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Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

Enjoy the bizarre landscapes of the far west corner of Texas


Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva
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Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site is a low-mountain area in El Paso County, Texas. It is nestled in a desert basin between the Hueco Mountains to the east and the Franklin Mountains to the west. The site's 860 ac (350 ha) consist of three syenite mountains. Some of the most popular activities at Hueco Tanks are bouldering and birdwatching. Visitors come here also to hike, stargaze, picnic, and, of course, study history and nature. Although this state park is a year-round destination, the perfect time to explore the site is November through March when it is not as hot.

Spanish word 'hueco' means 'hollows' and speaks about many water-holding depressions in the rock faces and boulders throughout the area. Because of the exceptional density of historical artifacts, wildlife, and plants, the site is protected by Texas law, so removing, altering, or destroying these items is illegal.

Hueco Tanks State Park is spiritually and culturally significant to many Native Americans. The deep meaning is partially reflected in the rock paintings found across the region; many of these pictographs are thousands of years old. The first paintings made at Hueco Tanks depicted abstract designs and were created between 6000 and 3000 BC. Pictures of humans and animals were drawn on the boulders between 3000 BC and 450 AD.

Because of the pictographs' fragile nature, only one of the four separate summits—North Mountain—can be accessed by solo hikers. Besides, each visitor must first inspect the detailed regulations and sign a form to confirm compliance.

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