McKelligon Canyon is a rocky, desert-y area a few miles north of El Paso that offers an opportunity for a scenic and hilly run. The popular route for runners is along McKelligon Canyon Rd., which leads for 2.5 miles to a trailhead. From there, steeper and rockier trails lead into the canyon and a feeling of being surrounded by desert canyon walls.
The out and back along the road to the trailhead is 5 miles, with a steady elevation gain of 700 feet, average grade of 5-6%. The road is generally quiet, and there’s an excellent shoulder meant for pedestrians. There are also some trails alongside the road that can be used as well. For trail runners, there are some challenging and steep options in this area as well. Note: this area is very open and exposed — plan accordingly on hot days.
- 4.8 miles (7.8 km) out and back
- 700 feet (213m), 5-6% average grade
- Parking lot of McKelligon Canyon Rd.
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