Wyler Aerial Tramway, Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX

                                                          Tencha & Harry at the top of the Tramway

On a cold and windy day, we decided to try the Wyler Aerial Tramway, which goes to the top of Ranger Peak in the Franklin Mountains, with a friend who was visiting from out of town.  We dressed warmly and headed out to the tram.   We were the only ones crazy enough to be riding the tram, but even though it was windy, the tram felt pretty steady.  This photo shows the other car going down as we went up.  Apparently they always have one at the bottom of the mountain and one at the top.

When you arrive at the top, you find a great observation platform that affords a 360º view.  You can see well into New Mexico on the west, Ciudad Jaurez to the south, along with Biggs Airfield and Fort Bliss to the east.  The observation platform is integrated with a couple of broadcasting towers, and there is a gift shop, where one can find all sorts of interesting things.  

Apparently a B-36 bomber crashed in the mountains about 400 yards from this site in 1953.  The gift shop has a notebook full of newspaper clippings about the crash under the window that looks out toward the crash site.

There is a loop trail which can be accessed from the observation platform, which the park maps describe as being fairly easy.  It was too cold to try to explore that trail, but we’re not sure it is that easy, except that it is not a steep climb.  It is a wonderful experience to see the steep, rocky sides of the mountain up close - places one cannot get a close view of except from the tram car.

From the top we could see a couple of hikers on the Directissimo Trail, the one we’ve tried.  From what we could tell, we’ve probably made it about half-way up the trail.  Now we are challenged to climb to the top!  However, we will wait until it is warmer and less windy to try.  Temperatures in the 30’s (which is what we encountered today) are not what we consider to be good hiking weather.

There are more photos in the album.


                                                             El Paso & Ciudad Juárez from Ranger Peak

Date of visit, November 29, 2010

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com