Tom Mays Unit

The Tom Mays Unit is the Thanksgiving table of the local parks system: it has something for everyone. Hiking, mountain biking, road biking, birding, rock climbing, camping and picnicking are all available for outdoors enthusiasts of every stripe. This portion of the Franklin Mountains State Park offers endless possibilities for hikes, ranging from easy to extremely hard. The most challenging part will be deciding which one to take first. For a peek at the highest point in the park system, hikers can take the demanding 8-mile hike to the top of North Franklin Peak, which boasts a dizzying elevation of 7,912 feet. The trail begins at the Mundy’s Gap trailhead, and visitors who complete this trail will be treated to some beautiful and unforgettable views of the landscape below. Another difficult yet rewarding hike is the 4.0 mile Schaeffer Shuffle, which begins at the northern end of the park and takes hikers on an entertaining loop that offers fantastic views of the park.

The mountain biker will be similarly impressed. The first left turn from Transmountain Road leads to an area that features great picnicking and easy mountain biking trails. For the beginning mountain biker, this is the ideal spot to experience the trails within the park. The bike trails throughout other areas of the park are moderate to difficult and quite extensive, extending all the way into neighboring New Mexico. Fortunately, these looping trails have five different shortcuts along the way, allowing bikers to tailor the length of their rides or cut back easily along a different path. For road bikers, the road into the park provides a scenic and serene path to get some exercise and marvel at the scenery. For more detailed information about the hiking and biking paths and for maps go to

Rock climbers can get their rocks off at Sneed’s Cory. Named after the Sneed Pincushion Cactus, this unique rock face has 17 different climbing routes. Visitors looking for activities for the whole family can enjoy many of the picnicking spots that are available throughout the park as well as the easy hiking routes that feature nature walks and opportunities for birding. For the camper, there are several primitive camping spots located in the park. Please note that there is no water or electricity provided, so campers must bring in all that they need.

Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, birding, rock climbing, camping, picnicking

Hours: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Beginning on the first Saturday in April to the third Saturday in September, the park is open from 6:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. on Saturdays only.

Fee (self pay): 12 and under free, 13 and older $4

Camping Fee: $8 per person in addition to entrance fee

Visit Tom Mays Unit’s Website