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.
This short loop connects Mayberry
and Little Moab West
and makes a good introduction to the trails along the west Franklin Mountains. A little bit of everything in the area can be experienced in under a mile. Tin Mine Hill is unrelated to the longer Tin Mine Trail on the east slope of the Franklins, which connects to an actual mine which can be explored.
From the west side, Tin Mine Hill splits off from Mayberry
and crosses a rocky arroyo. The trail forks afterwards, with the northern path making up the more difficult segment. The path winds a short but steep climb to the top of Tin Mine up both dirt and flat rock portions, weaving through a number of cacti, lechugilla and creosote plants. A view of the southern trails is visible at the top before dropping back down on the east side of the hill and Tin Mine Hill Connector
. The dead end street at the Desert Night, just to the south, is a good place to park to access trails in this area.
The trail turns west and follows the base of Tin Mine Hill. It is much wider and flatter here. The trail connects back at the western side of the hill.
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.