On Walkabout On: Anthony’s Nose In the Franklin Mountains

This past fall I attempted to climb the last major peak I haven’t summitted yet in the Franklin Mountains just outside of El Paso, Texas.  The mountain is called Anthony’s Nose and is the second highest peak in the mountain range at 6,927 feet:

anthony's nose

Here is an image of the east side of Anthony’s Nose after a recent dusting of snow this winter:

Readers may remember my prior hikes in the Franklin’s up it other two prominent peaks:

Back in the fall I didn’t have any snow to worry about, but rather the heat to contend with.  Because of the heat that is why I began my hike to the summit of the peak early in the morning.  The trail to the peak begins at the Tom Mays picnic area that is part of the Franklin Mountains State Park fee area on the west side of the mountain range:

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Just a short walk from the parking lot is this park bench for those that don’t want to wander to far into the desert wilderness:

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From the bench it is possible to see a wide variety of Chihuahuan Desert plant life that encompasses the Franklin Mountains State Park such as this large yucca tree:

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This plant known as a ocotillo or Jacob’s Staff looks like cactus but it is actually an entirely different plant species:

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During the wet seasons in the Chihuahuan Desert the thorns on this plant actually sprout green leaves:

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During the spring the ocotillos will actually sprout red flowers on them.   The ocotillos may not be cactus, but there is still plenty of real cactus to see:

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Anyway I continued north up the trail that runs parallel to the base of the Franklin Mountains towards the distant Anthony’s Nose that can be seen in the distance below:

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Along the way there was a number of dry river beds known as arroyos in the southwest that I had to cross:

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From there I continued hiking to the north towards the distant Anthony’s Nose:

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I took a quick break to drink some water and admire the desert scenery that I had crossed looking towards the south:

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Looking to the west I could see the green scar across the desert that is the Rio Grande River Valley out in the distance:

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Looking far to the north I could also make out the spectacular peaks of the Organ Mountains:

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I continued on with my hike along the base of the mountains and eventually came upon a fence line:

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I have no idea what this fence line represents but I think it may just be an old fence that remains from a now discontinued cattle ranch:

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As I continued down the trail

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After about two hours of walking I finally came the trail that leads to the base of Anthony’s Nose:

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This trail leads into a valley with steep rocky walls:

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The trail eventually turns into an arroyo that becomes increasingly difficult to climb up due to the large boulders and thick brush:

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Due to the difficulty of hiking up the arroyo I decided to try and go cross country up the steep rocky sides of the mountain:

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As I ascended up the mountain the summit of Anthony’s Nose was a constant presence in front of me:

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The more I ascended up the mountain the better and better the views towards the west became:

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My ascent up the mountain even cross country was increasingly difficult because of the thick brush I had to work my way through:

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Due to the heat and difficulty of the hike I went through all the water I had brought with me and I wasn’t yet to the top of the mountain.  I had to turn around knowing that I had about a two hour hike to get back to the picnic area where I was parked.  I would have to bring much more water with me the next time I try to climb this peak as well as hike during a cooler time period than the early fall.  So I turned around and headed back down the mountain.  On the way down I noticed what look a old mine of some kind:

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It looks like a coal seam that was being mined at one time from this location:

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Going down the mountain was much quicker than going up and soon enough Anthony’s Nose was well behind me:

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It front of me lied the long walk back to the Tom Mays picnic area and I had run out of water:

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I wasn’t worried though because I have walked much further than this without water and about a little over an hour later I was back at my truck and on my way home.  The summitting of Anthony’s Nose will have to wait to probably spring time when the weather is cooler and I will definitely bring more water for this difficult hike.

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10 Responses to On Walkabout On: Anthony’s Nose In the Franklin Mountains

  1. I have an Ocotillo that grows in my front yard. My favorite time of year is when the reddish/orange blooms begin to attract humming birds. Too bad you never made it to the top. I am jealous you have mountains in your backyard.

  2. Dobbs says:

    I would have a hard time living anywhere that doesn't have mountains nearby. I am originally from Colorado and have never lived anywhere flat.

  3. Jay Koester says:

    Wow, weird timing. I came upon your post after I did a Google search looking for advice on summiting Anthony's Nose because I failed in almost the same say you did on Friday, Feb. 19.

    I keep thinking there has to be a better starting point than Tom Mays Park. I started there, as well, but took Shaffer's trail to the east before quickly just going cross country. My GPS told me I had hiked 2.5 miles and was .73 miles from the summit when I turned around because I was running out of time and energy.

    Oh well, I'm going to keep searching for a better starting point, but nice post and good pictures! I'll have to bookmark this blog.

  4. Dobbs says:

    Thanks for visiting the site. You can also hike to Anthony's Nose by parking off the side of New Mexico Highway 404 and hiking in that way. That is the way I am going to try the next time I hike in. I am going to attempt to get to the top of the Nose sometime this spring with cooler temperatures than when I went in the early fall and ran out of water. It would help though if the Texas State Parks Dept. would actually build a trail to the top of the Nose so you don't have to break so much brush to get to the top.

  5. Bob Medley says:

    Here is a link to a gps track to Anthony’s Nose.

    http://elpasoridgewalkers.com/index.php?option=com_gpstools&view=gpstools&task=viewtrack&id=38:anthonys-nose&Itemid=287

    There are more tracks for hikes in and around El Paso, and Las Cruces.

  6. Bob Medley says:

    Here is another GPS track up to Anthony’s Nose. This hike was just complete on the 21st of April 2012. Download the track into your GPS and follow it. It would be less elevation gain if you started in Tom Mays park beginning at the Aztec Caves parking lot. Let me know when you finally summit the nose.

    http://elpasoridgewalkers.com/index.php?option=com_gpstools&view=gpstools&task=viewtrack&id=47:ridge-hike-nm-404-to-tom-mays-park&Itemid=287

  7. Dobbs says:

    Bob thanks the GPS route. I will have to try it out sometime. Cheers!

  8. Bob Medley says:

    Jay;
    Just in case you haven’t seen this, here is a link to a GPS track to Anthony’s None. You can start either at the Aztec Caves Trail parking lot, or New Mexico highway 404. Enjoy!

    http://elpasoridgewalkers.com/index.php?option=com_gpstools&view=gpstools&task=viewtrack&id=47:ridge-hike-nm-404-to-tom-mays-park&Itemid=287

  9. Jay Koester says:

    Thanks, Bob! Sadly, I have tried and failed at Anthony’s Nose several times since I last wrote on here! :oops: But, I have never tried from 404, so that will probably be my next attempt. It’s about to get into the summer months, though, so it may have to wait until fall.

  10. Jeff says:

    The only ‘trail’ to Anthony’s nose is from the C5 lot in Tom Mays Unit. It’s the same trail-head as Aztec Caves trail. Just head up the skinny path to the left at the beginning.

    As far as accessing the Nose from the north; the only trail from Anthony’s Gap ends at Anthony’s Cave, forcing you to leave the trail, cross the arroyo in the valley, & slog up your own route along the rocky ridge directly south of the cave. You’ll cross Northern Pass trail before the arduous climb, but don’t let that fool you. It’s merely an east/west trail that doesn’t ascend to the crest, nor lead to a trail-head.

    This is the most challenging hike in the Franklin’s, as you’ll have to spend most of your energy scrambling boulders, & most of your time tip-toeing around all the lechuguilla. I failed my 1st northern ascent because it took so long that I ran out of water (it was 98° that afternoon).

    I don’t recommend the northern approach if you haven’t done any of the other difficult rated hikes in the area, & even then plan on at least 6 hours for your first try, longer if in a group.

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