Summary: From the trailhead, climb to the top of the concrete dam. Turn south (left) on the dam and follow the trail right to the bottom of the dam. Turn north and follow the trail 0.15 miles north until you see a gate directly to your left. Turn west (left), proceed past the gate, pick up the jeep road curving north-west, and follow this road all the way to the junction at 2.75 miles. From the junction, turn south (left) for the south mne and smelter. (Follow the narrow trail west past the mine for the entrance.) Proceed straight ahead and curve north to the north mine. (Follow stairs down below the mine for the lower entrance.) Bring a flashlight.
Trailhead: From the Junction of Loop 375 (Trans Mountain Road) and U.S. Hwy 54 (Patriot Freeway) go north 1.65 miles to the junction of Farm Road 3255 (War Hwy). Turn left on 3255 and go north 0.5 miles to Jon Cunningham. Turn left on Jon Cunningham and go to Chuck Heinrich park at the end of the road. Park in the lot. The hike starts at the posts. (Lat:31.93252 Lon:-106.44922)
Trail Guides for FMSP - El Paso Tin Mines:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Texas Parks and Wildlife, Franklin Mountain State Park. (915) 566-6441
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Michael P. Olbrisch, who has posted 71 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by TLH on 7/4/2011
The trail was definitely entertaining. After getting lost for an hour, we found our way again and made it to the mines. The tunnels were refreshing and one most definitely needs a flashlight...we used a phone. I would recommend looking at a map of the trail prior to venturing out. There are very few markings to direct you and you DO NOT want to be wondering for an hour in El Paso heat.
Reviewed by John H. on 7/4/2011
A nice hike and the Tin Mines were interesting. Make sure you go to both the upper and lower mines. The lower mines can be seen while in the upper mine. As you look over the railing you will see them. The entrance is found when taking the trail that leads down from the South side of the upper mine. The temperature inside the mine is much cooler and makes for a nice break in the Summer.
Reviewed by Richard on 7/5/2010
This used to be a nice hike to take kids. But now you have to pay $4.00 at a new pay station for anyone 12 or over. That's pretty steep for a walk in the desert in El Paso. Also the parking lot is overrun by biker's vehicles who like to leave their pick-up/SUV doors open and place their bikes in adjacent parking spaces while they suit up.
Reviewed by Russell on 5/30/2010
Great hike for my eleven year old. The last 100 yards is straight up and loose footing but the rest of the way is jeep trail size and packed. The grates that cover the mine are hard to spot for first timers not knowing what to look for, but another hiker pointed them out to us. I took a compass heading of 275 degrees from the dam. A rattlesnake greeted us at the top of the north mine entrance and scurried away. The mine caves were refreshingly cool. Take a lot of water. We started at 0930 and got back to the car around 1pm.
Reviewed by Jeff G on 1/16/2010
The trail has apparantely degraded over time, most likely due to heavy rains. It's still a good hike and quite enjoyable just more loose rocks in some areas. When I got up to the junction where you can go to the north or south mines it became apparant why the trail is in such bad shape runoff down the mountain has cut a creekbed which runs right into the trail. It was still alot of fun though and I enjoyed walking in the mines. Defintely bring a flashlight.
Reviewed by Eric and clan on 1/2/2010
This is a much more difficult hike than we were led to believe. Make sure you bring water and stretch out very well, the trails are broken and much of the hike is in dry creek beds, very rocky and difficult. Keep your eyes on the grate that covers the mine, that is the best way to get there.
Reviewed by Richard on 1/21/2009
Took a group of 14 (seven adults and seven children) to explore the tin mines. The trail was in excellent shape. We met many mountain bikers as they passed us. The kids had a blast exploring the tunnels. We also found the nearby geocache and the kids exchanged the items I brought along for items in the geocache. Bringing a group of kids to see the mines is really an enjoyable event.
Reviewed by Rob on 8/30/2008
Excellent hike for my first time up this trail. Pay attention when starting after going over the dam I lost the trail due to washout. After going over the dam cross the fence and aim to the tip of the small north spur this is where it turns into a jeep or atv trail. Easy going to all areas. I also got confused when I got to the first junction and started to what I thought was the south mine. A better description would be go straight passing cross trails until you stop at a T-intersection. This is where the route goes to the south and north mines. I did not go in the mines this time but I will definetly hike again using this as a short fitness trail and explore the mines.
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