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.
Spanning almost the entire width of Franklin Mountains State Park's east side, Trenchtown Road connects the flatlands to the foothills trails. Although signs indicate its status as a recognized state park trail, Trenchtown is unmaintained and in mediocre condition. Cardiac Hill
and The Maze trails to the south are better options heading the same direction.
The route is a moderately rocky doubletrack, another of the former jeep roads found in the area. Despite the golf ball to softball-sized rocks, finding a line isn't too difficult. A few sections of erosion damage and sand add to the challenge. The trail starts at the southeast corner of Levee Loop
, heading off to the west from the end of Fence Line
. After a few hundred feet, the path crosses Lazy Cow
and is marked by a large sign, marking the official beginning. For nearly a mile, the trail is an unchanging, straight line towards the west. A cattle gate can be found partway through; it is unlocked, but a short diversion around the right is faster than opening and closing it.
Eventually, Trenchtown forks at a large sandy arroyo. Two wooden posts mark a damaged sign indicating the beginning of Rockshock Road
to the right, while Trenchtown continues to the left. After a brief steeper segment up a slippery section, the trail smooths out a little, but still remains rockier than most other area routes. Red dirt, washed down from the rhyolite of the cliffs ahead, starts to appear underfoot. Stay left at another large washout crossing, and look for rare desert grass growing around the trail as it approaches the foothills.
splits off to the east as the trail nears a small hill. A tiny cave can be found on the shortcut to the right soon after. The main path turns south briefly, dead ending into Old Tin Mine Road
. No sign marks the trail on this end, but the wide path is easy to spot if beginning from the western side.