El Paso Hiking Group Pages

Caution/Disclaimer: Each individual hiker is responsible for their own personal safety/health and of their guests when participating with EP Hiking Group activities. The organizers of EP Hiking Group and EP Hiking Group are not liable for any illness, injury, accident, mechanical break-down, or unforeseen acts that may occur while you participate going to, during, or after any activity. If you have a medical condition that may be aggravated with any kind of physical activity you must make your own personal decision about attending and not hold any of the volunteer organizers liable. All organizers are volunteers and are not compensated during any activity.center

The El Paso Hiking Group was established so that fellow hikers, campers, and backpackers would have a source for trips and information.

IMPORTANT! If you decide to go on a trip with us please read our RSVP Policy before signing up!

1. During the season (April through October) we usually schedule 3 or 4 trips per month, and may have more during certain months (see our calendar). Most of our trips are weekend trips to accommodate as many members as possible. All of our trips are listed in as much detail as possible, including length of hike and difficulty. If you're thinking of participating in one of these trips, read over these details carefully to decide if this hike is a good fit for you. You'll notice that many of our trips fill up fast. If you weren't able to get in on a trip be sure to add yourself to the waiting list. Most of the time we'll have some openings a few weeks before the actual trip date.

Please note: Before participating in any of our activities you must agree to and sign our Liability Waiver and Release Form.doc

2. We welcome hikers/backpackers from all experience levels. Few things are more satisfying than getting a newcomer out on the trail while providing them with helpful hints on trail etiquette, gear, etc. And chances are you'll find another member with similar experience. Just remember to choose a trip which is within your experience level. Because we plan mostly weekend trips, the time frame dictates a generally easy to moderate hike. But from time to time there are strenuous trips planned. Also keep in mind that an "easy" rated hike with 40 lbs. on your back is going to be more difficult than the same hike with just a day pack. We never want to have a situation where a hikers/backpackers safety is in jeopardy. So know your limits!

3. We're an easy going bunch, and we hope you fit this mold! Taking day trips and overnight trips with people you don't know, along with various hiking speeds and abilities can be very taxing on those with a "take charge" mentality. If it is going to annoy you that "Jane" gets to camp 2 hours after you arrive, or "Larry" likes to get up at 5:30 am, or "BillyBobJimBob" only wants to eat squirrel jerky for meals, you might want to reconsider.

4. While our primary focus always has been and always will be hiking/backpacking, we will occasionally schedule car camping trips, ATV rides, and many other fun activities from time to time. This is also a good way for our group to stay active throughout the year. If you're interested in a much larger selection of day hikes check out the Albuquerque Hiking & Outdoor Meetup Group site.

5. General guidelines for our trips. Again, because of time constraints, most of our weekend hikes will average 5 miles or less per day. Sometimes we will have hike that are 10-12 miles a day. It's not overly enjoyable to get to camp in the dark, then leave early the next morning to get back to the car in the dark! We want these trips to be fun for everyone and not a death march. If you're an experienced hiker/backpacker, these trips should be pretty easy. If you're a beginner in average shape, the "Easy" rated trips should be considered well within your endurance level with maybe just a little "huffing & puffing" near the end. Don't worry about your pace, we'll make sure someone is hiking with you! Of course one of the components of how easy or difficult a hike is is your pack weight (PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT)! For our backpacking trips: A general rule is to carry no more than 1/4 of your body weight and NEVER more than 1/3 of your body weight. Of course there are exceptions. Some through hikers on the Appalachian trail are forced to carry more food and water because the distance between resupply stops can be long. And desert hikers usually have to carry more water because of the lack of it in the backcountry. And winter backpackers are forced to bring heavier clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc. along with snowshoes or skis. BUT, short of the situations mentioned above, you should be able to keep your pack weight within a quarter of your body weight with some good pre-planning. You may have to reconsider taking the solar heated shower bag or the 21 piece stainless steel cook-set, but it's really not all that difficult. This is a good subject to get some advise on from your fellow members.

Our Trip Ratings

If you ask 10 people to rate the difficulty of a hike, you're possibly going to get 10 different answers. Rating trails and trips is not a precise science. Keeping that in mind, we rate our trips based on the assumption that the person is in good physical condition, exercises on at least a semi-regular basis, and has some hiking experience.

Easy Rated Trips: These trips are great for any beginner or for those who want a gentle, easy grade. Some of these trips are designed specifically for those trying out backpacking for the first time while others are just (because of the area) easy trails to hike on. The majority of these trips will be less than 6 miles per day over relatively flat or gently sloping terrain. You may be a little tired when we arrive at camp, but anyone who meets the above criteria should be able to do any of these trips.

Moderate Rated Trips: These trips are for those who have done some hiking/backpacking before and know their physical condition and limits while carrying a pack over long uphill and downhill sections of trail. Many of these trips have elevation gains of 500 feet per mile. Unless you are experienced with hiking/backpacking, it is strongly recommended that you go on a couple easy rated trips before attempting one of these trips.

Difficult Rated Trips: These trips are for experienced hikers/backpackers. The elevation gains may be over 700 feet per mile over rocky and rough trail. Expect some trips to be 7 or 8 miles per day (or more). Elevations of over 11,000 feet will be reached on some trips. Unless you have experience with these types of hikes it is strongly recommended that you attend a couple of our moderate rated trips first.

Strenuous Rated Trips: Similar to the difficult rated trips but tougher. More elevation gain, rougher trails or routes, longer miles, higher elevations, etc. Always check with the organizer if you have any questions about these trips.

Winter Trips Trips: during the winter offer additional challenges including snow, winds and cold temperatures. There's also the challenge of using snowshoes or skis. You need to be properly prepared (with both gear and the physical ability) to attend our winter trips. If you have any doubts about the gear needed or your ability to complete a trip please contact the organizer for more information.

6. Member photos and Email settings. We really aren't concerned about your looks, but we are concerned about your safety and ours. We'd prefer that all members submit a photo when they join (it's nice to put a face to the name), but that's not mandatory. What is mandatory is submitting a photo before you join us on one of our trips. The general feeling is if you aren't willing to post a photo you probably have something to hide (whether that's true or not), and we want everyone to feel comfortable on our trips. Also, should the circumstances arise, a photo could be a major benefit. If you don't have access to a digital camera, ask a friend to borrow theirs or contact the group organizer. He might be able to take a photo for you. Some people choose to set their email options so that other members are not able to email them. While we don't encourage this, it's of course your choice. But, you will need to make sure that you can receive emails from at least the organizer and asst organizers if you plan on attending a trip with us. Sometimes there are last minute changes, etc and we have to be able to contact you. You can go to your profile's "Membership & Communication" tab and under "Privacy" check the box that says "only Orgs and Asst Orgs".

7. Safe Hiking. We practice safe hiking techniques. We expect every member to abide by each organizers safety briefings while on trips with us and other members. Hiking can be a risky activity.

8. RSVP. Please RSVP if you plan on attending a hike. Apparently Meetup keeps track of these and if there's no activity over a certain period of time they can make you inactive (a "No" RSVP counts as activity)! If you RSVP "Yes" please make sure you are planning to attend the trip and will be at the designated meeting point by the time indicated. 10 people waiting for an hour for one person to show up doesn't exactly start the trip off an a positive note!

Note: There is limited space available on some of our trips (generally 15 max) and many of our trips fill up within a few days of being posted. The demand exceeds the capacity most of the time. We list our trips on our calendar as far in advance as possible so that people can plan their busy schedules around them. This sometimes can result in RSVP'ing almost two months in advance of the actual trip. It is important that you plan to attend the trip that you sign up for as this takes a spot away from someone else. canceling during the week of the trip usually results in that space going unused because it takes more than just a few days of advance planning for someone to attend a weekend (or longer) trip with us. We understand that situations sometimes happen at the last minute which prevents you from attending a trip, and we kept that in mind when we established our RSVP Policy.

Our RSVP Policy: If you are not able to attend a trip that you signed up for, you must change your "Yes" RSVP at least 1 or two days prior to the trip. For example, if the weekend trip is scheduled for a Friday (the 20th) you must change your RSVP two days prior to that date (the 18th or 19th). Each member will be allowed 1 exception per year to this policy (this allows for those unexpected, last minute situations). If you change your RSVP to a "No" the day of the activity during a particular year, you'll get a friendly reminder that we don't like you to do that. "No Shows" are subject to immediate RSVP restrictions as these create totally unnecessary problems for the group that's expecting you to show up.

9. About the trip "Leaders". We are an informal group and our leaders are all volunteers. We are not compensated for our time and we do these activities because we like spending time in the great outdoors. We will take you to areas we have hiked before and might have knowledge about. If you decide to go off on your own , please do not try to take over our hikes and try to get members to follow you on some other trail. We are not babysitters, referees, or counselors, we are just here to lead a hike. Each member is responsible for their own safety and for providing their own supplies for themselves!

10. Posting a hike. We do not allow members to post hikes like other groups do because this usually cause alot of confusion; about time, dates, meetup locations, etc.. Any member can ask an organizer to host an activity that they might be interested in. We might do it of might not do it depending on our schedules. This is a place to meet fellow hikers/backpackers. If you've got the time off for spring break, are planning a trip and want some company, by all means contact one of us and we'll see what we can do.

11. Hiking with your dog. There's a lot of benefits to taking your dog with you on hiking/backpacking trips. Many of our members do it regularly and it makes their experience all that much more enjoyable. If you want to bring your dog along (providing our hiking destination allows dogs), that is fine. BUT, there are some limitations. Please review the following and ONLY bring your dog along on a group hike if these requirements are met:

a) Your dog is physically able to do the hike. A dog that "poops out" (so to speak) half way through the hike is going to create a situation for someone (probably you).

b) Your dog is well behaved towards other dogs and people. We don't want to be breaking up dog fights or applying first aid to bite wounds. It's also unpleasant to have a dog growling or barking at you constantly.

c) Your dog is well behaved on the trail. Not only is it illegal (in the National Forests & Parks), but it's also just not right to allow your dog to chase wildlife as he sees fit. If we're all standing there admiring the lone elk and all of a sudden Fido comes charging by in hot pursuit, some ill feelings are going to ensue. An option is to keep your dog on a leash, but hiking with a loaded pack over a number of miles while holding onto a leash can be uncomfortable for many (especially with the larger dogs). We also don't want to spend the trip searching for Fido after he's run off somewhere. So make sure your dog responds well to commands, sticks around with the group and isn't going to chase other animals.

d) I know it's hard to believe, but some people aren't real fond of our four legged friends. We don't want to exclude anyone because they're uncomfortable around dogs, yet we don't want to exclude people from bringing their dogs either. Hopefully this will never even become an issue. I think if your dog meets the above mentioned requirements we shouldn't have any problems.

On a final note, if you've never brought your dog on a backpacking trip before, you might want to go out at least once before bringing him on one of our group trips. This way you'll have a better idea of how he's going to behave, etc. For suggestions on stuff you'll need to bring for your dog on a backpacking trip, see our Backpacking Checklist for Your Dog

12. Risks & Disclaimers. There is a risk involved with hiking/backpacking. All members must be aware of these risks and ascertain they are physically able to participate in one of our backpacking trips. We do not require any medical records, physicals, etc. for our participants, so it is the individual members sole responsibility to make sure he/she is physically fit enough to participate. All members agree to release the Organizer and any Assistant Organizers from any liability related to incidents that occur during El Paso Hiking Group Meetup activities (trips and any other functions). By attending a hiking/backpacking trip (or any other group function) you assume responsibility for yourself (this includes members and guests). All members must sign our Waiver and Release Form.doc before participating in any of our trips or other functions.

13. Conclusion. If you have participated in one of our hiking/backpacking trips, please respond by rating your experience. This helps others make a decision on participating in the next trip. If you have any questions, comments, etc. please feel free to contact the group organizer. If you have photos from a trip that might be of interest to other members (including trips taken outside the group), feel free to post them. We encourage members who have been on one of our trips to post their photos. And of course any information, comments and advise on equipment, trails, or anything related to backpacking can be posted on our site.

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About El Paso Hiking Group February 23, 2014 1:20 PM anonymous

El Paso, TX

Founded Feb 13, 2011

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Michael, Adrianna Weickhardt, Carol Brown, Diana Moy, Jim Tolbert, John, judy Ackerman, Karl Putnam, Patty M, Rosario Rivera, Sal

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