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McKelligon Saddle

Very Difficult
 3.0 (2)

Climb rocks, crawl through sotol, and dodge cacti while ascending to the Franklin Mountain ridge.


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Map Key

0.6

Miles

1.0

KM

56%

Runnable

5,444' 1,659 m

High

4,665' 1,422 m

Low

779' 237 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

23%

Avg Grade (13°)

73%

Max Grade (36°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Runner Notes

McKelligon Saddle is a steep, challenging trail, with a few sections requiring some minor climbing. Loose rocks can be found in several sections, particularly near the top, making the trail slippery. Be especially careful on the descent.

Description

Taking an almost straight path up the west face of the Franklin Mountains, McKelligon Saddle is a difficult but rewarding run connecting both sides of the State Park.

The trail splits off from Thunderbird and heads due east toward a dip in the mountain ridgeline. The first quarter mile is similar to other area trails, rocky and surrounded by desert flora, but the incline quickly increases to a demanding climb. After some time, the trail abruptly ends into a large area of slick rock. Continue straight up towards the back right corner of this section. Climb the rocks and pick up the trail again.

From here, a few rock cairns mark the original trail. The next tenth of a mile is rough, and at one point, passes through an enormous sotol plant that requires crawling to continue. The route depicted here bypasses this section by following the slick rock for a few hundred feet before rejoining the trail.

The remainder of McKelligon Saddle is a steep climb to the ridgeline. Footing here is looser than the rest of the trail and can be very slippery in parts; special care should be taken if moving downhill. Descend slowly. Once at the top, a unique view of McKelligon Canyon and east El Paso can be enjoyed, with a steep connection to the popular Ron Coleman Trail just to the north.

Flora & Fauna

Sotols, yuccas, acacias, cacti and other desert wildflowers. Lizards, rabbits and birds.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brendan Ross with improvements by Jean-Claude Linossi

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 2 votes

#25220

Overall
  3.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
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3 Star
100%
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Trail Rankings

#650

in Texas

#25,220

Overall
13 Views Last Month
889 Since Sep 5, 2015
Very Difficult

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Photos

McKelligon Canyon and the Ron Coleman trailhead, as seen from the top of Sand to Sky. Long Way Up can be seen winding down in the center.
Sep 6, 2015 near El Paso, TX
McKelligon Saddle's route merges into a slick rock face in this section. Keep heading up the mountain; the trail picks back up after climbing the rocks at the far side.
Sep 6, 2015 near El Paso, TX
Opuntias and view of Mammoth Rock
May 1, 2018 near El Paso, TX
The marked trail requires a crawl through this sotol, a fun option for runners who feel the rock climbing and 30% grade is too easy.
Sep 6, 2015 near El Paso, TX
Looking up the saddle. Banana yucca in bloom.
Mar 13, 2018 near El Paso, TX
View of some of the rock formations.
Mar 13, 2018 near El Paso, TX

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Sep 6, 2015
Brendan Ross