United States

El Paso, TX

A guide to the best places to run in El Paso and the surrounding area, including Las Cruces, NM

El Paso is located in far western Texas, on the border with New Mexoico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The terrain is mostly open scrub and desert, with the Franklin Mountains rising north of downtown. The elements are major factors for running in El Paso: it’s sunny more than 300 days a year, and relentlessly hot from May through September. The terrain is hilly, rugged and exposed — there are few trees and little shade.

A favorite place to run in El Paso is along Scenic Drive, which features great views and some good hills. The best options for easier off-road running longer, the Pat O’Rourke Memorial Trail, Rio Grande River Trail, and the lake loop at Ascarate Park. For a taste of desert running, we recommend the road into McKelligon Canyon and the trails around Westside Open Preserve. Good neighborhoods for running are Sunset Heights near downtown, and the Manhattan Heights neighborhood, which can be combined with Scenic Drive.

El Paso is a fairly car-oriented city, although the Sun Metro Mass Transit System offers decent bus service around the city

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in El Paso, TX

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Scenic Drive Run

El Paso, TX

A road in El Paso popular for great city and mountain views. For runners, it's a scenic and somewhat hilly challenge. The Drive itself is 2 miles one-way, can be combined with the Arroyo or a longer run from the Up and Running store.
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Sunset Heights Neighborhood

El Paso, TX

A historic area of El Paso, and a decent bet running near downtown. One can put together ~3-4 miles around the area's hilly streets, which feature some nicer, older homes. Add Tom Lea Upper Park, Billy Rogers Arroyo, and the University for a longer run.
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Ascarate Lake Loop

El Paso, TX

Popular option for runners is to do loops around Ascarate Lake on the 1.4 mile gravel path. It's located within 400-acre Ascarate Park, which features numerous sports fields, two pools, and a golf course. Bonus: Lit at night!
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McKelligon Canyon Run

El Paso, TX

A steady climb along McKelligon Canyon Rd.. with good views of the canyon and surrounding desert. It's 5 miles out and back from the parking lot to the trailhead (trails are rocky and challenging), with a 700 foot gain and grades of 5-6%. Exposed!
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Westside Community Park

El Paso, TX

Located in the Three Hills Recreation Area, there's nice desert scenery along dirt trails in an open preserve. It's about 3.5 miles around the full perimeter, along gentle, rolling hill terrain. Especially pretty at sunset. Park has rec center with facilities.
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Rio Grande Trail

El Paso, TX

The best long, fairly flat off-road option in El Paso. Part of the Rio Grande Riverpark Trail System, the dirt/gravel trail runs for 10.6 miles from Country Club Rd., north to the New Mexico Border. Note the riverbed is often dry.
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Scenic Drive Run

El Paso, TX

A road in El Paso popular for great city and mountain views. For runners, it's a scenic and somewhat hilly challenge. The Drive itself is 2 miles one-way, can be combined with the Arroyo or a longer run from the Up and Running store.
Explore

McKelligon Canyon Run

El Paso, TX

A steady climb along McKelligon Canyon Rd.. with good views of the canyon and surrounding desert. It's 5 miles out and back from the parking lot to the trailhead (trails are rocky and challenging), with a 700 foot gain and grades of 5-6%. Exposed!
Explore

El Paso has a combination cold desert climate and hot desert climate. Averaging 300+ days of sunshine per year, the months of May through September are hot, with temperatures averaging from the high 80s to the mid-90s (31-36C). Nights, even in summer, do cool off, comparatively. Winter days are mild, with temps in the high 50s (15C), although runners need a layer as nights dip to near freezing. There can be cold snaps. Most of the 9 inches of annual precipitation falls in the summer ‘monsoon’ season. Runners should take note of the strong sun, heat, and little shade that characterizes El Paso.

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There’s a cluster of hotels in the downtown area, which provides access to the Sunset Heights neighborhood. Folks staying in El Paso generally have a car, and most of our routes are within a 10-15 minute drive.

RUNNING STORES

Up and Running, with two locations, is the independent running store of note in El Paso. One can also buy running apparel at Finish Line and the Asics Outlet.

GROUP RUNS

The Up and Running stores offer regular group runs every Tuesday (Westside, N. Mesa Location) or Thursday (Eastside) at 6 pm when they invite the whole community to come run a couple of miles with us. Absolutely free!

Signature El Paso running events:

Usually held in February. The marathon takes a tour of the city east to west and the half hits the highlights of downtown. There’s also a 5k option.
This 10k takes you through downtown, over the international bridge and into Juarez. Passport required!
5k held in the evening in July, followed by…you guessed it.