Definitely a "to do" if you're passing through. 7.6 miles is a little off. I had my watch map it and it was 4.43 miles one way to the summit. Took us about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the summit. The loose rock makes it more challenging than it needs to be but your legs get a good smoking from the walking. Definitely worth taking it all the way to the peak. Bring plenty of water and small snacks. Great views.
In response to another review....yes there are a bunch of loose rocks...welcome to the desert! Yes I wish we had trails that were smooth with some Aspen trees but being in El Paso we adjust to what is available. This trail was not too bad. In fact it was my favorite trail to mountain bike so far in El Paso. Nice twists and turns. Only a few difficult areas where I had to walk my bike. But there were some nice, speedy areas.
Good endurance test! Great views the whole way up. Once at the summit, you'll see the true beauty of the Franklin Mountains and surrounding areas. It took me 2 hours to reach the summit. Thats with rests and picture stops. I recommend taking PLENTY of WATER, nutrition snacks, sunblock, comfortable clothes, appropriate footwear, sunglasses, a hat and more WATER!
To get to the trailhead of this nice place, take US-54 on direction to Alamogordo. Exit on Kenworthy St. Turn to your left to the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Then, turn to your left on the Jon Cunningham Blvd. Straight ahead you will find a big city park where you can leave your car. To access the Franklin Mountains State Park, just climb the big water contention ditch and go left. When you reach the park entrance you will be in the Old Tin Mine Trail Road. Be alert because not very far from there you will see the sign for The Maze Trail. You will follow The Maze Trail that runs kind of parallel with the Old Tin Mine Road. In about 2.3 miles, this trail merge with the Cardiac Hill Trail. Follow the Cardiac Hill Trail to the right. Ahead you will find a junction on the trail. Go to your left. Keep going until you reach a dirt road. That road is the Blue Moon Road and it marks the end of your walk. You will see a sign for the Cardiac Hill Trail there. Time to go back by using the same trail until you reach the place where The Maze and the Cardiac Hill Trail meet. This time follow the Cardiac Hill Trail by going straight ahead. At the end of the trail you will reach the entrance of the park where your journey started. This is a moderate walk that uses two different trails in the middle of the beautiful desert near El Paso Texas. We need to mention that these trails are not shown on the map, but they are there, and are visited by bikers and hikers.
To get to the beginning of this trail, once in the Franklin Mountains State Park, Tom Mays Unit, go to the end of the paved road. There is plenty of parking space there. You start your journey at the road behind the restroom building. You will go down and you will find the intersection to the Schaeffer Shuffle Trail. Continue on the main trail. Latter on, you will find another intersection that is the return from the Shuffle. Keep going until you find the third intersection to your right. Then, you are at the beginning of a big loop conformed by 5 smaller loops numbered 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 with their respective shortcuts. You have to consider that the portion you already walked is part of Loop 1. Once in Loop 2 just follow the trail. The trail is mostly visible. Most of the maps that we have seen do not show the right hand part of Loop 6, but the trail is there. In fact the whole right hand part of the trail runs parallel to the Lower Sunset Trail and eventually will connect you to the Northern Pass Trail . Please be aware that the last part of the Loop 6 uses the arroyo as a trail. This trail features very nice desert views, plants, some small rocky canyons and a few wild flowers. With the coming rainy season, this trail will be in bloom very soon. This is a long trail but one advantage available is that you can cut your walk, at your convenience, by using the shortcuts.
To get to this trail, take US-54 to Alamogordo. Exit on Kenworthy St. Turn left at the next light to take the Martin Luther King Blvd. Turn to your left again at the Jon Cunningham Blvd and go straight ahead until you reach the parking lot next to a city park. From there, you will see a big contention ditch that you have to climb, and if you go to your left, you will find the entrance of the Franklin Mountain State Park. You will follow the Old Tin Mine Road and in a half a mile you will find the beginning of the Lazy Cow Trail. This is an out and back easy trail in a flat desert terrain, full of creosota bushes, mezquites and lechuguillas.The trail will take you to some buildings inside the Bowen Ranch, where you kind find a good shade to rest. The round trip is around 7 miles and the elevation gain is not more than 150 Ft. You will share the trail with many bikers. Due to the previous mentioned characteristics, we wander why they named it The Lazy Cow Trail.
This is a trip to the top of the highest point in the whole range of the Franklin Mountains. The elevation gain is around 2,400 ft to an altitude of 7,192 ft. For all practical purposes you walk all the way up to the top. At the beginning you can select between two alternative ways that join together in about a mile. Later on you will reach the Mundys Gap and you will be able to see El Paso Texas east and west sides. You also can get to the Gap, and even the North Peak through the rim, by using an alternative trail that goes to the Cottonwood Spring. Once at the top enjoy what you see.