“A long, steady climb paralleling Transmountain Drive marks the northern border of the Lost Dog area.”
— Brendan Ross
Features: Wildflowers — Wildlife
The 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 the 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.
El Refri, named after a refrigerator that someone put a great amount of effort into disposing of long ago, stretches west to east across the Lost Dog area a short distance from Transmountain Drive.
From the intersection of Worm
and El Paso del Norte
, El Refri proceeds to the west, flattening and widening as it goes. As the trail makes a turn to the northeast and begins its climb towards the mountains, a short spur breaks off towards a neighborhood a few hundred feet away. There are a few places to park a car at the dead end street where it connects. From here, the trail is a steady climb, similar to Lechugilla Trail
. Roughly a mile into this portion, El Refri's namesake can be found lying on its side on the south side of the trail. Shortly thereafter, Worm
turns off to the right, with a connection to Brujos
about a quarter mile further ahead. Following Brujos
, the trail climbs more steeply for about a third of a mile before ending at Brujos Viewpoint
and turning into Ten Minutes of Hell.
Flora & Fauna
The Franklins are filled with desert wildlife and you'll have the chance to see all sorts of plants and animals on a run. 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.