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Franklin Mountains header


The Franklin Mountains rise high above El Paso. On either side of the Franklin Mountains are large desert basins. To the west is the Mesilla Basin or Mesilla Bolson. “Bolson” is Spanish for “purse.” To the east of the Franklins is the Hueco Basin or Hueco Bolson. These basins are lower than the mountains because they have dropped down along faults that are along the edges of the mountains.

From where the Franklins begin in El Paso to where they end in New Mexico is a little more than 14 miles. Their width is variable, but they are generally about 3 miles wide.


Over millions of years, the Franklin Mountains have moved up along a series of faults, which are breaks in the Earth along the base of the mountains, and the basins next to the mountains have moved down.



All photos by Jay Raney, UT BEG, unless otherwise noted.

Franklin Mountains scenery.
Tracks in sand.

Click on the pictures above to see them larger.