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.
One of the most diverse trails in the Lost Dog system, Mayberry goes from a flat trail through desert plant life to a steep climb between tall hills to following an ocotillo lined arroyo. It connects to nearly every hill and scenic side trail in the area and can be considered Lost Dog's main road.
Beginning from the north connection on Dead Valentine's Trail
, Mayberry heads south through a mostly flat area filled with desert flora. After dropping into an arroyo and climbing back out, it passes a turnoff to the lush Desert Forest
trail, which is marked by a cairn. A north fork to Broke Back Shortcut
is a short distance after. This exit is easy to miss, so a GPS track may help.
From here the trail begins to descend into another arroyo and becomes more challenging, with larger rocks and loose footing a factor at some points for the next half mile. At the bottom, the trail then immediately begins a climb between La Espina
and Broke Back
hills, switching back a few times during one particularly steep segment. The top, which is also the trail's high point, is an intersection with Baby Head
and La Espina Ledge
, with access to Broke Back
a short distance to the northeast.
From here, Mayberry widens into doubletrack. The trail becomes an easy descent into a wide arroyo and more plant life. Access points to Granola Bowl
and then Tin Mine Hill
are the final connections before the trail ends at Bear Ridge Drive.
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.