Franklin Mountains State Park Superintendent, Dr. Cesar Mendez, leading a nature hike.
Every year the Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta celebrates the natural wonders of the mountainous desert in our big backyard while encouraging people to explore and discover parks and other protected areas.
The seventeenth annual Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta is coming up and for the first time will be held as a two-day event. Day one of the educational and discovery celebration will be held at the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Saturday, September 25th from 10:30am to 3:00pm.
“As you walk through the new Chihuahuan Desert exhibit the Zoo’s education partners will have discovery tables featuring local organizations and conservation programs,” organizers share.
“On day two on Sunday, September 26th there will be scheduled nature hikes presented by park staff, volunteers and local experts between 9:00am and 3pm at the Tom Mays Unit of Franklin Mountains State Park.”
The original event sponsored by the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition (CDEC) in partnership with Franklin Mountains State Park and the City Parks Department began in 2005 and has been growing in popularity throughout the years.
In 2020 it was hosted virtually because of the Covid 19 Pandemic.
“Everyone is looking forward to having the event live again and with an extra day of activities,” organizers added.
Participants can expect animal encounter presentations, educational booths and entertainment at the zoo followed the next day by guided hikes at the Tom Mays unit of the Franklin Mountain State Park.
Activities at the zoo will be included as part of the regular entrance fee. Fee information can be found online.
In order to participate in the guided hikes at the State Park an entrance permit of $5.00 per adult 13 years of age and older is required. Participants can purchase the permit the day of at the Tom Mays Visitor Center (2900 Tom Mays Park Access Rd) or reserve their permit in advance via this link.
Some of the planned activities are listed below.
Saturday, September 25 – Presentations at the Zoo Wildlife Amphitheater
10:30 – 10:45 am – Welcome
11:00 – 11:30 am – El Paso Parks and Recreation- Desert Zumba
12:00 – 12:30 pm – Bat Conservation International Presentation
1:30 – 2:00 pm – Wild Encounters by the El Paso Zoo
2:30 – 3:00 pm – Frontera Land Alliance Presentation
Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit Discovery booths at the Zoo
Bat Conservation International
Bureau of Land Management-Las Cruces District Office
Chamizal National Memorial
Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition
Mexican wolf education by Nancy Bain
Dirt y Girls Compost
Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition
Friends of the Rio Bosque Wetlands
Frontera Land Alliance
Texas Parks and Wildlife
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement
UTEP Center for Environmental Resource Management
Sunday, September 26, Chihuahuan Desert Discovery Hikes at Tom Mays Park
In order to participate in events at Franklin Mountains State Park, an entrance permit of $5.00 per adult 13 years of age and older is required.
Participants can purchase this the day of at the Tom Mays Visitor Center (2900 Tom Mays Park Access Rd) or reserve their permit in advance via this link.
9:00 AM – Nature Walk Trail
9:00 AM – West Cottonwood Spring (scenic) Trail
10:00 AM – Upper Sunset Trail
11:00 AM – Aztec Caves Trail
12:00 PM – Agave Loop Trail
1:00 PM – Nature Walk Trail
1:15 PM – Nature Walk Trail
2:00 PM – Prospect Mine Trail (Limited Capacity)
Discovery Hike Topics may include: Birds, Geology, Outdoor Recreation Opportunities and Safety, Trail Etiquette, Bats, Natural History and more.