Last week I flew out to El Paso for three nights for work. While a few days of elevation and desert tend to wreak havoc on my sinuses I enjoyed this trip because I finally got to check something off my Texas bucket list, the Wyler Aerial Tramway! This bad boy is only open Friday-Sunday starting at noon so typically my work schedule doesn’t allow for it but we snuck away at lunch on Friday for a quick tram ride before I had to catch my flight out.
First off I have to say that staring up at it from the ground it was a bit intimidating but we were blessed with a basically windless day and warm temps and the ascent wasn’t rough at all. The park staff at this site were awesome, as always, and the views were spectacular. There is a small gift shop at the top with a viewing platform that offers views of New Mexico, Texas and Ciudad Juarez.
This tramway sits on the side of the Franklin Mountains which are the largest mountain range that reside entirely in a metro area in the country. The tramway was originally built by Karl O. Wyler to provide access for maintenance workers to the telecommunications equipment on the top of the mountain. Wyler and his family loved the views at the top so much that he left it to the state of Texas in his will when he passed in 1997. The cable cars were rebuilt and it was open to the public in 2001.
The reason the park remains closed Monday through Thursday is that the tram is still used today for maintenance work. According to one ranger there are multiple tramways scattered throughout the mountain range but the rest are only for private, commercial use. Who knew?
It takes four minutes to ascend the 940 vertical feet moving at 8 miles an hour. It’s a great view and worth the time and money if you’re in the area. The Franklin Mountains are another great example of the diversity of the Texas ecosystem.