Views · Wildflowers
Hitt Itt provides a nice, singletrack alternative to the wide, straight southern section of Hitt Canyon Loop
. The western end of the trail is found just east of the intersection of the Loop and Newman Trail
, marked by a rock cairn. The initial quarter mile is the most technical section of the trail, a moderately rocky path twisting and winding around the low point of a canyon to the south.
Soon, the path straightens and smoothes out, following alongside a shallow arroyo. Around the half-mile point, the arroyo ends and the trail turns north to cross the Hitt Canyon Loop
; both sides are marked by rock cairns for hikers looking to change trails at this point. From here on out, the trail becomes very flat and smooth. The path is an eastbound, gentle descent for a mile and a half, transitioning from a mountain trail to a desert one. As the terrain changes, so does the plantlife, leave behind the towering sotols and ocotillos for shorter cacti and creosote bushes.
Near the two mile point, the trail crosses a small creek bed, picking up a few minor rocky sections along the way. It then crosses the Hitt Canyon Loop
a second time. This crossing is unmarked but is easily visible. The final portion of Hitt Itt parallels the Loop east and ends near a bathroom maintained by park staff off of Pipeline Road
, across from Down Under
. Both of these trail entrances are unmarked, so look between the bathroom and a wooden signboard for help in finding them.
Flora & Fauna
Desert plants tend to bloom in waves in 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.
Shared By: Brendan Ross