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Texas Mountain Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

HERITAGE HIKES


Smith Spring Trail, Guadalupe Mountains

Hikers in Far West Texas know it is virtually impossible to separate history from our land, and that's why we wanted to illuminate the heritage hikers can experience on the trail.

Consider Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where hikers can visit Frijole Ranch at the trailhead to Smith Spring...and see where families tried to build a life farming and ranching in the remote mountains. Or Pratt Cabin on the McKittrick Canyon Trail, the summer home of an acclaimed geologist who's donation of land led to the creation of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Or the Pinery Trail, to the remains of a historic Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach stop.

Consider El Paso's easy Scenic Sunday walk, a product of a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crew from Fort Bliss in the 1930s. Franklin Mountains State Park's difficult Ron Coleman Trail was the site of an 1890 murder by cattle rustlers of Texas Ranger Charles Fusselman.

And here's some fascinating history still evident on the Old Tin Mines - Polecat Lollipop trail in Franklin Mountains State Park: "The El Paso Tin Mining and Smelting Company operated here during the 1910-1911. It was the only tin mine in production within the continental United States. In the 1890’s, miners found tin on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. However, extraction of the tin was slow and the first shipment of tin didn’t occur until 1910. By 1915, only five years after the first shipment, profits sagged and the operation folded. The mine was briefly reopened in 1942, during World War II. Due to the thinness of the veins, it was once again shut down. The scars from this period of operation are still evident in the Tin Mine Unit."


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