“A former dirt road leading to several east side trailheads.”
— 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.
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. Check the weather before you go, and let someone know where you will be.
A former dirt access road, Fence Line connects the east side's pay station to a number of area trails leading to the foothills. The path starts as a singletrack at the southern end of North Hills Dam Trail
at the signboard. After passing the turnoff for Cardiac Hill
, it quickly widens to a semi-sandy, semi-rocky doubletrack. The trail is flat throughout, making for an easy run.
The trail cuts to the left, with the main path continuing on to Old Tin Mine Road
just before the turnoffs to the Maze trails of South Ridge
and Fat Tire
. Fence Line's continuation to the northeast here is difficult to follow, as rain has eroded the path. Just continue northbound toward the barbed wire fence line; the dirt road tracks will be visible after a couple hundred feet.
As the trail turns back to the north in a straight line, it becomes a little bit more rocky in parts. Jump over a washout area after the connector to Old Tin Mine Road
and continue through a few smaller ones. At the intersection with Trenchtown Road
, the trail continues northbound as the western portion of Levee Loop
Flora & Fauna
Desert plants tend to bloom in waves in the spring and summer after the short periods of rain that El Paso experiences. Ocotillo
tend to turn green and blossom first, followed by barrel and claret cup cacti, and finally flowers and prickly pears. The northeast area of the Franklins features a greater number of lechugilla than other regions.
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, though they leave visitors 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.