City Escape: El Paso, Texas

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

Wineries, missiles, and views—this loop north of El Paso is a great mix for a short getaway. This city escape begins with a ride through a peaceful wine and agricultural region. It then tracks through a small portion of the fascinating White Sands Missile Range (ID and appropriate vehicle paperwork required for access), and ends with a fantastic panoramic view of the city. This is a ride to take anytime except for mid-summer.

Length

Approximately 120 Miles

Meet-up Spot

Starbucks, 7051 South Desert Boulevard, El Paso, TX

Lunch Stop

Mexican food on this route is a must. Try La Casita Café at 195 N Mesquite St, Las Cruces, NM. 

Scenery (4 out of 5)

This route is filled with vineyards, cotton fields, vast desert, and unspoiled views. The scenery: arid and beautiful.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Once out of El Paso, the traffic is generally very light. Ample passing zones mean you will rarely be stuck behind slow traffic. 

Difficulty (2 out of 5)

This is an easy and relaxing ride. Just make sure you have your ducks in a row for the White Sands stretch (see below).

Road Conditions (4 out of 5)

Being a desert region, there will be sand and dirt on the road in spots. Roads are generally good, but the shoulder can be inconsistent and crumbly in places.

Points of Interest

  1. Zin Valle Vineyards, 7315 Canutillo-La Union Rd, Canutillo, TX: Zin Valle Vineyards, a few miles north of El Paso, produces sweet and dry varietal wines from the sandy loam of the Mesilla Valley. Grounds and tasting room are open Friday through Monday, noon to 5 p.m. www.zinvalle.com
  2. Rio Grande Vineyards and Winery, 5321 NM-28, Las Cruces, NM: The setting of this winery affords spectacular mountain views in a peaceful setting. It’s another great stop if you want to turn your escape into a mini-wine-tour. www.riograndewinery.com
  3. Old Mesilla Village, NM: In this historic town, you can’t help feeling like you’ve stepped back in time to the Old Southwest. Mesilla dates back to 1848 and its classic adobe structures are beautiful. It’s a great place to walk, shop, and just hang out awhile. www.oldmesilla.org
  4. White Sands Missile Range, NM: You will ride through a small portion of this huge and historic military site. WSMR contains an intriguing museum. Important note: You will be required to show ID and appropriate vehicle paperwork to pass through the range. Call the Public Affairs office at the White Sands Missile Range at (575) 678-1134 before your ride to make sure there are no military operations planned that could affect your trip. www.wsmr.army.mil
  5. TX Loop 375 Overlooks: This short mountain stretch of highway is a great way to end your escape. There are two expansive overlooks offering panoramic views of El Paso. This road is also known as the Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive and, arguably, it’s the most spectacular ride near El Paso.