Hueco Tanks State Park – Texas

Hueco Tanks (Way-co Tanks) is located approximately 30 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas.
We decided to make this a day trip when we were boon docking near Carlsbad Caverns located about 2 hours drive northeast. Upon arrival, our side of the road was blocked off with cones and a park ranger was there to meet us. We also saw a half dozen cars park on the shoulder. The ranger told us only about 70 people are allowed in the park at one time and as people come out, others are allowed in. Despite the fact that he told us sometimes people will sleep in their cars the night before to get on the wait list in the morning we decided to give it some time and were in within a half hour or so.
Hueco is a charming state park where you can take the self guided trails in a few hours including scrambling up to Cave Kiva where there are 8 masks presumed from the Indians of the Jornada Mogollon culture in the 1100s and 1200s.
Several other trails with pictographs (painted) as well as petroglyphs (etched) including chain trail, which is a steep but short climb with chain handrails, can be hiked. There is a very well preserved mask that takes a bit of looking for but walk around and find the no climbing sign and explore the area behind the sign.
One of the most enjoyable things for us was the exploration. None of the pictographs or petroglyphs were marked so it was a lot of walking around looking for them. We enjoyed this part as well as seeing names with dates dating into the early 1800s. Unfortunately, graffiti can be seen as well. It was a lot of watching for other little spur trails off the main paths and looking at and under the large boulders for the markings.
Hueco Tanks has 4 main mountain areas and only the North Mountain can be self guided but you are free to wander wherever you want on it.  It is recommended to make reservations as well as a guide in advance as the largest parts of the park can only be seen with a guide. These guided tours can take anywhere from and hour and a half to six hours.
The park is also regarded as one of the best places for bouldering in the world.  Bouldering is a form of  rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations without the use of ropes or harnesses. We saw multiple people honing their climbing skills.

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