Explore Summer 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Summer 2017 Map
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hiking
2 days ago

I really enjoyed this little hike. I didn’t complete the whole thing because twice I got off the main trail because it was unclear where the real trail was. My phone was dying so I was trying to use the app as little as possible but if I had a fully charged phone, it would have been easy to navigate. A beautiful trail with lots of wild flowers. Maybe I didn’t go far enough but I don’t understand the hard rating for difficulty. It was rocky in places but down hill to start with. Some of the side trails coming off the road are actually better because you don’t have to contend with the rocks. The trees are much denser though. July/August there are almost always late afternoon thunder storms so you might want to take that into account when planning. I’ve been in lightning storms twice in the Sandias and they’re pretty scary. I love September/early October in the Sandias. The aspens are turning yellow, the weather is cool and you just might catch the ski lift open that goes to the top of the crest to look out over ABQ. Only $3 to ride.

Worth the trek. Navigation gets tricky after Domingo baca trail as you head towards the TWA crash site. Highly recommend to keep an eye on waypoints.

Need more trail markers , otherwise beautiful trail

From the 10k parking lot we went down in elevation, maybe along what the map titles capulin trail 234a. Looked to be some decent mountain bike jumps. Found patches of wild raspberries and currants, mullein, yarrow, plantain and alfalfa in right next to the parking.

hiking
15 days ago

This hike is not for the faint of heart. It’s very difficult, but the views are breath-taking. We started at the tram trail (2.5 miles) which then connected to the La Luz Trail so we did about 10 miles total including the trek to the Tram. This is definitely not a hike for beginners, but is a great challenge. We did this hike in preparation for Wheeler Peak in September. If you hike this on a weekend and ride the tram down expect to wait about 45 mins or more to get on a tram back down the mountain.

17 days ago

Great trail.

hiking
23 days ago

Probably the best hike in New Mexico! Start as early as you can to beat the heat.

hiking
24 days ago

Difficult but the views make you forget about all of that. beautiful wildflowers along the path and we were greeted by a cute bunny. there's a rock formation that reminded us of a thumbs up and it helped us press on.

hiking
26 days ago

First hike I’ve taken in years. It’s defiantly a challenge because of how quickly the elevation rises. I became slightly dizzy at one point and took a 10 minute break. The most important part though is to keep moving. It certainly isn’t an easy hike.

I forget which trail we took because there were two paths. I think we ended up on the back side of the mountain because we never saw the tram. Either way me and my mate managed 5.13 miles in a 3 hour 15 minute hike. There are portions that have nothing but gravel in ridiculously steep areas, so proper footwear is an absolute must. Also beware that cacti is abundant across the trail. I accidentally slipped and my hand landed right on top of one.

In the end, I’d do it again. The trail offered incredible views and is certainly offers a true hike. Not for beginners in the slightest bit.

hiking
30 days ago

There had been closures of this range due to fire hazards but it is indeed open as of 7/21. We got to the area late in the day and decided to ride the tram up and hike down. We’re in good shape but will never race to set a record as we enjoy taking in the sites and taking pictures. That’s not to say we don’t hump out a good pace at times. We started the descent at 17:00 and made it to the parking lot at 21:00, a solid four hours. Trail is well marked. It was 85 at the top when we started. Consumed about 1.5L each. There is decent exposure but if you’re not the clumsy type and pay attention it’s no biggie. The AllTrails map says 13.3 up and down. We logged 7.3 on my Suunto coming down only which I have to reconcile.

Steep. B’cse of poorly marked trail in early miles, general recommendation is ‘bear right.’ The trail is good.

This hike is quite strenuous at the beginning because the first 2.5 miles are climbing through mostly desert and rocky areas. It doesn’t start to vary until you enter the forest. There are intermittent views at the beginning and the top but that’s not really what this hike is for. There are better views, the hike itself is lovely. Be careful if you hike in summer like I just did. I had 2 liters for 5 hours and it was just enough. The last 3 miles back to the car in 100 degree weather is brutal so be mindful of that. Use lots of sunscreen and bring extra water.

Back open

trail running
1 month ago

**CLOSED All wilderness areas (trails to the peaks)** because of drought and fear of wildfires. Shorter trails in the immediate area are open. Beautiful area, will be back for the peak. Call to figure out when they re-open

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of trail closures in the Cibola National Forest due to lack of rain. Check before you go.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked up the trail on Memorial Day. I began at the trail head parking lot at 6:45am, but didn't reach the top until noon. I lost about two hours helping another hiker who was doing the trail for the first time. Poor guy almost passed out on his way to the top as he wasn't used to the elevation spike. I got to the top and took a break for 45 mins and hiked back down. I arrived at the parking lot by 4pm. Total miles= 18, calories burned 2,000, steps walked over 40K. I would recommend beginning the hike early in the morning this time of year, otherwise you'll be getting the brunt of the sun hiking back down. It was a great hike, awesome workout & fantastic views. If you pay attention to where you are going, you won't get lost. This was my first time hiking the trail. Challenging for sure. Definitely not for novices.

hiking
3 months ago

I started at the Tramway Trailhead and connected with La Luz trail to the top of Sandia Crest (3.5 hours, 4,960 ft elevation climb). From there i took the trail along the peak over to Kiwanis Cabin (20 minutes) - which if you haven't been there I'd highly recommend! The views from where it sits are amazing, and the cabin itself is pretty cool considering the history. After that I made my way to the Sandia Peak Tramway (30 minutes) and rode the tram back down. Overall the hike was 10 miles. The weather was perfect, however at the top i had to put my sweater on due to the very crisp breeze (it didn't help that my clothes were damp from all the sweating). This trail doesn't require a lot of caution or technique, but stamina and determination are definitely a must! Bring plenty of water!

Really enjoyable hike. Views along the ridge to the south peak were fantastic. The rocky stretch at the start is very hot with very little cover from the sun. If you're returning in the heat of the day, be prepared.

Really beautiful, challenging trail. I started at the Pino Trailhead to get to the Domingo Baca Trailhead, which adds about .5 to the 7.7 mile trail. Starts with a desert landscape, slightly scaling to overlook Albuquerque then into very rocky terrain at the base, into shady, wooded terrain. It gets more challenging after the first mile. If you’re not acclimated to the already 6000’ city of Albuquerque, then this will be very challenging (I just got here a few days ago and had to go much slower than my usual pace). You climb about 1000’ in the first 2.5 miles. I only made it 4 miles in, and will go back as I am more acclimated. Enjoy!

Beautiful and challenging trail. The last half up to the TWA site has significant altitude gain. You should be in good condition, especially if you don't live at mile high altitude. The plane wreckage is historic and creates a bit of a melancholy vibe, which adds a unique aspect to the hike.When I did this hike two years ago I tried to keep up with a group 25+ years younger than me as they raced down the trail. I wound up with a torn meniscus and knee surgery! Not likely to happen to you (I hope), but that's probably what stopped me from clicking 5 stars.

hiking
3 months ago

tough hike, but absolutely worth it.

worth checking out. and if u like going off trail and really feeling some altitude its a few miles to la luz and right up to the tram. be prepared to deal with lots of foliage and some steep includes that can have loose rocks. my favorite part of this trail was the memorial for those who died in the crash very peaceful.

awesome trail! If you like a good challenge this one will do it for you towards the end. The crash site is epic and makes you think about life. It almost goes to la luz. It tough to tell where it goes at times but I ended up going off trail at the end to hit the tram awesome exercise

3 months ago

Disregard Danny Faley’s review - he took the trail to Sandia Crest NOT to the tram so he missed the long section of dropoffs. There is a point at the trail where you can go left to the Kiwanis Cabin and Crest House or right to the Tram - he went left. The dropoffs are on the last bit before the tram. I’ve hiked this trail numerous times now. And yes - people have fallen to their deaths on this particular trail.

A beautiful and challenging hike. And a great workout with beautiful views. Also lots of critters to enjoy. Saw a red tailed hawk perched on a tree right beside the trail. Saw the most gorgeous horny road I’ve ever seen as well as a gopher snake. All in the same day! Overall a beautiful day on a beautiful mountain.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Parked at base of tram and took easy hike to trailhead. 9.5 miles to tram at top in total Trail in great shape but watch rock slide areas. Hiking boots recommended for slide areas to keep from rolling ankles. Sea level guy - heart and lungs were working hard. Time was 4:15.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked from the trail head to the tram in about 5 hrs. Flew in from Portland two days earlier...the elevation change kicked my butt! Great cool hike...only a few patches of snow. A little breezy at the top. I grew up in Albuquerque and never hiked the total trail. Glad I finally did it!

3 months ago

We started from the base of the Tram, using the Tramway Trail to connect to La Luz Trail—easy grade, nice views, and the trail was very well-marked. I am old and fat and my hiking partner is a sea-level flatlander, so the last 2.5 miles was...challenging, over rock scrambles with some ice. The open face areas of the trail were quite windy, and our worst nightmare would have been the tram not running, because we were not in any shape to do the return hike. Thankfully tram was operating and we suggest a blood orange margarita at the restaurant at the tram base.

hiking
4 months 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!

Stellar hike on Watermelon Mountain. Do it.

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