Best Weekend Winter Getaway in Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

By Ian-Spiegel Blum

Best Weekend Winter Getaway in Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

Texas has over 100 state and national parks across its 790 miles, almost all of which are open year-round. These parks range from lush forests to dry deserts and everything in between. While any number of these parks would be worthy of a weekend getaway, we think the Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site in El Paso offers a unique retreat unlike any other. While bigger parks, such as Big Bend, are overrun with visitors during the winter months, enjoy the history and solitude Hueco Tanks of the west has to offer. Here’s how to have the best winter weekend getaway at Hueco Tanks. 

Stock up on outdoor equipment at Alamo Shooters

Before hitting the road to make your way to Hueco Tanks, stop in at the local Alamo Shooters in El Paso. They carry a wide range of outdoor and sporting gear, perfect for any weekend getaway. If you’re so inclined, take a look at the tactical gear they have in stock, too.

Reserve a campsite

Unlike bigger parks, Hueco only has 20 campsites: four with water and sixteen with water and electricity. Make sure to call ahead of time to reserve your spot. All of the spots come with a picnic table and nearby restrooms.

Reserve a spot on the self-guided tour list to avoid a wait and explore

Hueco Tanks has an abundance of historic artifacts and paintings left over from the native Americans who lived here centuries before. Reserve your spot ahead of time to make sure you and your group is able to take a guided tour to hike through the mountains and see the beautiful imagery of El Paso’s history.

Go rock climbing

Hueco Tanks is known across the world for its unique rock climbing and bouldering options. Visitors come from Europe and Asia to climb the low mountains. While you can choose to cautiously go on your own, you can also book a guided climbing tour, as “some areas of the park can only be accessed on a tour.”

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Join a bird watching tour or watch on your own

Hueco Tanks is home to well over 200 species of birds, including pied-billed grebe, green-tailed towhee, and black-throated sparrow, among many more. Consult the latest field checklist and guide to make sure you’re on the lookout for the right birds—and don’t forget your binoculars. 

View the famous pictographs and petroglyphs

One of Hueco Tank’s claims to fame is the pictographs and petroglyphs that connect us to cultures that date thousands upon thousands of years back. The park has been sacred ground for various cultures for over 10,000-11,000 years, and you can still see many of the pictures left from the past.

Rent an ATV for an off-road adventure at Red Sands

Only seven miles away from the park, Rent an ATV Off-Road Adventures offers convenient ATV rentals, riding gear and parts. Take a guided tour or head straight to Red Sands just west of Hueco Tanks to explore on your own.

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Take part in El Paso’s annual Winterfest

Open from November to January, El Paso’s annual Winterfest is a must-experience for anyone in the area during the winter. Enjoy live entertainment every Friday, holiday music on Sunday, and open ice skating any time you visit.

Go for a before-dinner drink at Hope and Anchor

Hope and Anchor in El Paso, Texas is a local favorite bar and outdoor patio. Take advantage of their generous daily specials, large beer, liquor, and wine list, or try a home cocktail. Not only will you be raving about their drinks, but their food is a local staple for many, so grab a quick snack, or meal when you stop by.

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Dine on El Paso’s best Mexican restaurant at L&J Café

The L&J Café opened originally in 1927 and continues to serve incredible, authentic Tex-Mex. The building is historic, known as the “Old Place by the Graveyard.” According to them, the menu combines “creative new twists on regional flavors and savory traditional plates.” 

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