Smack in the center of El Paso, Texas, is Franklin Mountains State Park, a 26,000-acre spread that draws recreation connoisseurs from extreme thrill seekers to casual strollers.
"From the west to the northeast side of El Paso, you go over this winding mountain road and it's really quite spectacular," says Nanette Smejkal, El Paso Parks & Recreation director. "People look at that and they think, 'My gosh, there's a mountain in the middle of the city.' And they're right. There's this wonderful open space. So right away, you know El Paso has something to offer."
Locals are also treated to El Paso's very own star standard - the Guiding Star. It can be seen from 30 miles away on the ground and 100 miles from the air. The illuminated star on the south side of Franklin Mountains has been an El Paso fixture since 1940. The star measures 459 feet in length and 278 feet in width and sits at an angle of 30 degrees, giving the appearance that it is at the focal point of major intersection Texas and Alameda avenues. The Star on the Mountain shines each night at dusk.
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