“A short, fun loop on the side of La Espina Hill climbs flat rock to a sweeping westside view.”
— Brendan Ross
Views · Wildflowers
Like North Clyde's Trail
to the south, the nearest parking access to Granola Bowl and Del Sol Ridge
requires crossing through cleared land that will eventually be developed into housing. Access to the trail may change from the description here, but thankfully, the terrain and park boundary limits further expansion into the trail system.
Please respect property owners when parking. Be a good trail user.
Trails around the Franklin Mountains are often rocky and technical, so users 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 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.
Granola Bowl is scenic loop along the west face of La Espina
Hill, traversing slab rock and singletrack at it climbs to the hill's summit and circles back down to the base. The hill is more challenging when taking on the ascent in a clockwise direction, which is described here.
From the western trail access point, which can be seen in the far northeast corner of the cleared area, the Granola Bowl beats a path directly up the hill. The ascent here, on uncharacteristically smooth rock scattered with desert flora, is steep. The left turnoff to La Espina
is two-tenths of a mile up and easy to miss. If the trail flattens out briefly, you went too far.
From here the trail dips briefly before finishing the climb to La Espina
Hill's summit and the connection with La Espina Ledge
and a shortcut down to Mayberry
. Sweeping views to both the west and east can be had here. Granola Bowl then turns southwest along the hillside and begins a descent more gradual than the climb up. From here on out, the trail is often rocky, so step carefully. The trail circles west at the bottom and parallels the cleared area back to the start.
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 wide berth. If you get caught out past sundown, you may hear a few coyotes. Their howls are unnerving, but they generally leave people alone.