Mission Trail information
Ready for some local history? This 9-mile trail links two mission churches and a presidio chapel, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Privately owned by the Catholic Diocese, they're not always as visitor-friendly as you might like, but you can arrange a tour or get more information from the El Paso Mission Trail Association .
The best known of the three is Mission Ysleta , Texas' oldest continually active parish. Although the original structure from 1682 is long gone, the current church built from adobe bricks, clay and straw dates back to 1851, and a beautiful, silver-domed bell tower was added in the 1880s.
Two miles from Ysleta is Socorro Mission . Originally built in 1681 by the Piro Indians, who later assimilated into the Tiguas, the church was repeatedly rebuilt after Rio Grande flooding. Although the outside is fairly plain, the inside has some impressive decorative touches, including beautifully hand-painted roof beams rescued from the 18th-century mission.
Though not open to the public, the last stop is the presidio chapel of San Elizario , located on a military fort established for the Spanish government in 1684. Today, peaceful San Elizario is notable for its 1882 church and the adjacent town plaza where de Oñate issued his 1598 proclamation claiming the region for Spain.