“A beautiful canyon in the middle of El Paso, with challenging climbs and amazing technical downhills.”
— Tony Reyes
The Palisades Canyon Access Road and Jeep trails on this loop are kid friendly and away from the thorniest sections.
-The northernmost part of this loop is technically within the Franklin Mt State Park but there are no pay stations.
-Hours: 6am to 10pm
-No Private Motorized Vehicles
-No Destruction or Removal of Plants or Rocks
-Pets Must be on a Leash
-Pet Owners Must Pick up Animal Waste
Palisade Canyon is centrally located in El Paso, TX on over 200 acres and provides challenging and varied terrain. The Palisades Canyon Access Road
on the southwestern part of the loop can be ridden by beginners though is quite steep at times. The northern and eastern portions provide challenging technical switchbacks, climbing, and descents more suited for intermediate to advanced riders.
Need to Know
There is some parking near the trailhead at the base of Scenic Drive
. You can also park at the El Paso Tennis Club and ride up through Arroyo Park as a warm-up. Great restaurants, bars, and a couple of bike shops are about a quarter mile west on Mesa St.
begins near the trailhead and provides a scenic overlook of the City of El Paso and the neighboring city of Juarez, Chihuahua in Mexico.
The Palisade Canyon Loop begins just north of Arroyo Park on Robinson Ave. The trailhead must be accessed by taking Rim Road to Robinson as the Mesa St access route is under construction.
A dirt road climb, the Palisades Canyon Access Road
, awaits you at the start of the trail. After turning left at the top of the road where things turn rocky, you'll be greeted by a super tough doubletrack climb over some jagged rock sections. A series of challenging, technical climbs and descents follow and you are guaranteed to have to hike a few short sections up that are even tough off the bike.
The downhill rewards are well worth it and some long, solid rock sections will remind you of Moab, Utah, especially, the section of Ana's Trail
that is part of this loop. Near the northernmost part of the western half, you'll be treated to some fast technical switchbacks and a dizzying view that are part of the Vertigo Ridge
The second half is mostly downhill after a short low-grade doubletrack climb on part of the Thousand Steps Trail
and you'll be challenged by rough and loose sections along with more solid rock sections where you'll be dodging boulders two feet tall at times as you descend on Monk's Trail
. A high suspension travel all mountain rig is better for the downhill sections of this loop. XC bikes will take a serious beating...if you can keep from going over the bars.
Near the end, you'll encounter some fun, technical switchbacks and a few jumps with very narrow landings that require great precision. Luckily, you can ride over these and treat them more like a pump track section. After the jump section, put your bike in a high gear and pedal like mad to make it up the steep ramp to the Palisades Canyon Access Road
you started on!
At the end of the loop, you can do a short cool down in Arroyo Park to help bring your adrenaline levels back to normal...unless you ride all the way down to the jump line in Arroyo Park that is.
History & Background
The canyon sits on 200 acres and is crisscrossed with old mining roads, the northern trails of this canyon beckon the more seasoned riders with moderate to difficult biking and hiking routes. The City of El Paso purchased the land from a developer who had planned to build a new residential subdivision in the area, and thus preserving it for public use.