El Paso, TX, Guide and Information
Located at the far western corner of Texas in the Chihuahuan Desert on the Rio Grande River, El Paso is distinguished by its proximity to New Mexico and Mexico and also as being one of the most important cities of the lone star state. Although El Paso County was founded in 1850, El Paso proper has roots dating back to the sixteenth century. As the Spaniards approached the Rio Grande from the south, they viewed two mountain ranges rising out of the desert with a deep chasm between. They named this site El Paso del Norte, which means the Pass of the North. It served as the future location of two border cities—Ciudad Juárez on the south or right bank of the Rio Grande, and El Paso, Texas, on the opposite side of the river. Today El Paso, Texas is the largest of the U.S./Mexico border cities. Indeed, it’s situated at the base of the Franklin Mountains and below a narrow pass where the Rio Grande spills out from the southernmost spines of the Rocky Mountains.
Here’s an interesting fun fact: Since 1989, people have begun to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving to commemorate the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate’s arrival in today’s El Paso on April 30, 1598. Most history books say that the first Thanksgiving was held between the pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621 in what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts, but it seems as though the El Pasoans have a leg up on that distinction.
In addition to its culture and heritage, nature also serves as a big draw for El Paso. The Chihuahuan Desert presents a stunning backdrop for exploring the outdoors.
Climbing, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and other forms of outside fun are popular year-round in Franklin Mountains State Park, a huge park located within the city of El Paso. North Franklin Mountain, a towering 7,192 feet above sea level ranks as the park’s main attraction. It’s a great destination for athletic types as well as an iconic beacon for all of El Paso, one that can be seen from more than fifty miles away.