“Climb the last few hundred feet towards Transmountain on this extension of the El Refri trail.”
— Brendan Ross
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.
Less exciting than its dramatic name, 10 Minutes of Hell continues onward from where El Refri
ends at Brujos Viewpoint
. After a tenth of a mile, the trail turns due east as the grade increases to a consistent 10%. Rocks here are larger and more frequent that most of the Lost Dog area, requiring focus and careful footwork.
After a half mile, the route turns at the barrier at Transmountain, following it southeast for a short distance before ending. From this point, runners can continue along the highway itself to connect with Grim Road
or the trails at Smuggler's Notch.
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.