Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Climb On!

People in Australia know about Hueco Tanks. People in Sweden know about Hueco Tanks. People in Japan know about Hueco Tanks.

Why? When it comes to bouldering — a form of rock climbing on boulders and short cliffs without a rope — Hueco Tanks is legendary.

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site is the birthplace of modern bouldering and was the first U.S. climbing destination focused primarily on bouldering. In the winter “high” season, climbers come from around the country and the world.

Bouldering has never been more popular than it is today — it was one of the three elements included in the climbing portion of the 2020 Olympics.

Hueco Tanks has lots of boulders, with high-quality rock and the namesake huecos (gaps) that provide perfect holds for climbing.

All you need are climbing shoes and a little courage. Most Hueco boulderers bring a “crash pad” to cushion any falls.

Bouldering is like solving a puzzle — figuring out which cracks, edges and pockets to use to make your way to the top. Boulderers often make repeated attempts at the same “boulder problem,” adjusting a foot placement or body position to gain a few inches.

Guidebooks list the difficulty of the climbs and offer directions on how to get to them. At Hueco Tanks, access is restricted to protect the fragile resources. The park allows self-guided visits to the North Mountain area of the park (70 people per day). You’ll have to join a guided tour to access other areas of the park.   

Oasis in the Desert

These rock hills in far West Texas have drawn people for thousands of years. They were a source of water, as rain pooled in the natural rock basins.


Rock art

Over the past several thousand years, prehistoric people and Native Americans painted pictographs on the rock faces — images of masks, snakes and other figures. Rock art tours are available.



Hueco Tanks is mainly a day-use park, but 20 campsites are available. The campground has restrooms, hot showers and a dump station.



North Mountain trails take hikers around the base of the mountain or to the top. You can see pictographs, unique geology and desert wildlife.

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

  6900 Hueco Tanks Road No. 1, El Paso, TX 79938

  Entrance fee: $7 Children 12 and under:free


  (915) 857-1135

Day passes purchased in advance are highly recommended, especially in winter, which is the park's busy season.

 Russell Roe   Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

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