“The main access to trails branching off from the Lost Dog Trailhead, popular and sometimes crowded.”
— Brendan Ross
Wildflowers · Wildlife
Picking up after the Lost Dog Trail
passes the water tank, Lechugilla is the central trail into the western Franklin Mountains from the trailhead. The grade is a steady incline as it climbs towards Transmountain Road, but is rarely difficult. The trail remains roughly four to eight feet wide throughout its length, making passing easy (and it's not hard to catch bikes going uphill), but is rocky in some short segments. Despite that, Lechugilla is one of the "cleanest" trails in the area and is one of the few suited for speed workouts, provided that hikers keep their eyes on the terrain.
Because it is central and less technical than other trails in the area, Lechugilla is the most heavily trafficked part of the system. Expect mountain bikers, runners, hikers, and dogs (often off-leash).
Roughly 0.6 miles into Lechugilla, the trail passes a second water tank and the access road. Another trail to the north parallels the route just taken if one wants to return to the trailhead; otherwise, the next intersection is another .6 miles ahead and is marked by a signpost indicating the state park boundary. A short connection to Grim Road
Trail is about a mile further ahead, and the path dead ends about a quarter mile after that into a north-south trail near Transmountain Road.
Flora & Fauna
The Franklins are filled with desert wildlife and you'll have the chance to see all sorts of plants and animals on a hike. Vegetation is best during the rainy months around summer when the desert blooms and the plants turn green. Jackrabbits, lizards and roadrunners are common, occasionally snakes will be on or near the trail. Watch for rattlers and give them a wild berth. If you get caught out past sundown, you may hear a few coyotes. Their howls are unnerving, but they generally leave people alone.