Chamizal National Memorial
Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the 1963 Chamizal treaty that ended a century-old boundary dispute between the United States and Mexico caused by a change in the course of the Rio Grande.
About Chamizal National Memorial
The park is located in El Paso, Texas with a view of the Mexico International Border Crossing. The park includes a visitor center, museum, art gallery, events, trails, and a picnic area.
During our visit, the visitor center was unfortunately closed so we did not get the opportunity to view the exhibits.
The park grounds are absolutely gorgeous and provide the perfect place to enjoy a picnic.
One of the highlights of our visit was seeing burrowing owls while visiting the park.
Is Chamizal National Memorial worth visiting?
Yes! Not only does the park share information about the border between the United States and Mexico there was epic bird watching while we were there.
We saw burrowing owls in the wild for the first time while visiting the park and it was absolutely amazing!
History of Chamizal National Memorial
The Chamizal National Memorial protects and interprets the history of Chamizal, which was the site of a century-long border dispute between the United States and Mexico. At the end of the two-year war between Mexico and America, a border was decided upon by the two nations.
The border between Mexico and the United States was a natural one that followed the Rio Grande River. The period between 1852 and 1873 saw the Rio Grande continuously fluctuate, shifting south.
The shift in the Rio Grande exposed a section of land known to the Mexico as El Chamizal. A dispute about who the newly exposed land belonged to broke out. The dispute almost resulted in the assassination of the Mexican and American presidents in 1909. The conflict lasted for over a century, finally ending in 1964.
The Mexican-American War
War erupted between Mexico and the United States of America in 1846 following a border dispute in the newly annexed Texas Territory. For two years a bloody war was fought between the two nations, killing or wounding over 44,000 people.
The conflict ended with the U.S Military occupation of Mexico City. Peace was negotiated, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. When the war concluded, Mexico lost roughly 55% of its territory to the United States.
The international boundary between the two countries was to be a line in the deepest area of the Rio Grande River. The river formed a natural border between the two territories for over 2,000 miles. This decision would lead to further conflict and strain between the governments of Mexico and America.
The Chamizal Dispute
The nature of a river is to shift and evolve. The fluctuations are caused by natural erosion and flooding. In 1873 the Rio Grande had moved by approximately 600 acres. The newly exposed land was named El Chamizal, after the saltbush scrub that covered the ground.
Both sides believed El Chamizal belonged to them, and in 1864 Texans who resided in El Paso began moving onto the territory. In 1895 a Mexican landowner called Pedro Ignacio García filed a claim against the unlawful settlement of Mexican territory.
To alleviate the impact of flooding on the Rio Grande a channel was dug by American and Mexican engineers. The channel was dug across the bottom of the horseshoe bend of the river, creating an exposed area of land that belonged to Mexico, but was within the United States. This man-made island became known as Cordova Island.
Cordova Island became a haven for criminal activity, especially during American prohibition. Americans who wanted to drink alcohol, and smuggle alcohol across the border made their way to Cordova island.
Disputed Territory in the 20th Century
The Chamizal dispute carried on into the 20th century. In 1909 the President of America, William Howard Taft, and his Mexican counterpart, Porfirio Díaz arranged a meeting to be held in Mexico. Tensions over the disputed territory threatened the security of both the American and Mexican presidents who were almost assassinated in the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
In 1911, the matter of El Chamizal was brought before the International Boundary and Water Commission.
The IBC was formed in 1889 to determine the water boundary between Mexico and America. The IBC ruled that the land that lay south of the river before the flood, which drastically altered the course of the Rio Grande, was Mexican territory.
The American government refused to accept the ruling, continuing the border dispute between the two nations for another 50 years. During that time, each president of the United States attempted to put an end to the dispute.
In June 1962, President John F. Kennedy met with Mexican President, Adolfo López Mateos to finally put an end to the century-long border dispute between the two nations.
Kennedy agreed to honor the 1911 IBC ruling. Kennedy hoped that resolving the El Chamizal border dispute would help to strengthen economic relations between Latin America and the United States of America.
In 1963 the American–Mexican Chamizal Convention Act of 1964 was passed by the Congress of the United States of America.
The border dispute officially ended in 1864, when President Adolfo López Mateos and American President Lyndon B. Johnson met at the border.
Mexico was given 366 acres of the area, including 71 acres of Cordova Island. The United States received payment from a private Mexican bank for over 300 American structures that were situated on the land that officially became Mexican territory. America was given 193 acres of land on Cordova Island.
Things to know before your visit to
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Chamizal National Memorial is a free-entry park that grants visitors unhindered access to its facilities and park-sponsored activities. However, performance groups using the theater may levy admission fees, with the proceeds going towards supporting their programs.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Mountain time zone
The park extends a warm welcome to all furry companions, but it's important to note that they must be kept on a leash at all times, with a maximum length of 6 feet, and under control. Remember to keep the leash in hand, and not tied to any trees, fences or other objects.
Please refrain from leaving your pets unattended outside or in a vehicle, as it poses a danger to their safety. To keep the park clean and hygienic, kindly pick up and dispose of your pet's waste. Conveniently placed pet waste stations are available throughout the park to aid in this task.
While your pets are welcome to explore the park with you, do note that they are not allowed inside the visitor center, and during special events, they are not permitted in the "bowl" area surrounding the amphitheater. So be sure to plan your visit accordingly, and enjoy your time at the park with your beloved pets.
Nestled in the heart of El Paso, Chamizal National Memorial is an urban park brimming with stunning sights and sounds.
It's important to note that the park is situated on the U.S.-Mexico border, and due to its proximity, mobile phones may inadvertently pick up signals from cellular towers in Ciudad Juarez. To avoid any unexpected charges, do check your roaming settings and plan options before visiting the park.
While signal strength may vary in buildings and around the park grounds, you can rest assured that cellular service is generally available throughout. So don't hesitate to snap some pictures, make calls, or post on social media as you enjoy the park's beauty and atmosphere.
The gates to the Memorial are open daily except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Summer hours (April 1-October 31) are from 7 am to 9 pm. Winter hours (November 1-March 31) are from 7 am to 7 pm. Entrance to the park, including pedestrian traffic, outside of those hours is not permitted.
Public Wi-Fi is available
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
For the convenience of visitors, designated parking is available in the lot located near the visitor center and museum.
Adjacent to the Chamizal National Memorial, the parking lot provides seamless access for visitors to delve into the park's mesmerizing trails and exhibits.
Visitors with disabilities need not worry about parking, as spaces have been reserved near the entrance of the visitor center to ensure their ease of access.
There are no restaurants within the park. There are tons of El Paso Restaurants nearby.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
We use the Explorer Edition Passport Book that can be expanded and updated. This is a great way to track all of the parks you have visited over time.
Chamizal NM is part of the 2021 Passport Stamp Set.
Electric Vehicle Charging
Park visitors can take advantage of the charging stations available for electric vehicles, including both standard and Tesla-specific charging stations. Located in the parking lot, these charging stations are accessible round-the-clock to ensure that visitors can power up their vehicles as needed.
It's worth noting that there may be a fee for using the charging stations, so it's best to check with park staff for specific pricing information. With these charging stations available, visitors can explore the park and its surroundings without worrying about running low on power.
Details about Chamizal National Memorial
Size - 55 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
June 30, 1966
In 2022, Chamizal NMEM had 17,673 park visitors.
In 2021, Chamizal NMEM had 19,600 park visitors.
In 2020, Chamizal NMEM had 19,180 park visitors.
In 2019, Chamizal NMEM had 38,228 park visitors.
National Park Address
800 South San Marcial Street
El Paso, TX 79905
National Park Map
Where is Chamizal National Memorial?
Chamizal National Memorial is located in El Paso, Texas, United States. It is a park and cultural center that honors the peaceful settlement of the Chamizal boundary dispute between the United States and Mexico.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
El Paso, Texas - 2.3 miles
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico - 9 miles
Las Cruces, New Mexico - 49 miles
Alamogordo, New Mexico - 88 miles
Ciudad Chihuahua, Mexico - 11miles
Roswell, New Mexico - 204 miles
Tucson, Arizona - 344 miles
Albuquerque, New Mexico - 296 miles
Phoenix, Arizona - 405 miles
San Antonio, Texas - 550 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
White Sands National Park - 99 miles
Guadalupe Mountains National Park - 113 miles
Carlsbad Caverns National Park- 148 miles
Big Bend National Park - 329 miles
Saguaro National Park - 334 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The Chamizal National Memorial is located in El Paso, Texas, and the National Park Visitor Center is situated on the US side of the US-Mexico border.
It is located at 800 S. San Marcial Street and is easily accessible by car.
The Visitor Center offers a comprehensive overview of the Chamizal Memorial, including exhibits on the history of the park, its cultural significance, and information on the various outdoor recreation opportunities available within its boundaries.
Visitors can also watch a short film about the history of the area, and can participate in ranger-led programs and guided tours. The National Park Visitor Center at the Chamizal Memorial is an essential stop for anyone visiting the park for the first time and looking to get the most out of their experience.
Getting to Chamizal
El Paso International Airport (ELP)- 5 miles
Abraham Gonzalez International Airport (CJS)- 21.4 miles
Las Cruces International Airport (LRU)- 54 miles
Grant County Airport (SVC)- 139 miles
Cavern City Air Terminal (CNM)- 162 miles
Chamizal National Memorial is located along Paisano Drive near major east-west roadways I-10 and Loop 375 (Border Highway) as well as north-south US-54.
The park is situated on the US-Mexico border, and some of the routes that lead to the park may also lead into Mexico. Please use navigational aids and read road signs carefully.
Best time to visit
The Chamizal National Memorial is located in El Paso, Texas, and is a great place to visit year-round.
However, the best time to visit depends on your preferences and activities you want to do. The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, bird watching, and attending cultural events.
For those who enjoy cooler temperatures and avoid the hot sun, the best time to visit is during the fall and winter months between October and February.
If you prefer warm weather and want to enjoy outdoor activities, then the best time to visit is during the spring and summer months between March and September.
No matter what season you choose, the park offers a unique and educational experience that should not be missed.
Weather and Seasons
The warmest months of the year in this area are typically June through September. During this time, temperatures can soar into the high 90s and even reach over 100 degrees.
Visitors to the memorial during these months should take extra precautions to stay cool and hydrated while exploring the park. It is recommended to wear lightweight and breathable clothing, use sunscreen, and bring plenty of water to drink.
The Chamizal National Memorial experiences climate patterns typical of the Southwestern United States.
The coldest months of the year typically fall between December and February, with temperatures ranging between 40 degrees and 60 degrees. In rare cases, temperatures can drop to below freezing, which may occur overnight or during abrupt weather changes.
Visitors to the National Memorial during these cold months should prepare accordingly, bringing warm clothing such as coats, hats, gloves, and comfortable footwear.
Snowiest weather months are from December through February. During these winter months, temperatures can drop to below freezing, and significant snowfall can occur.
The average snowfall for the area is around 4 inches per year, which is relatively low compared to other parts of the country, but it can still create hazardous driving conditions and impact outdoor activities in the park.
Visitors to the park during the winter months should be prepared for cold weather conditions and check weather forecasts before embarking on any outdoor activities
Best Things to do in Chamizal National Memorial
We suggest planning a couple of hours to visit the park. You can wander the grounds, watch the park movie, and so much more.
Chamizal National Memorial Cultural Center
The cultural center includes a self-guided tour of exhibits explaining the history of the border dispute between Mexico and the United States.
A short orientation video is also available in the mini-theater
Junior Ranger Books are available in English or Spanish in the visitor center. The park has both a Junior Ranger booklet and a badge that can be earned by completing activities within the booklet.
Each month the park hosts a Junior Ranger club aimed at kids ages 5 to 11. the Junior Ranger Club meets at the Cultural Center on the third Saturday of each month from 11 am to noon.
Franklin G. Smith Gallery
The Franklin G. Smith Gallery is located in the west wing of the Chamizal National Memorial administrative building.
The gallery exhibits artists whose work not only reflects the history and landscape of our border region but also ties directly to the park's mission of commemorating the peaceful settlement of a long-standing border dispute between the U.S. and Mexico.
The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and during the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekends by requesting access with a park ranger at the Cultural Center information desk.
Keep a close eye out while wandering through the park. You may be able to see burrowing owls and other amazing birds.
Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage) mural
You can't miss the Nuestra Herencia (Our Heritage) mural painted by mural artist Carlos Flores.
The mural was updated in 2014 to reflect additional historic events that have taken place here since the original mural was painted in 1992.
The 18 by 120 foot (5.5m x 36.6m) mural was a gift to Chamizal National Memorial from the Junior League of El Paso as part of the Los Murales project.
The mural was also updated to include President Barack Obama after he visited the park.
The park hosts a variety of cultural events and performances on the stage located within the park.
Check the park's calendar for upcoming events.
The park has multiple annual events that they host each year.
There are nine covered picnic tables that are available first-come-first-served. The one thing to remember is there are no glass containers allowed in the park.
No alcohol is allowed in the park during June, July, and August.
Hiking in Chamizal
There are multiple trails throughout the park's 55 acres. The trails are hard-packed gravel and wide. They are perfect for taking a nice stroll.
Refer to the trail map for suggested routes, distances, and places to rest.
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
How to beat the crowds?
Chamizal National Memorial can get crowded during peak travel seasons, but there are ways to beat the crowds and enjoy the experience.
The first tip is to arrive early. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, so arrive at the opening time to have more time to explore the area before the crowds arrive.
Another way to avoid crowds is to visit during weekdays instead of weekends. Weekdays tend to be less crowded.
Lastly, avoid visiting during peak tourist season in the summer months, and opt to visit during the spring or fall shoulder seasons when there are fewer tourists.
Where to stay
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Nearby Lodging includes:
Aloft El Paso Downtown- Aloft El Paso Downtown is a contemporary hotel located in the heart of downtown El Paso, Texas. The hotel offers stylish and comfortable accommodations with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and mini fridges. Guests can enjoy the hotel's fitness center, outdoor pool, and lounge area. Aloft El Paso Downtown is conveniently located near many popular attractions, including the El Paso Museum of Art, Southwest University Park, and the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center. The hotel is also within walking distance of many bars, restaurants, and shops. With its trendy design and prime location, Aloft El Paso Downtown is a great choice for travelers looking to experience the culture of El Paso in a stylish and comfortable environment.
Americas Hotel El Paso Medical Center - Americas Hotel El Paso Medical Center is a hotel located near the Medical Center of El Paso, Texas. The hotel is a convenient option for those visiting the medical center or for those looking for a comfortable place to stay in the area. The hotel offers a range of amenities designed to make guests feel at home, including comfortable guest rooms, complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a fitness center, business center, and meeting space, making it a great choice for both leisure and business travelers. Whether you're in town for medical reasons or just visiting the area, Americas Hotel El Paso Medical Center is a great option for your stay.
Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown, an IHG Hotel - Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown is a modern and stylish boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown El Paso, Texas. The hotel features 119 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites that offer premium amenities such as plush bedding, spa-inspired bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a rooftop pool and bar, which offers panoramic views of the city skyline. Business travelers will appreciate the hotel's 24-hour business center and state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant, called Circa 1963, which features a menu inspired by the local Southwestern cuisine. Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown is within walking distance to popular attractions, such as the El Paso Museum of Art and the Plaza Theatre, making it an ideal choice for both leisure and business travelers.
DoubleTree by Hilton El Paso Downtown - DoubleTree by Hilton El Paso Downtown is a modern, upscale hotel located in the heart of downtown El Paso, Texas. The hotel offers 200 guest rooms and suites, each equipped with upscale amenities such as flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet, and signature DoubleTree Sweet Dreams beds. The hotel also boasts a modern fitness center, a rooftop pool, and several on-site dining options. With its central location, guests are within walking distance of some of the city's most popular attractions, including the El Paso Museum of Art and the iconic Plaza Theatre. The hotel also provides easy access to nearby shopping and entertainment venues, as well as the El Paso International Airport which is just 10 minutes away. Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, DoubleTree by Hilton El Paso Downtown offers the perfect blend of comfort and convenience.
Hilton Garden Inn El Paso / University- The Hilton Garden Inn El Paso/University is conveniently located near the University of Texas at El Paso and offers easy access to Fort Bliss, downtown city of El Paso, and many exciting attractions. With its comfortable rooms and modern amenities, this hotel is perfect for both business and leisure travel. The hotel features a fitness center, outdoor pool, and on-site dining options, including a lounge and The Garden Grille restaurant. The hotel also has over 3,000 square feet of event space, making it a great location for meetings or celebrations. With its friendly staff and convenient location, the Hilton Garden Inn El Paso/University is a great choice for anyone looking for a comfortable and enjoyable stay in El Paso.
Click on the map below to see current vacation rentals and lodges near the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Parks Near Chamizal National Memorial
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