ElevationAscent: 665' 203 m
Descent: -358' -109 m
High: 4,929' 1,502 m
Low: 4,390' 1,338 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)
Popular runs nearby
8.1 mi 13.0 km • Loop • 1,012 ft Ascent 308.51 m Ascent
8.3 mi 13.4 km • Point to Point • 1,523 ft Ascent 464.15 m Ascent
Franklin Mountains Trail Run 50K
32.9 mi 52.9 km • Point to Point • 6,358 ft Ascent 1937.85 m Ascent
Tour de Lost Dog
14.1 mi 22.7 km • Loop • 1,900 ft Ascent 579.2 m Ascent
Ron Coleman Trail
3.4 mi 5.5 km • Point to Point • 1,715 ft Ascent 522.82 m Ascent
Mount Cristo Rey
4.6 mi 7.4 km • Out and Back • 630 ft Ascent 191.94 m Ascent
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“A winding singletrack connecting the western and eastern sections of Franklin Mountains State Park.”— Brendan Ross
The trails in the North Franklin Mountains are more remote and isolated than others in the area. Their solitude, combined with the desert sun and a complete lack of shade, make dehydration a potential danger. Make sure to bring plenty of water. A few water caches have been placed by park rangers, but they should never be relied upon.
El Paso is in the desert, so plan around 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 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.
The trail begins on the northern segment of the Bike Loops, where the latter transitions from creekbed to singletrack near a water cache. The initial three-quarters of a mile is on a former dirt road, steadily climbing the northern end of the mountains. A number of softball sized rocks add some technicality to the path.
Just before the road turns north and ends, Northern Pass splits off to the left as singletrack and begins a series of seventeen switchbacks up the mountain. Sierra Vista West turns off near another water cache on the way up. The climb isn't particularly hard, and it leads to a nice view of the western valley and New Mexico.
At the top, the trail generally heads east, winding along the southern side of Hitt Canyon. There are a number of short uphill and downhill segments. A connection to Sierra Vista Trail, just before the two and a half mile point, is easy to miss; use the GPS track and look for where the route turns from north to east above a dry creek bed. The trail continues much the same for its remainder, ending at Hitt Canyon Loop.
Animals are mostly limited to jackrabbits, lizards, and small birds. Roadrunners will dart across the trail at times, and hawks circle overhead, looking for prey. Coyotes are hard to spot and tend to only come out after dusk, although they typically leave runners alone.
Keep an eye out for snakes. They avoid the hot desert sun and are more common during the winter months. Most are harmless, but rattlers are a part of the local wildlife. Give them a wide berth, and if they're blocking the trail, tossing a few rocks in their direction tends to be enough incentive for them to leave.
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Land Manager: Texas Parks and Wildlife - Franklin Mountains State Park