Explore New Trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
2 days ago

Climbed on April 15. There was minimal snow on the trail and I made it to the top in a pair of running shoed just fine. Coming from around sea level less than 24 hours before, the last portion of the hike got pretty difficult due to the altitude. I started at the bottom of the tram and took the tramway trail to get to La Luz. Then, I diverted off to the crest spur trail to Sandia Crest, which has a restaurant and bathrooms. From Sandia Crest, I took the South Crest Trail to the tram and rode it down. With breaks, it took me 7 hours to get to the top.

I was curious how technically difficult it would be and how scary the trail would be but 99% of the trail is a nice dirt/rock path. At the tight zigzag in the middle of the trail, there are rocks/boulders that you have to walk over. This is where people with dogs turned around. None of the trail required any scrambling, just walking uphill. At no point did I find myself in a place where I felt that one slip could send me off a cliff. There were lots of trees and bushes bordering the trail and where there wasn't, the slope wasn't that steep and the trail was plenty wide enough for comfort.

I had cell phone reception the whole way up, though just barely. Google maps has the trail outlined on it and even if you don't have service, the GPS will still show you where you are via the blue dot. I used it to make sure I stayed on the path.

Be sure you're up for the challenge, as it's a long way down if you get near the top and realize you can't make it. The altitude and length are what makes this a tough climb.

Hope this info helps. Be safe and have a great climb!

Gorgeous views! Go early, as it gets crowded, but oh, so worth it! The tall walls or slots give shade too, so you don’t melt. High stepping towards the end make this a more challenging hike, but also interesting. Highly recommend!

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike and weather. Tough going up as it’s all uphill.

My husband and I hiked this on Sunday 4/15 with our dog. We found it to be a nice hike and a reasonable distance from our house in Albuquerque. From 131, follow signs for Red Canyon campground. The gravel road is in good condition and should be passable for all types of vehicles. There is plenty of parking by the trailhead. The trails start at the same place, and you will soon come to a sign to go right for Spruce Spring and left for Red Canyon. We started on Spruce Spring for a counterclockwise loop. It took us 2:20 to reach the summit of Gallo Peak and 1:40 to come down. Spruce Spring and the Crest Trails are very easy to follow. There is a rock cairn indicating where to turn off the main Crest Trail if you want to go to the peak. (Which I definitely recommend, as the views are excellent in nearly every direction.) Red Canyon Trail had a few more downed trees across the trail but was also fairly easy to follow. There was a little bit of water in the creek. We encountered only two other hikers with dogs and a group of bow hunters who came up on horseback. We didn't see any wildlife (thanks in part to our dog, I'm sure) but did hear birds. All in all, a nice, peaceful hike with great summit views.

4 days ago

First trail in New Mexico. April 10th still had lots of snow on Albuquerque facing side. Took to much time before I turned back. Finished the last mile or so in the dark. Wasn't bad toward the bottom but could have been tricky on the snow and ice. Great first test for the abilities of a flatlander to handle New Mexico hiking. Enjoy.

Easy trail to follow, good burn, and spectacular views. Definitely will do again!

hiking
5 days ago

Love this trail! If you want to spend the night somewhere before you hike then stay in Santa Fe or possibly North Albuquerque. Don’t bring a pet and bring $5 cash. They don’t take credit cards.

It’s a great quick hike but still a little strenuous. We went at 10:00 on a Saturday and we were done by 12:00. It was not very crowded at 10 but on our way back down it was pretty crowded. I would agree with the other comments.. go as early as you can!

hiking
5 days ago

I did a loop trail to South Peak going up the CCC Route and back on the South Crest Trail, which is about 11.5 miles. There’s now a small cairn marking the CCC Route off the South Crest Trail just past the sign for the Upper Faulty Trail, but it’s simpler to just take the Upper Faulty Trail and turn left at the big pile of rocks immediately in front of you.

See my recording for the trail to South Peak off of the South Crest Trail. It is marked by a sign. What is now marked by a small cairn is a great back way off this trail (also on the recording). You head across a field with the trail only sometimes visible and then into the forest (quite steep at first). The wind is blocked as you go through the aspens and past some nice rock formations to come out right at the top of South Peak! The return loop can be the usual trail to Embudito and then left to join the Crest Trail.

The CCC Route is 1.7 miles and gains 1720 ft in the process, from 7600 to 9320 ft elevation. There are only a few “steps” and no real switchbacks, so
mostly you are just hiking the grade, which never gets super-steep like Oso Ridge or Hawk Watch (two other great trails that can be made into loops and include South Peak). The CCC Route opens up to a rocky expanse in a few places and I turned on the recorder to find the trail.

Be sure to check out Travertine Falls and the rock cave off the South Crest Trail before the Faulty Trail turnoff on the way up (there’s a sign for both these trails). The trail to Travertine Falls rejoins the South Crest Trail and actually cuts a little off of it. It’s the loop on the recording.

Great trail for a windy day! Enough tree cover to block the wind, but great unobstructed outlooks. Took about 5.5 hours top to bottom.

Favorite trail to date.

backpacking
10 days ago

So beautiful !

Beautiful trail. We did this in an afternoon in April and it took 4 hours including lots of wandering about at the summit and some bird watching. Great parking, good road up to it (take the 131 from Manzano).

If you’re comfortable with a hike of this length, there’s not much too much to challenge you beyond comfort - pretty rocky in places and a few fallen trees to clamber over, but no big drops or loose slopes.

It still had a few snowy patches today up high but only about 50 feet total of trail that was in anyway snow covered and easy to get across.

There are some amazing birds around - a good tip is to hangout by the spring where there are a lot.

Leave yourself enough time to enjoy the summit of the Spruce trail as it has amazing views and a great clearing to eat a picnic on! The descent into Red Canyon is also breathtaking and well worth a slow walk.

Do NOT go up here without enough time to come down in the light of day unless you are prepared. It is dark and covered for most of the trail and there are Cougars and Bears in this forest. You’ll be unlucky as hell in the daytime to see anything, but at night you’re far more likely to be unlucky!

One thing - the Crest trail is either wrongly marked or we found another trail at the final climb. Instead of going to 3000 at the second peak it actually hugs the 2950 altitude line.

on Pino Trail

11 days ago

Love this hike! After the first mile it’s nice to get into the trees and shade. Good views of the mountains. Nice little grove of Ponderosa pines about 2.5 miles up. Good spot to sit and have a snack.

hiking
12 days ago

This is a bucket-list must do hike! If you’re in the area, make this the one you do!

12 days ago

It was a hard climb, but many places to rest and see some beautiful scenery. It’s early April so there was a spot or two of ice/snow, which didn’t cause any issues.

hiking
12 days ago

I’m happy I did this trail but won’t be doing it again. It’s the least charming of the longer Sandia trails. The middle portion of the trail is poorly maintained, filled with overgrown scrub and dead trees blocking the trail and the creepy shack in the least hiked section of the trail was eerie. I wasn’t really paying attention to the topo map so each descent that was followed by another grueling climb became a little demoralizing after the third or forth time. The last few miles to the tram were a steady incline and the map in AllTrails was wrong at one point so I ended up doubling back to find the actual trail. (& This is totally my fault but I didn’t check to make sure the tram was running and when I got there it was closed for maintenance so I hiked another two miles in the dark (with headlamp thankfully) through pitch black snowy forest to the north crest and got a ride back down the mountain. All told it was closer to a 17 or 18 mile hike. The Forest Service map says the South Crest Trail is 15.97 miles but AllTrails says 13.9 - not sure which is correct but the AllTrails map errors on this trail make me thing the park services map is the more accurate. Happy to say I’ve now section hiked the full crest but will skip the south portion in the future.

hiking
12 days ago

See recording from today. The only parts recorded are an easier way to access Oso Ridge from Embudito (it’s just the second left after the Embudito trail marker), a direct way to South Peak from the top/end of the Oso Ridge trail, and the path back through Embudito Canyon off of Embudito trail (which cuts at least half a mile off the trip and of course is another great way up).

Favorite trail on my week in New Mexico thus far. I am not that adventurous but found this to be the right mix of challenge and beauty. The trail is very popular but worth it. The National Park pass gets you in free, otherwise it’s $5. There was another road leading up to the Memorial which was closed. I would have liked to explore that.

hiking
14 days ago

Nice, peaceful and mellow hike with rolling hills. Not very rocky (except in a few areas).

You can save yourself 10 minutes driving and get on the trails quicker (if you’re coming from I-40) by parking at Pine Flat and taking the Pine Flat Connector to the loop. Total length about 5.5 miles, and a slight addition in climb (though it’s gradual).

Another advantage of doing it this way is that the substantial climb (about .6 miles from Pokerchip onto Mahogany) is in the middle of the hike, instead of at the end, as it is if you start at Oak Flat.

There are a lot of intersections and I had to pull my phone out to wayfind a lot the first time. From Pine Flat, to go clockwise, just remember it’s all right turns EXCEPT at Gambel Oak (meeting the loop), Caida Del Pino, Pine Loop, and Pine Flat Connector (heading back to the car).

Really great views but the trail was snowy and icy as you moved away from the crest and into the forest.

hiking
16 days ago

Second time on this trail, only did 2 miles previously so wanted to challenge myself. Me and my dog went up on Easter took the round trip of going up and down. Theres still a good amount of snow last couple miles up so a good pair of hiking shoes is recommended. It's a tough hike but the scenery and the views from a top are worth every minute of it. Go conquer the mountain!

hiking
17 days ago

Great loop: Otero Canyon, left on Blue Ribbon, right on Gnasty, right on Otero Canyon back to the trailhead. 5.5 miles, about 5-600’ elevation increase (mostly in the first 1.5 miles).

This is an enjoyable hike with a really wide variety of scenery and terrain, from open ridge tops, to pine forest (with some beautiful Ponderosa pines), to rock walls and boulder-strewn washes. I hiked it on a red flag warning day, and the wind wasn’t bothersome at all, except a short stretch on the ridge top. This trail is exceptionally rocky in many areas, even compared to others in the area.

The Otero Canyon out & back listed here is cut off less than 2 miles in by the DOD withdrawal and is well marked no admittance. I guess lots of people still go in that area, but if you’d like to avoid breaking federal law, try this loop instead.

hiking
18 days ago

This is honestly one of the most beautiful hikes I've experienced in the Sandias! At 4mi the switchbacks got pretty slick because the snow hasn't melted yet. My pup and I made it to 9,180 ft on the Crest Trail and would've kept going if I had better shoes/poles. Can't wait to do it again once the snow is gone!

Great shady hike with awesome views at the top. Strenuous uphill and really smooth downhill. Great footing as well. Should take 2 hours or less for a regular hiker.

hiking
20 days ago

Super rocky but beautiful views

hiking
21 days ago

Rangers will push people out of the trail at around 4pm! We arrived too late around 3:30 and only hiked half the trail before being intercepted by a ranger, together with a large contingency of turned back hikers. Even so, the first half was already spectacular. Sandy ground and slot canyon allowed only one person to pass in many places. The cone shaped features are well worth the trip.

hiking
21 days ago

Leisure hike on well groomed trail. Smell of sunshine and bushes. The four ladders were the highlight, and is reasonably family friendly — kids 6 or 7 years old seem to climb up and down with no problem. More things to see on the main loop, including a few more ladders (much shorter), and some pretty cool petroglyphs.

trail running
21 days ago

What a dream of a trail. You get a little of everything, desert, technical, forest, ridgetop single track. I love this run, can't recommend it enough. From mile 4 on there is still quite a bit of ice, not so bad going up, coming down was an adventure. The single track is incredible once you hit the Crest Junction I highly recommend you push on for at least an extra quarter mile to enjoy it.

24 days ago

Second time on this trail. Yesterday , I beat my personal time reaching Sandia Tram in 4 hours. The trail has ice and snow at the trail maker with 2.2 miles remaining for the remainder of the trek. The trail is treacherous in parts as the path is right on the ridge line with no margin for a misstep. I did not have microspikes but those would have been beneficial. The snow and ice increased the time of the hike, but I wanted to be deliberate in my steps. Once past the last switchback, only a little snow, mostly mud until the end.

I will have to go again in the summer when conditions are less treacherous and to improve my time. Be safe and go prepared. Regardless of your reason for the hike, whether to take your time and enjoy the views, or to improve your personal time, this hike is one of the best.

hiking
25 days ago

The views are amazing, the microclimates startling, the rocky switchbacks hard on the feet, but the reward at the top is well worth it. Whatever amount of water you think you should bring, bring more. Have fun!!

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