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Old Tin Mine Road

Intermediate/Difficult
 2.7 (3)

A central trail connecting to America's only tin mine.


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Map Key

2.5

Miles

3.9

KM

94%

Runnable

4,863' 1,482 m

High

4,219' 1,286 m

Low

644' 196 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

Runner Notes

Trails around the Franklin Mountains are often rocky and technical, so users unfamiliar with rough terrain should use caution. Trail shoes with rock plates are strongly recommended.

El Paso is in the desert, so plan around the climate. Summers are regularly in the 90's or above; winters will drop to the 30's and 40's. Lightning storms are frequent in the late afternoons during the warmer months. Check the weather before you go, and let someone know where you will be.

Description

As its name implies, Old Tin Mine Road is the former dirt access road to what was once America's only operating tin mine. Closed in 1915 after a few unprofitable years, two portions of the mine can be explored via access points off of Mundy's Gap and Scenic Road. It is also one of the area's main arterial trails, but Cardiac Hill or one of The Maze trails to the south (e.g. South Ridge) are more interesting and less crowded routes going in the same direction.

Starting from the east side, Old Tin Mine Road breaks off from Fence Line just before the turnoff to South Ridge. A sign marking the trail is a few hundred feet after it begins as depicted here. From the beginning to the end, the trail is a steady, low-grade climb; barely noticeable in most parts. The former road is a gravely doubletrack, and the initial half mile is covered with a great number of loose rocks deposited by thunderstorm runoffs. A well-used singletrack through the debris avoids the worst of it.

As the trail circles a ridge to the south, Lazy Cow splits off near the halfway point. The path then starts to parallel a small arroyo just to the north. As the ridge descends, a shortcut to Cardiac Hill and The Maze trails is off to the left, shortly after the mile point. The trail changes little as it proceeds, with the only interruption being two more turnoffs a half mile further in, to Polecat Alley and Cardiac Hill again.

Eventually, Old Tine Mine passes through an always-open gate and crosses Blue Moon. From here on out the trail is a little smoother, but the climb remains the same. A short diversion to the north via Trenchtown Road leads to a small hillside cave. The trail dead ends at Mundy's Gap, providing access to the mines and excellent foothills trails.

Flora & Fauna

Desert plants tend to bloom in waves in spring and summer after the short periods of rain that El Paso experiences. Ocotillo tend to turn green and blossom first, followed by barrel and claret cup cacti, and finally flowers and prickly pears. The northeast area of the Franklins features a greater number of lechugilla than other regions.

Animals are mostly limited to jackrabbits, lizards, and small birds. Roadrunners will dart across the trail at times, and hawks circle overhead, looking for prey. Coyotes are hard to spot and tend to only come out after dusk, though they leave visitors alone.

Keep an eye out for snakes. They avoid the hot desert sun and are more common during the winter months. Most are harmless, but rattlers are a part of the local wildlife.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brendan Ross with improvements by Jean-Claude Linossi

Trail Ratings

  2.7 from 3 votes

#7

in El Paso

#37741

Overall
  2.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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3 Star
67%
2 Star
33%
1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#7

in El Paso

#1,233

in Texas

#37,741

Overall
80 Views Last Month
5,196 Since Oct 4, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
75%
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25%
0%

Photos

Celebration of Our Mountains.
Oct 8, 2015 near Westway, TX
Beginning of trail.
Apr 20, 2018 near Westway, TX
Heading North on the trail.
Jan 14, 2020 near Westway, TX
Scenic Views of the foothills and Franklin Mountains in the autumn.
Mar 17, 2018 near Westway, TX
The dogs are having a good time.
Apr 22, 2018 near Westway, TX
Beginning of trail.
Apr 19, 2018 near Westway, TX

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Check-Ins

Dec 13, 2020
Alma Portillo
Nov 28, 2020
Alyssa Wenk
Nov 25, 2020
Amanda Ramirez
12h 50m
Jul 22, 2019
Matthew Peeler
2mi
Jun 28, 2019
Matthew Peeler
Jul 1, 2018
Stacy Stathis
Dec 7, 2015
Brendan Ross
Nov 30, 2015
Brendan Ross