Explore the most popular forest trails in Cibola National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Good shade, not much of a view

beautiful hike this afternoon!

hiking
4 days ago

Lovely trail. Not too busy. Amazing views especially from the summit. Pretty wildflowers and cool temperatures.

Woof. First morning in town after driving from Buffalo, NY (maybe 500ft above sea level?) so no acclimatization. Got a later start than we wanted (9:50am) so it pretty warm during the least enjoyable parts of the trail. First ~2mi was tough to even find the trail. Scrawl that makes up most of the second half can be tiring if your arches aren’t used to it. I consider myself in good shape and a pretty experienced hiker but tbh it was Pretty brutal but a real challenge. Took us about 6hrs in all (with a few stops for pictures and starts down wrong trails). Took the tram down. Glad I did it once, don’t know if I feel compelled to do it again soon....

I enjoyed this hike today with friends. Perfect loop. Not to long or too short. Enjoyed watching the butterflies and looking at the different wildflowers.

Boring trail, no good payoff, and mediocre views.

Beautiful sights! Some loose rocks so be careful. When my friend and I went today it was super windy towards the top. We both took our dogs.

this trail was fairly easy. the trail was along the road a majority of the time which took away from the view.

easy hike with some amazing views!

You hike 2.6 miles to get to the LaLuz trail. The climb is pretty moderate and there are some rocky areas in the last 3 miles of the trail. Very pretty views throughout.

hiking
18 days ago

This is a moderately challenging little hike. The 9 mike version would involve some serious slide risk, particularly on the return hike. Unless you are an experienced hiker, skip it. For good training and great views, hike to the second rock outcropping, enjoy the view, turn around, and hit a local brewery. You earned it. And, yes, you are likely to see hawks soaring in the thermals.

Nice hike with some strenuous uphills at times. We went further than the junction with the Upper Faulty on the Faulty trail, so our hike was closer to 8 miles, but the loop with the Upper Faulty makes for a nice change of scenery on the way back. Definitely be sure to bring lots of water as the South Crest trail is very exposed at times and it gets quite hot.

Great trail to Mount Taylor. The road out to it is fairly rough; we had no trouble in our SUV, but I wouldn't want to drive a low ground clearance car to the trailhead. We met several other groups on our Saturday late morning hike. The elevation gain starts out as moderate and gets steeper as you near the summit. It took us 1:45 up and 1:15 down. (We took a more leisurely pace on the way up with a couple stops and were quicker on the way down due to rain clouds rolling in.) The trail is easy to follow. Great views from the top. No snow on 4/28.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked up Pino, then down Cienega. Trail is gully washed downhill for about half of it. Quite a few downed trees on trail. Lots of dead upright and downed trees in Cienega canyon. Road was closed to upper trailhead, and had to hike around a bit before finding our ride. Pretty area, I'm sure it's nice when the stream is going and not so dry, but overall area needs thinning, and trail needs some maintenance work done.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

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

hiking
1 month ago

Super rocky but beautiful views

hiking
1 month ago

It's rated moderate but I think some people will find it closer to difficult. There are a LOT of ups and downs and I was definitely glad I was wearing my hiking boots or else I'm sure I would have twisted my ankle a couple of times. It's an absolutely beautiful trail with lots of great views of the Rio Grande Valley as well as the Sandia Mountains.

There are quite a few side trails and it's easy to get off the main trail, and by our calculations, we walked 2.5 miles from the parking lot at the Tram to the La Luz trailhead, NOT the 1.7 miles the marker said at the beginning of the trail. So bring lots of water and energy snacks, and hiking poles will definitely help. I wish I'd had a hat on by the end of our three hour out and back in early December. I don't think we will do this trail in the Summer.

Lovely hike even though trail pretty icy. Be sure to check out Kiwanis Cabin. Only did part of trail because of time limitations but will definitely return to finish.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike has the best view from the top! It snowed on us the whole way. One thing it doesn’t tell you is when you reach what looks like end on this app you reach a intersection and go through the fence and it takes you to the top! Great time for sure

Great trail loop. Snow is still melting so it was muddy Nd sometimes icy in early March. I was glad I had my spikes with me.

Great loop, but the hike up the crest spur is pretty steep, more on a moderate level. Fairly exposed to wind most of the time, if it's blowing.

trail running
2 months ago

My wife and I ran this trail this morning and we had a blast. Tricky if you a first time trail runner. Well marked and there were only a few fellow humans out there with us. There was a little snow as we approached the La Luz trail.

Not too hard at all. There wasn’t too much snow on the trail at all. We completed it on Feb 10. Took us about 3ish hours, but we are typically slow hikers. Enjoy :)

trail running
3 months ago

great for running, despite the rocks it's doable.

This trail is only hard in that it’s constant elevation gain - I wouldn’t consider it technically challenging etc.

I went on Feb 8, 2018 and successfully drive a Nissan Quest minivan all the way to the trail head. In the morning it was fine; by afternoon the road had softened in areas and became too slick for a novice driver (but otherwise manageable in low gear).

The trail itself was a mix of dry surface in addition to hard snow, iced snow, and slick mud. Weather was beautiful and sunny.

Overall this was a nice climb through woods and up onto the grassy mountain top. Don’t expect huge payoffs on the views until you reach the switchbacks. The 3rd or 4th switchback is a fakeout and wraps around the slope toward your left, out of sight. While windy at the top, the sun was warm and skies clear.

hiking
3 months ago

Really enjoyed the walk... Question for veteran NM hikers. We saw lots of animal droppings on the trial (someone has been eating berries) - what critter might this be?

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful Trail, but wasn't extremely well marked...Also, pretty sure that it was longer than 3.5 miles...Or maybe we got off the trail somewhere? The views were fantastic! Definitely worth the hike! The road going up is rough, so make sure you have a worthy car!

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