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Peak Challenge Hike - Ron Coleman

7:00a to 1:00p
Sat, September 30, 2023
(915) 444-9121

Test yourself against some of the most difficult hikes in the Franklin Mountains State Park.

This month we will hike the newly re-opened Ron Coleman trail. This is a very strenuous hike of about 4 miles. Considered by some to be the most difficult trail in Franklin Mountains State Park, this trail begins in McKelligon Canyon with a moderately steep incline over loose gravel and rocks leading to two natural rock shelters. After reaching the first cave, the trail hooks around on the right side and requires scrambling on all fours over bare rock to make it up to the second cave very near the ridgeline. The ridgeline provides a respite as you wander along the gentle rise which continues until you reach three sections of chain assisted rock ascents ranging from 15-40 feet. Be sure to stop in the middle of the second ascent to enjoy the view out the window! Shortly afterwards you will pass South Franklin Peak and make your way to “Mammoth rock.” The descent from the Mammoth can be very difficult to pick out and is steep and rocky. Once you reach the bottom, it is a short stroll to the Smuggler’s Pass Parking area off of Transmountain Road.

Reservations required; to reserve your spot, call the office at (915) 444-9100.

Bring: water (I recommend 2-4 liters), snacks and/or a sack lunch, hiking boots/shoes, and comfortable clothes.

Optional: hiking stick, binoculars, camera, and a map.

*Hikers with less than 1.5 litters of water or inadequate gear will not be allowed to attempt this hike*

Meeting location: We will meet at the Smuggler's Pass parking area, also known as Mammoth Trunk parking area,  and carpool over to McKelligon Canyon so we will end the trail back at your vehicle. 

Fee: $5.00 per adult 13 years of age and older, $0.00 for Texas State Park Pass holders and children between the ages of 5 and 12. Please pay ahead of time online at, in the Tom Mays Visitor Center, or bring exact change to use in the Self Pay envelopes. Rangers and Volunteers do not carry change with them.


From Westside on I-10, take exit 6 & travel east towards the mountains for 6 miles. Parking lot will be on the right.

From Eastside on Hwy 54, take exit 29 towards Transmountain Rd, travel west 4.6 miles over the mountains. Parking lot will be on the left.

If using a GPS be sure to search for "Mammoth's trunk trail parking," not "Franklin Mountains State Park."