Hueco Tanks State Park and Historical Site is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert in the outskirts of El Paso. It consists of three mountains, and the surrounding rock has hollows, or huecos, which hold rain water that sustains wildlife in the area. Some dried out huecos may contain dormant organisms and their eggs for generations.
Thousands of years ago Native Americans left part of their stories painted on the rocks throughout the park, and these can be seen during hikes if you know where to look. The map of the park shows where they can be found. As is always they case with archaeological and geological sites, do not disturb, touch, or deface the paintings.
In the mid to late 1800s, Hueco Tanks became a very important rest stop for those traversing the Butterfield Overland Trail from St. Louis to San Francisco. Travelers could find rest and fresh water before continuing their long voyage to the west coast.
Today the park offers hiking, camping, picnicking, rock climbing and bouldering, bird watching, and plenty of opportunities to learn about the nature and history of Hueco Tanks. North Mountain is the only area where you can take a self guided tour; East Mountain, West Mountain, and East Spur are all closed to the general public and can only be accessed via a ranger or volunteer-led hike. If you are interested in visiting these areas, you must call the park a week in advance and reserve a tour. The same goes for camping. It is a very fragile habitat, and it is strictly preserved and protected. Most of the pictographs, however, can be found in North Mountain.
Please plan for high temperatures in the summer and fall and carry water with you at all times.