“A climb up one of Lost Dog's more challenging miles leads to an expansive view of the foothills.”
— Brendan Ross
Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Trails around the Franklin Mountains are often rocky and technical, so runners 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 right of way over cyclists, it's often the safer option to step or run 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.
After the slow climb up Lechugilla Trail
for a mile and a half, the trails start to expand into more varied and technical terrain. From the signpost intersection with Dead Valentine's Trail
, Brujos narrows to singletrack and meanders north. Use caution, as the trail becomes rockier.
After a quarter mile and the right turnoff to Grim Road
Trail, Brujos curves west around the base of a large hill. Step carefully through the dry creek bed crossing, which is filled with larger rocks, and follow the trail as it climbs more steeply north up the hill. A spur to the right follows the edge of the hill to a nice viewpoint and later connects to El Refri
and 10 Minutes of Hell
. Continuing on Brujos leads to more climbing and its own sweeping view of the hills and suburbs to the west, with New Mexico in the distance.
Shortly after the trail begins its descent, it splits briefly, with the challenging segment to the left requiring a short scramble up steep rock steps to rejoin the main trail. The path hugs the side of the hill for another third of a mile before joining El Refri
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.