clearly. I useda GoPro to document my trip and that was a worth-while investment.

I can't see taking a dog on this hike unless it is over 40 lbs. and very active. Despite what All Trails says this is not a dog friendly trail.

I compared All Trails app to Kamoot, and so far All Trails seems to be the better app. I went with the Pro version for both products but Kamoot has some very nice features as well.

Back to the trail --
I think the reason this trail is regarded as the hardest is becasue of the initial ascent and then the chains. Along the ridge the hike was moderate and fairly easy if you stay on the trail (the blue markers) but the trail could be marked better.

hiking
15 days ago

Moderately difficult hike. Beautiful views of the area. Started on the south side and made it to the window and went back. Very windy.

hiking
17 days ago

Challenging hike, great views. I can't imagine many people actually do this as an out-and-back as suggested by AllTrails. I walked from Transmountain through to McKelligon Canyon, with a quick spur to South Franklin Peak, before getting a ride back to my car. That hike took about 3 hours. I would recommend doing it that way, or turning around at South Franklin Peak and returning to where you started.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
20 days ago

Really fun trail. Good for those who like to navigate and trail find. We took the trail up to the window and then returned. 4 miles in 3 hours.

27 days ago

The first part was really steep I really think they need chains on that part. The chains were scary going up but once you know what to expect it's really not too bad.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
27 days ago

1 month ago

Excellent hike! the chains are the best part. There are great spots to enjoy views with a snack.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Buttkicker, but awesome. Did the trail as a morning hike for team PT. Views were excellent all along the ridge and amazing at the top. Wear sunscreen and a hat, there is no shade. Bring water. Can be heavy traffic on nice weekends.

hiking
1 month ago

2/3/19 excellent trail. Started from state park and finished at the highway. 2 hours to complete. Very windy and challenging. It has everything a tough hike needs. Take your time on the 3 Chain sections. Each completion will provide incredible views. Took and Uber back to the park.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I just came down from the mountain OMG going all the way to the towers is not for beginners, but it was worth it..

hiking
1 month ago

In my opinion this is one of the best trails in the Franklin Mountains. Steep in some sections but with beautiful vistas. This time we only did half of the trail but it was exciting. Do not get scared when climbing the rocks using the chains, this makes the trip more interesting.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

For a Hiker this trails really Easy, just wear appropriate shoes since its rocky, once on top the hike becomes moderate

hiking
2 months ago

Great climbing, impressive views. The chains are kinda intense to climb down, not as bad climbing up. If you are scared of heights the chains might stop you in your tracks. The trail markers are few and far between easy to wander off trail in some places. There are some sections with high consequences, be safe.

2 months ago

Hard but so wort it!

2 months ago

Aka The Elephant’s Trunk or Mammoth Rock.

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

Start from the east side and pick a day that is not windy. Just ausome but need to be I shape with good hiking boots!

hiking
3 months ago

Hidden gem above El Paso

3 months ago

Watch out for rattle snakes

4 months ago

Easy to get to, but be sure you have your state park pass or pay the parking fee. Once you're on the trail, be ready for some steep climbs at first!

5 months ago

Whenever I have to go through CRC on Bliss, I always make time for this trail. I’ve done it from the Transmountain Drive side, as well as the McKelligon Canyon side. Both are equally difficult. The main goal is to always reach the Window. Lots of steep uphills from both sides to get to it, but the payoff is worth the pain. I usually spend 4 or 5 hours playing around these peaks, as there is a lot of view to take in. Bring plenty of water, and watch for loose rock. The towers up on top make a great place to rest, as you can sit on the edge of a sheer cliff overlooking El Paso a couple thousand feet below. GREAT TRAIL!

hiking
6 months ago

Was an awesome trail, the only downfall is the trail is hard to follow. There was blue spray paint every now and then which indicates the trail. Definitely recommend if in the El Paso area.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Nice and Steep!! Great views.

hiking
6 months ago

great hike, not good for little ones, it has some narrow edges but its awesome views

7 months ago

A beautiful hike, with tremendous views and really fun in the technical section (I would skip using the chains and simply climb up using the natural hand-holds). I've done it in both directions and prefer starting in McKelligon Canyon and ending at Trans-mountain road (the decent into the wash at Trans is a bit loose at the top but manageable). 2.5hrs start to finish, at an easy pace, but bring water as it can get hot!

Btw, we did manage to do it with one car, by having an Uber pick us up and bring us back to the start...

backpacking
7 months ago

Fantastic and challenging route with amazing views.

7 months ago

Great time with the family, it was intense to get to the top. Overall great experience

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