El Paso, Texas – El Paso. The Sun City. The west Texas town unlike any other in the Lone Star State. Closer to Las Vegas than Houston, El Paso is an incredibly unique part of Texas.
But to get a real appreciation of the majestic beauty of the last stop west in the Lone Star State, a trip to Franklin Mountains is quite frankly a top spot on The Texas Bucket List.
Diana Moy works at the mountain range that splits the middle of El Paso.
“You get to see two countries, three states,” Diana Moy said. “Such is the view from the top. On a clear day you can see about 7 thousand square miles.”
In order to get to the summit overlooking the city, the Wyler Tramway is your fastest and most fantastic method of transportation. A simple four minute ride over half a mile on a gondola that’s supported by a 1 3/8 inch steel cable.
“It’s a very simple system, a very reliable system you’ll see in parts of the world mainly in ski lifts,” said Esteban Maceado, the man in charge of keeping the tramway working in tiptop shape.
Built in 1959, the formally privately owned El Paso Aerial Tramway was open to the public from 1960 to 1986. Karl Wyler left the tramway to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in his will under the condition it remain open to the public. After extensive renovations, the Wyler Tramway was reopened to the public in 2001.
“You see the cables on both ends,” Roy said while explaining how the tramway works. “So it exits on one side and enters on the other one. So it’s one continuous loop cable that’s kind of split in half. So part of it’s attached to one gondola on one side, and the other half of the cable is attached to the other. So as it’s moving it’s pulling one and bringing the other one down at the same time.”
After learning about how the tramway works, it was time to hop in for a ride. As we ascended, I wasn’t sure which way to look.
Before we could finish humming Marty Robbins’ song about this city, we had arrived. As the view across the expanse of West Texas, Mexico, and New Mexico came into focus it became abundantly clear the Wyler Tramway is something every Texan needs to experience.
Spending hours up here is common. Whether it’s getting a look at Juarez and its famed la equis, the ski resorts of New Mexico miles and miles away, or the city of El Paso, shining bright in West Texas this sight is stunning.
As the sun sets on the Lone Star State, the entire crowd gathers to the west side of the peak to get one last look at this incredible sight.
“I catch myself on occasion saying that I would do it for free, and I never get tired of it being this spectacular,” one tramway employee told us. “Every time I come here it’s just gorgeous.”
Reflecting on life is easy to do at this vantage point. Where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, what your family and friends mean to you and how lucky we are to live in the Lone Star State all come to mind.
So take the time and make the trip to El Paso for a perspective that puts things into perspective and is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.