“Explore the west central Franklin foothills on this detour from Thunderbird.
— Brendan Ross
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.
Compared to the variety of trails in the Lost Dog and Crazy Cat
areas on the west Franklins, the central section of the foothills is relatively sparse. Down and Out offers a diversion from the Thunderbird
trail, splitting off to the west towards the suburbs for a mile.
From the north end, Down and Out departs the power lines and heads towards the visible water tank to the southwest. The path is a steady descent, less maintained than other area trails but in reasonable condition. Passing the water tank, the trail briefly joins a dirt access road before continuing a short distance further to the southwest.
The route then turns back to the east on a steady, challenging climb through typical desert plant life. The prematurely placed "No Trespassing" sign halfway up this trail refers to the water tank at the top and was intended to discourage vandals; the trail is in Franklin Mountains State Park land, not private property. Down and Out rejoins Thunderbird
at a water tank situated high upon the foothills.
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.