El Paso, Texas
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert
El Paso is located in the Chihuahuan Desert of extreme western Texas, along the Rio Grande River. It adjoins both the state of New Mexico and the country of Mexico with the Franklin Mountains, the southern tip of the Rockies, slicing El Paso nearly in two.
With its classic Western geography and because it shares a an international border with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's rich culture pervades everything in El Paso, from its art and architecture to its celebrations and cuisine. El Paso's area is 248 square miles, making it the fourth largest city in Texas, and 22nd in size in the United States. It is the nation's third fastest growing metropolitan area. El Paso is midway between Los Angeles and Houston. El Paso is in the Mountain Time Zone.
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Population / Elevation
- 606,526 people in El Paso -- 1,166,246 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
- 3,710 feet above sea level.
Weather / Climate
Shielded by mountains on three sides, the dual cities of El Paso and Juárez, on the Mexican side, are rewarded with more than 200 days clear days of sunshine annually and a dry climate, making it possible to enjoy most outdoor activities year-round.
|El Paso, Texas - Monthly Climate Normals|
In 1581 the first Europeans, Spanish conquistadores first found their way across the Rio Grande River into what is now the United States and named the passage El Paso del Rio del Norte (the pass through the river of the north). This area on the river had already been home to native cultures for many centuries. In 1598, Don Juan de Oñate colonized the area, officially naming it El Paso.
In 1659, the first Spanish-Indian settlement was founded in the area that is now call Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. In 1682, the Tigua Indians established a new home in Ysleta del Sur, a western suburb of El Paso, after fleeing the Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico, together with their Spanish masters. Here they built the Mission Nuestra Señora del Carmen and established the oldest settlement in Texas.
In 1780, the Spanish military garrison in San Elizario was founded, and in 1827, Juan Maria Ponce de Leon establishes a hacienda in what is now downtown El Paso.
In 1849, the first U.S. Army post was established to protect the settlers from marauding Apaches and Comanches. Between 1858 and 1859, El Paso served as a major stop for the famous Butterfield Overland Mail Coach. El Paso became a US city in 1873, and in 1881, the Southern Pacific Railroad opened, establishing the cornerstone of an east-west hook-up and the only easy gateway into and out of Mexico.
El Paso's era of gunfighters, cattle rustlers, saloons, famous marshals and Texas Rangers occurred between 1881 and 1887. It was from El Paso, in 1916, that General "Black Jack" Pershing began his expedition against the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.
In 1943, horses and horse equipment of the Cavalry Division at Ft. Bliss were retired and the days of the horse-mounted cavalry ended forever. In 1967, Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Gustavo Diaz Ordaz met in El Paso and Juarez to sign the Chamizal settlement border dispute. The federal government officially recognized the Ysleta Indian Community as a surviving tribe of American Indians and transferred all trust responsibilities to the State of Texas.
Visitors can sample some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine in the state of Texas and go bargain-shopping in Juárez across the river. See the unusual Bhutanese-style architecture of the University of Texas at El Paso or tour the three Spanish colonial missions, Yselta, Socorro and San Elizario.
El Paso is known for all of it's fiestas and bazaars. Once summer starts to close in, the El Paso area comes to life with a fiesta almost every week. Beginning with the "YSLETA MISSION FESTIVAL" in Ysleta 1n July the "FIESTA DE SAN ELSARIO" in San Elisario in August and the "FIESTA DE SAN MIGUEL" in Socorro in September. We also have the "FIESTA DE LAS FLORES"and the "EL PASO DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL" to mention a few.The Chamizal offers free a outdoor concerts every Sunday during the summer days.
Camping & RV Parks
There are numerous camping and RV accommodations in and around El Paso. For more information, contact:
- El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau
- One Civic Center Plaza, El Paso, TX 79901-1187
- 915-534-0696 fax 915-532-0263
Cities & Towns
- Marfa, Texas: 195 miles southeast.
- Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: across the Rio Grande.
- Paquime, or Casas Grandes, Mexico about 110 miles southwest
- Las Cruces, New Mexico: 44 miles north.
- Carlsbad, New Mexico: 165 miles northeast.
- Van Horn, Texas: 122 miles east.
Parks & Monuments
- Guadalupe Mountain National Park: 105 miles east.
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park: 130 miles east.
- White Sands National Monument: 82 miles northeast.
- Big Bend National Park: 200 miles southeast.
- Chamizal National Memorial: Within the city.
- Franklin Mountains State Park: Within the city.
- Hueco Tanks State Historical Park: 30 miles east.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
- McKelligon Canyon: Within the city.
- Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area: 130 miles east.
Historic & Points of Interest
- Americana Museum: 915 542-4511.
- Border Patrol Museum: 915 759-6060.
- Centennial Museum: 915 747-5565.
- El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center: 915-351-0048.
- El Paso Mission Trail
- El Paso Mission Tour: 915 534-0696.
- El Paso Museum of Art: 915 541-4040.
- El Paso Museum of History: 915.351.3588
- Magoffin Home State Historic Site: 915 533-5147.
- Wilderness Park Museum: 915 755-4332.
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