Domingo Baca Trail #230 is a 7.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Albuquerque, NM that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from May until November.
This hike starts out in a desert open space environment (no shade) and changes into the lush greenery and streams in the Sandia Mountains. Starting at the Domingo Baca trail, you can continue along this route to the site of the wreckage of a TWA flight which crashed in 1955 high in the mountains.
Not really a good trail unless you are extremely fit. The lower quarter mile or so is very easy and pretty. The middle third is rocky, steep, sandy in places and easy to slip. The top third is very steep, very rocky and very hard to negotiate. About 100 yards from the site, there is a boulder about 15 to 20 feet high that you must scale. Someone left a purple rope hanging down to scale part of the rock. Without the rope, it would be really, really hard to get up. From the boulder to the debris is not far, but extremely rocky and extremely steep. Very, very slow progress. The trail extends past the debris field, but it is simply impossible except for experienced rock climbers and very experienced trail climbers. We turned back after the debris field.
The trail is poorly marked and we got lost twice. This app saved the day and we rejoined the trail after some fairly rigorous hiking.
All in all, it is a great experience, well worth the considerable effort required.
Nice trail. Thought we lost it a couple of time but followed the rocks and orange ties near the end. The wreckage was pretty spread out but worth it to see. Great scenery the last couple of miles also.
Great hike! Took my son who was eight at the time and he loved it.
Probably one of my favorite hikes in the Sandias. It is possible to take this trail to connect with La Luz but it is definitely difficult, and the trail is less and less apparent as you ascend the mountain. If you are a local and you haven't taken this trail up, I would say this is a better overall experience than La Luz. Bring your All Trails or a GPS, hiking poles, and good shoes. Also be sure to give yourself plenty of day light. Not a trail you want to be on when it's dark.
All the way to La Luz.
Parked at the base of the Sandia Tram and hiked south to meet the Domingo Baca trail. Easy to find.
Hiked up to TWA Canyon and then continued up to La Luz Trail. Very strenuous and steep. Trail was generally easy to follow until you reach the top. At that point, it's bushwhacking and climbing until you hit La Luz anyway.
Great hike with great views. Had a beer at the top and rode the tram down.
It took us 3.5 hours. I would plan on 4.5 to 5 if you're not moving at a decent pace.
DO NOT start late and risk running out of daylight. You will have to turn back.
Hiking poles highly recommended for the climb to the top.
Not a bad trail, makes for a very nice hike. Starts out without any shade in the open space, so get there early while it's not too hot. After the first 1.5 miles or so, it's mostly shady, and even on a 95+ degree day, it was quite pleasant in the late morning/early afternoon.
In late July after an extremely dry summer, the trail was pretty easy. Didn't require any bushwhacking, was no problem in shorts. Met a guy on the trail who was going all the way through to La Luz - he was wearing long sleeves, pants, and gloves - but if you're just hiking to the crash site (which we did, and is what I'd recommend) it wasn't any problem in shorts.
Crash site spans a pretty good distance and is quite humbling. Inspecting the wreckage more closely, you get a sense of the overall magnitude of the event.
The trail is pretty easy to follow except for the turnoff from the stream bed. A GPS was quite useful there - if you're going to plug in any waypoints, put in that one. There's one section of the trail shortly past there which is loose sand and rather steep - going up isn't bad, but be careful going down, especially if you don't have good footwear. There's also the rock scramble about a half mile before the crash site, but I didn't find that too bad. One of the shorter members of our group had a bit more trouble.
The last part of the trail gets pretty steep, but it's not as strenuous as La Luz past the rockslide.
Overall a nice hike, would recommend. Probably better in late summer when it's less overgrown - I could see it being more of a pain if the vegetation had filled in more.
Great trail. A little easy to lose the path initially because there are a few that intersect with it along the way however once you clear the foothills its fairly easy to navigate. Not much shade initially. Mildly strenuous but not too difficult. The crash site at the end is a humbling and sad memorial though it is worth seeing. This is a good trainer hike for tougher treks as it is not too long. Just be wary of the Elena Gallegos picnic area as my friend's vehicles were both burglarized while we hiked though mine was spared. Also this picnic area is the same starting point the Pino trail so make sure to allocate enough return time so you don't get locked in. Hours depend on the season.
Very difficult but best hike I have ever done- very hard to find the right path and a gps tracker is great on this hike. Took 10 miles round trip and 7 am -2 pm. The final .5 mile to the wreck is very challenging, steep, and will require bushwacking but well worth it.
It was a long steep incline up and a steep decline down make sure you wear shoes with ankle support and plenty of grip and bring plenty of water and a few snacks.
This was a good hike. It was difficult at times, no where near as difficult as La Luz or Pino(I did stop at the wreckage site though). The first mile and a half is not shaded at all, bring a hat! Also, if you are bringing a dog, make sure they have boots or their paws will get burnt.There is one section where you have to climb up a tree branch on to a huge rock, my dog was not able to do that. We turned around to head back and saw another trail leading up. We took that trail and it led to the wreckage.
So hard does not begin to describe the end of this trail. All is fine while you are near the creeks, then you start the real trek up and it is really up. My son (9), daughter (7), wife and I made it this past Saturday. Weather was perfect. Started just after 9 and finished about 4. Made it all the way to the crash site. I will say the view were not as good as other trails, La Luz or Pino, but there was plenty of shade. Big note watch for the right turn you need to make. IT is marked by other hikers but hard to see. You actually go up out of the creek bed. There is a glove in the tree along with some rock markers. The last half mile before the wreck is a nightmare. But you are so close you are pushed to finish. Walking sticks are highly advised, we did not bring any, but found some along the trail.
Love this trail! I've hiked it twice and I look forward to hiking it again. It's scenic, shaded, and challenging. In the first hour of the hike it's important to take a hard right up a mound of earth that does not obviously seem like part of the trail. We've missed it before so we built a cairn with stones to mark the necessary turn. Once you climb the mound, the trail is more apparent and eventually follows a creek for the duration of the hike which is lovely. The last hour or so is a steep incline until you come to a large boulder and shortly after, you will find the wreckage and memorial to those lost in the 1950's plane crash. This trail offers a great adventure and awesome views!
We did this hike last weekend. It took us 3 attempts to finish it, and it was well worth it! The second half of it gets pretty steep and rocky, but the views, the stream and the overall experience were spectacular! Though to finish, but highly recommended!
Great trail. I consider it the most difficult on Sandia mountain. Can be difficult to know where the trail is at times. took my son yesterday and ended up going up wrong ravine this time. Recommend using Alltrails to help navigate which uses GPS so you can be sure to stay on trail. if you do want to do a trail that requires lots of hand and foot climbing go up left side of ravine instead. you will not get to plane crash but will climb a much more aggressive trail.
Incredible hike! Difficult and steep but absolutely loved it! Once you get passed the dessert area and are in the mountains, boy is it something. Highly recommended for someone who wants adventure.