Hiking

hoehn_la_luz_trail

(photo credit: Tom Hoehn)

The hiking opportunities on the Sandias are endless. Some 200 miles of trails cover all parts of the mountain, both inside and outside the Wilderness ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 feet elevation. Entry to the trails network can take place on any side of the mountain from the Albuquerque Foothills, to Placitas, to Tijeras Canyon, to the east side via the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway.

Included below are three different trail summaries for a quick overview of some options you may want to consider. For much more complete information, please look into the following sources:

Popular Short Hikes

(One-way distances are given.)

S. Crest Trail 130 from Sandia Crest to Upper Tram Terminal, 1.75 miles, 300-ft elevation change, views of Albuquerque and northern N. M.

S. Crest Trail 130 and Trail 94 from Sandia Crest to Kiwanis Cabin, 1 mile, 100-ft descent, beautiful stone house built by CCC in 1930s.

S. Crest Trail 130 and Trail 94 from Upper Tram Terminal to Kiwanis Cabin, 1.5 miles, 200-ft ascent, with views of Kiwanis Meadow and Rio Grande Valley.

N. Crest Trail 130 from Sandia Crest to Del Agua Overlook, 2 miles, 640-ft descent, views of the north Rio Grande valley and Jemez Mountains.

Tree Spring Trail 147 to Overlook, 2 miles, 1020-ft ascent, views of Albuquerque.

Bill Spring Trail 196 from Doc Long Picnic Area to Faulty Trail 195, 1 mile, 440-ft ascent, see Abert’s squirrels.**

Sulphur Canyon Trail 281 to Faulty Trail 195, 0.5 mile, 280-ft ascent, hike through mixed conifer forest.**

Cienega Canyon Trail 148 to Faulty Trail 195, 0.5 mile, 240-ft ascent, hike along creek.**

(**3-mile to 5-mile loops may be hiked by combining these picnic area trails with return trails parallel to the roads.)

Embudo Trail 193 to water fall at canyon mouth, 1 mile, 320-ft ascent, western Sandia foothills.

S. Crest Trail 130 from Canyon Estates to Travertine Falls, 0.5 mile, 260-ft ascent, see calcium carbonate deposits on rocks.

La Luz Trail 137 to Tram Trail 82 junction, 1 mile, 360-ft ascent, views of Juan Tabo Basin.

La Luz Trail 137 to Overlook, 3 miles, 1160-ft ascent, views of La Cueva Canyon.

Tramway Trail 82 from Lower Tram Terminal to La Luz Trail 137 junction, 2.5 miles, 840-ft ascent, hike along escarpment of Sandias.

S. Piedra Lisa Trail 135 to Rincon Ridge, 2 miles, 1230-ft ascent, views of Shield to east.

Trails That Tell a Story

cienega_nature_trail_sign

(photo credit: Sally Lowder)

Learn more about Sandia Mountain nature and history by visiting these self-guided informational trails.

Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site – The site interpretive trail begins behind the Sandia Ranger Station and winds past numerous interpretive signs describing the the14th century Tijeras Pueblo.

Cedro Creek – Pick up the brochure for this trail at Sandia Ranger Station and follow the numbered signposts. This one mile trail is located at the Otero Canyon Trailhead about three miles south of the Ranger Station in the Manzanita Mountains and focuses on Cedro Creek riparian habitat.

Cienega Nature Trail – Located in the Cienega Picnic Area, this short trail has illustrated signs in addition to Braille for the visually impaired and a paved walkway for visually or mobility impaired visitors. Learn about the ponderosa pine and meadow ecosystems. A small stream runs through the meadow.

Balsam Glade – This trail begins at Balsam Glade Picnic Area and leads to an overlook at La Madera Canyon. Learn about plants and animals that make their home in the mixed conifer life zone.

Sandia Peak Upper Tram Terminal – This ¾ mile loop trail is north of the High Finance Restaurant. Illustrated signs introduce the sub-alpine forest ecosystem. In summer, guided tours are available.

Sandia Crest – This ¾ mile loop trail begins south of the Crest House. It offers spectacular views of the Rio Grande valley and takes visitors into the sub-alpine forest. Most of the illustrated signs are identical to the Sandia Peak trail mentioned above.

Summary of North Sandia Ranger District Trails

Difficulty Rating Trail Number Trail Name Length (miles) Elevation Change (ft)
Easy 196 Bill Spring 0.7 231
365 Foothills 13 800
265    Oso    Corredor 2.7 701
72 Sandia Cave 0.5 84
281 Sulphur Canyon 0.4 109
Moderate 148 Cienega 2.2 1,659
202 Ellis 2.7 630
195 Faulty 9 808
200 10K 4.9 572
201 Osha Loop 2.7 246
259 Penasco Blanca 1.6 520
51 Strip Mine 2.6 933
264 Tecolote 1.2 180
194 Three Gun 4 2,133
82 Tramway 2.6 929
147 Tree Spring 2 1,039
195A Upper Faulty 1.3 48
Difficult 225 Bart’s 2.1 1,879
150 Canoncito 3.1 1,935
84 Crest Spur 0.6 507
192 Embudito 5.6 3,039
193 Embudo 3.2 1,749
215 Hawk Watch 1.2 930
137 La Luz 7.7 3,775
130N North Crest 10.6 4,118
247 Osha Spring 4.5 2,708
135 Piedra Lisa 5.8 2,099
140 Pino 4.7 2,798
130S South Crest 16 4,081
Route 214 CCC 1.8 1,702
230 Domingo Baca 2.4 739

NOTES: For more details on trails see “Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide” by Mike Coltrin and the Sandia Ranger District Map, both available at the Sandia Ranger District Station in Tijeras.