“Link to the Lost Dog area, Transmountain Summit and the southwest Franklins via this rugged trail.”
— Brendan Ross
Wildflowers · Wildlife
As residential development near the foothills continues, access to the starting points for North Clyde's Trail and South Clyde's Trail
may change. For now, the trails are reached by parking at the eastern end of either Desert Night or Desert Whisper and crossing the open field to the beginning of the trails.
The good news is that development has reached the boundary of the state park and can't proceed any further east. While parking locations may change on the map here, the trails will not.
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.
Linking a number of trails on Tin Mine and Little Moab
hills, the challenging Transmountain Summit
, and the southwest Franklin trail system via Mickey's Trail, North Clyde's Trail is the main entry into the southern Lost Dog area. Park at the end of Tranquil Desert Drive and cross the open field for a tenth of a mile to the trail's starting point. It will be marked with rock cairns and becomes more visible as one approaches, appearing as a noticeable break in the desert vegetation.
The first two-tenths of a mile of North Clyde's are like the other west-east trails in the area: wide, somewhat rocky, and a low grade, steady incline. Connections to Little Moab
Valley and Little Moab
branch off to the left near the state park boundary sign. The trail then crosses a dry creek bed and will be difficult to see for the next two hundred feet. The path will break off to the right and begin a steeper climb up the mountains towards a set of three utility poles.
From the creek bed onward, the trail will be much more technical. Storm damage has littered the path with large rocks and runoff creates occasional rivets in the trail. After a half mile, North Clyde's will reach the poles and turn south, merging into Thunderbird
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.