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 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.
For runners who'd like to avoid other users on Lechugilla Trail
, particularly when it is crowded with mountain bikers, Ocotillo is a quick detour to the north. After rounding the water tanks on Lost Dog Trail
, continue down the hill and past the intersection with Creosote
. Ocotillo will branch off about a tenth of a mile after. It looks similar to some of the rocky water runoffs in the area, so GPS may be helpful in locating the starting point.
Much of the first half of the trail is rocky and requires careful attention to foot placement. The trail will gradually climb to where it crosses Lost Dog Water Tank Access Road
near a water tank. Cross the road and circle the tank to where the trail continues on its east side. The path continues for about a quarter of a mile further before rejoining Lechugilla Trail
a short distance from the intersection of Brujos
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.