“The initial portion of the Lost Dog system, continuing to the northern trails.”
— Brendan Ross
Trails around the Franklin Mountains are often rocky and technical, so users unfamiliar with rough terrain should use caution. Trail shoes with rock plates are strongly recommended.
El Paso is in the desert, so be wise about the climate. Summers are regularly in the 90's or above, winters will drop to the 30's and 40's. Lightning storms are frequent in the late afternoons during the warmer months. Winds are frequent and gusts over 50 mph are not unusual. Dust storms, strongest in the late spring, can be hazardous and reduce visibility to less than a quarter mile. Check the weather before you go, and let someone know where you will be.
Mountain biking is popular in the Lost Dog area, and while runners have the right of way over cyclists, it's often the safer option to step to the side to allow them to pass. Sometimes you'll get thanked, but usually not - but better to be a good user of the trail than to end up in a cactus, tangled in some guy's derailleur.
The actual Lost Dog Trail is a small part of the much larger network in the area. It is accessed by a parking area and trailhead just off of Redd Road, built in 2012 by volunteers from the Borderland Mountain Bike Association and donations from Jobe Materials. Be sure to thank any volunteers you see in the area, as they receive no government assistance in maintaining this popular and well-kept trail access point.
From the trailhead parking lot, continue on the paved road towards the water tanks until reaching the yellow access gate the bottom of the small hill. Follow the path upwards and around the tanks.
Shortly after the tanks, the main trail continues eastward as Lechugilla Trail
, while Lost Dog branches to the north. The trail descends into an arroyo, passing intersections with Creosote
, which are sometimes marked with cairns. About a half mile later, the trail ends at the junction with Worm
and Worm Shortcut
at the bottom of a small incline.
Flora & Fauna
The Franklins are filled with desert wildlife and you'll have the chance to see all sorts of plants and animals on trail. Vegetation is best during the rainy months around summer, when the desert blooms and the plants turn green. Jackrabbits, lizards and roadrunners are common, occasionally snakes will be on or near the trail. Watch for rattlers and give them a wild berth. If you get caught out past sundown, you may hear a few coyotes. Their howls are unnerving, but they generally leave people alone.