This rarely-used trail offers alternate access to Northern Pass Drive.”
— Brendan Ross
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.
As Cimarron residential development continues, the western portion of this trail will likely be pushed further into park lands.
The starting point of Creosote can be difficult to locate, due to bulldozing and housing development near the Lost Dog trails. As of the time of this description in mid-2015, from Northern Pass
Drive, climb the short dirt berm just west of the neighborhood on the northern side of the street. The trail will be indistinct, so GPS can be helpful in locating where the path begins to become more clearly defined. This initial portion, stretching a little over a half mile, is flat and relatively easy.
Once Creosote crosses Lost Dog Trail
, it will climb a hill and parallel Lechugilla Trail
, sometimes visible to the south for the remainder. Some sections have been eroded by storms, so use caution. As this is a rarely-used trail segment, it is less of a maintenance priority and requires more eyes-down time to avoid the numerous rocks and plants which have grown up on the path.
Creosote ends at the Lost Dog Water Tank Access Road
. Connections here to Lechugilla Trail
continue the gradual ascent towards the Franklin Mountains.
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.