“Climb one of the westside's most scenic hills before plunging into the heart of the Lost Dog trails.”
— Brendan Ross
Features: Views — 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.
Circled by trails, Little Moab hill is one of the Lost Dog area's most scenic and fun, with sweeping views on all sides, interesting climbs and descents, and numerous examples of desert plants and wildlife. The hill's namesake trail turns off of Clyde's Trail from the south, wasting no time in ascending to the top and following the ridgeline towards the center of the park.
At the top, a turnoff to the left bisects the hill and connects to Little Moab West
. Continuing for another third of a mile, the trail makes a sharp right turn into a switchback; proceeding forward along the ridgeline will put you onto Little Moab West
at its northern endpoint. Follow the switchback onto a narrow singletrack that hugs the hillside, wrapping around to the northwest and descending into an arroyo. The trail dead ends into Baby Head
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.