6 Awesome Day Trips Near Fort Bliss
People tend to think of Fort Bliss as being in the middle of nowhere. While it is 8 hours to San Antonio, 9 hours to Dallas, and 10 to Houston, the truth is that this desert post holds many surprising treasures and most just a short trip away. Looking for a great escape but want to be home in time for dinner? Here are our recommendations for great day trips near Fort Bliss that are less than 3 hours away!
Do you love hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding? Yes, you read that right...SKIING and SNOWBOARDING. Ruidoso is approximately 3,000 feet higher in elevation than El Paso, so you could say that it gets a good bit of snow in the winter. But Ruidoso isn't just great for winter day trips! If you're missing some vegetation you can get your dose of woodsy evergreens there as well. And, since Ruidoso is only two and a half hours from Bliss, it makes for a great escape from desert life. Some may say it's an oasis. Oh, and let's not forget about the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino and Resort. Feel free to spend some money on the slot machines in between your outdoor activities.
Right and Up Tip: Rent your ski/snowboarding gear and buy your lift tickets online before you get to Ski Apache. It will save you some time since it can get busy in the peak months. You can also rent mountain bikes and ride a zip line down the mountain during summer.
Whoever named White Sands didn’t get an A in creativity. Title aside, White Sands is all beach and no water, but boy is it beautiful. What makes it special is it’s a prime spot for cool pictures and for year round sand sledding. Apparently it was a lake back in the last ice age and all that’s left is miles and miles of pristine white sand. It really looks like something from a different planet or a sci-fi movie (see article cover photo!). At only an hour and a half from El Paso, I'd say it should make your day trips bucket list.
Right and Up Tip: White Sands is near Alamogordo but other than that you’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. Make sure to bring your own drinks, snacks and sled. Also, the Visitor Center has lots of great things for the kiddos including a nature pack for hiking.
Dust off your old elementary books and try to remember what the difference is between a stalactite and a stalagmite! Just over 2 hours from El Paso you will find one of the largest cave systems in the world! It is a sight to see and you can not miss visiting if you are at Fort Bliss. You can either enter the caverns walking or via an elevator system. I personally enjoy walking into the caverns and taking the elevator out. It's about 4,000 feet long so you will be down there for a while. Most importantly, if you visit in the summer or fall plan your trip around the Bat Flight. Thousands of bats exit the caverns looking for dinner at around 7:00 pm and it is an experience you will never forget.
Right and Up Tip: It's a long and chilly walk, so bring a jacket and a good pair of walking shoes.
History buffs rejoice! Mesilla is less than an hour from El Paso and a rather historic town for the Southwest. Billy the Kid was tried there and the town is full of old legends and ghost stories. If you fancy a nice dinner or Sunday brunch stop by the Double Eagle de Mesilla and make sure to ask about their ghost stories.
Right and up tip: Take the scenic route, I-28, which takes you through pecan orchards and is overall a very nice drive.
Though a bit of a drive at almost 3 hours, Marfa is one of those quirky art Southwestern art towns that you just gotta see once. Marfa is home to the fake Prada store (Prada Marfa), which is an artistic sculpture and replica of an actual Prada store that stands lonely and closed on the side of the highway. The fake store has been visited by everyone under the sun including the queen bee herself, Beyoncé. Other weird things about Marfa...you can rent a teepee at El Cosmico because tents are for fools. El Cosmico also hosts the Trans-Pecos Festival in September; a weekend long music festival for the free spirit in all of us. Lastly, you have the famous Marfa lights! Mysterious and, some say super natural, lights appear in the desert at night in various colors and have no known origin. Grab a blanket and a lawn chair and enjoy the glow!
Right and up Tip: Marfa has a rising art scene so be sure to visit the Chinati Foundation; a museum of contemporary art.
Just over an hour from El Paso, the city of Hatch is the chile capital of the world! Omg is that where hatch chiles come from? Duh! If you're looking to spice up your life, make your way to this town. The Hatch Chile Festival is held every year over Labor Day weekend, and you can partake of green chiles all day long!!
Right and Up Tip: Don’t forget to stop by Sparky’s and get their famous green chile burger!
about the author
Val is a military spouse and El Paso native. She is currently stationed with her husband in Quebec, Canada and will soon PCS to Washington, DC.