Not too far from El Paso, Texas, Hueco (way-co) Tanks State Park and Historic Site is a beautiful and sacred oasis in the desert at 4,400 feet elevation. People have come to this pile of boulders for over 10,000 years in search of rainwater and shelter. The site sits atop a rock base that holds water below the surface and high up on the rocks, unusual rock formations called huecos (hollows) collect rainwater in bowls that rarely run completely dry. The pools expand and cascade into pouroffs after a good rainstorm.
I don’t know how Bruce finds these gems but this was one of the best! The small park has only 20 campsites nestled in the boulders and natural landscape nicely separates each site. The trails are highly protected so that 2/3 of the park is only accessible with a guide and visitors are limited to 70 people (including campers) per day. They recommend getting entry permits 90 days in advance. We were just lucky enough to get a reservation to camp here on short notice during this low season. The guided tours are only run a few days a week and they were full during our intended stay. I’m so glad we we were able to stay an extra couple of days to join the next tour.
Our hike before the tour was amazing but we missed so many things that our guide pointed out later. The sheer number of petroglyphs and pictographs is fantastic but not so easy to spot. The alcoves and rooms created by the rocks were full of artwork if you know where to look!
I loved the combination of the natural space and awesome history. Natural rock dwellings are a nice change from all of the other ruins we have been exploring recently. Another Texas State Park that we would love to return to. That Texas State Park pass paid for itself on the 2nd stay and continues to bring us nice savings.