El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — The pandemic has caused many people stuck at home to start looking elsewhere for adventure.
With El Paso having the largest urban park in the U.S. — Franklin Mountains State Park — mountain bikers from beginners to advanced have hit the trails. That means more biking traffic.
Manny Arellano, president of newly formed non-profit Mountain Action Sports El Paso, said he sees a need for more biking education within the city of El Paso.
“We felt there was a gap that needed to be filled,” said Arellano. “The biggest thing we saw, there was a lot of new mountain bikers in the area and we really felt that we need to do more to help bring signage, education and trail stewardship within the city.”
Expediting its mission was an incident in the Arroyo Park area where some mountain bike jumps were getting destroyed, causing conflict with local neighborhood associations.
Since then Mountain Action Sports of El Paso has created partnerships with neighborhood associations and developed agreements to make it safer for bikers by defining trail systems and putting up signage.
“So our main focus really is to bring all these new riders out in a safe environment where you can learn,” said Arrellano.
Arellano and his team are working on a project called Bike Skills Park, a partnership with Desert Downs BMX, in Northeast El Paso. For now the park is being built and funded by volunteers and donations.
The new bike skills park will provide a safe area where riders old and new can go out and jump and learn biking skills that can be used at parks around the nation.
“Stage one is building mountain-specific mountain bikes, specific for all levels — from very beginner to even the most advanced riders in El Paso — to have a safe area where they can come out and jump, learn some of these skills that translate, not only on the trail system here, but also when they decide to make the voyage out to some of these bike parks in our nation.”
Their main motto is if it other places can do it, why can’t El Paso?
The Franklin Mountains provide a plethora of biking opportunities, however, because of the multiple entrances or access points, a lot of people don’t realize that a fee is required when entering. Educating people about this has been a challenge, says Arellano, which is important because this is how the park gets funded.
There are a vast amount of groups on Facebook and other social media platforms where those new to bike riding can join, including Last Sundays Rides.
Below are just some trails for bike riders and their level of difficulty:
- El Paso Tin Mines Trail – Easy
- Lazy Cow Trail – Easy
- Palisades Canyon to Crazy Cat Loop – Easy
- Maze-Cardiac Hill Loop Trail – Moderate
- Lost Dog Trail Loop – Moderate
- Palisades Canyon Loop- Moderate
- Franklin Mountains Loop- Moderate
- Mundys Gap Overlook- Hard
Some safety tips to follow are displayed in the images below: