The main route passing through the Franklins, Mundy's Gap crosses through a dip in the mountains. It connects the tin mines and desert flora of the east with the rugged and scenic trails of the west.
Starting from the east side, the trail begins at the end points of Scenic Road
and Old Tin Mine Road
. Its personality starts off similar to the latter trail; wide, gritty, but not as rocky as some of its counterparts. Just after beginning, the southern section of the tin mines are visible from the trail. The ruined foundation of a few buildings are to the left, and large grates block mine shafts to the right. A short path leads to an entrance to explore the shafts though it's less accessible than the northern entrance and requires wedging through some debris at the doorway.
Most of the first mile is uneventful, making an easy southbound climb as it follows, and occasionally crosses an arroyo. As the trail turns southwest along the side of the mountain, it narrows and begins the ascent in earnest. Steeper portions tend to have more rocks to contend with. At the mile and a half point, the path takes four switchbacks cut out from the mountain side, visible from far below. Take a moment to enjoy the view on the way up, as much of the east side and the trails leading to Mundy's Gap can be seen from here.
The turnoff to North Franklin Peak
is after the last hairpin turn. A sign marks the intersection to the out-and-back climb to the highest point in the mountains. Mundy's Gap continues a quarter mile further to the top of its namesake, where a few benches provide an opportunity to rest and enjoy the view.
The descent down the west side is shorter but a little more intense. The singletrack, damaged by thunderstorms, varies in quality but is all easily manageable thanks to frequent maintenance by park staff. Rocks, ranging in size from golf ball to volleyball add technicality and keep the route challenging whether on the way up or down. A short segment leads to a bench on top of an outcropping just before the trail's most intense grade. Use caution in the middle of that section, near the two and three quarter mile marker - a damaged bridge alters the trail, which pushes in closer to the mountainside to go around the eroded area.
The trail flattens out at its westernmost point and is an easy half mile to the endpoint. Either West Cottonwood Spring
or Agave Loop
can be taken down from here, with the latter being the nicer, albeit longer, option.