“This arterial trail connects to the best of Lost Dog's hillside and ridgeline runs.”
— Brendan Ross
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.
Stretching from Lost Dog's center along arroyos and flatland, Baby Head is a steady climb to the northeast corner of the trail system, with numerous turnoffs to some of the best the foothills have to offer.
From the west, Baby Head departs the Espina and Broke Back
hills along an arroyo. The climb is gradual and easy for the first half mile. As the trail leaves the arroyo and turns northeast bound, it passes the exit for Little Moab
. From this point on, Baby Head transits open spaces, passing through ocotillos and cacti. A faintly marked connection to Broke Back
splits off to the west. Refer to the map for helping finding this route, as it is not depicted on satellite views.
The trail continues to meander up the foothills for a half mile before intersecting with Lechugilla Trail
and finally Grim Road
, its northern end point.
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.