Explore the most popular views 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.

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....

Beautiful!

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.

Always enjoy this trail Fall/Winter times when temps usually don't rise above mid-50s. Plenty of bird activity as sun was setting.

Boring trail, no good payoff, and mediocre views.

hiking
7 days ago

Nice and shady

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.

The view at the end of this hike is incredible. it is mostly downhill on the way there but uphill on the way back. took us about 3 hours with a 30 minute break at the end of the trail.

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
14 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.

hiking
15 days ago

This is a great trail. It is well groomed and well marked. Do not wear your sneakers on this trail, you need hiking boots because it is Rocky. Keep in mind that the full loop comes back on Chalk Dust trail.

Came to the top of mountain to see the view without knowing of this trail’s existence. Was very pleasantly surprised upon finding the trail and the views it afforded. Would certainly recommend to others.

hiking
20 days ago

Visiting from PHX only had a couple hours to sneak in a hike. Pretty solid trail and a good climb I recorded 1591 AEG with all but 20 feet of it coming on the hike up to where the trail joins Embudo at the ridge. Wish I had more time would have loved to continue up to South Sandia Peak as the ridgeline trail did not offer much in terms of views. There were a couple really cool boulder outcrops below the ridge that provide great viewpoints back down the trail and valley you hike up through. Lots of scat on trail possibly small blackbear, not a scat expert, but was definitely not K9 or feline

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
23 days ago

See my report. I had a great time, especially coming down the Chalk Dust Trail.

Did this hike yesterday. This was my first hike in the Sandias since moving back to New Mexico after 50 years away. Spent 2 hours on the ascent, stopping lots for photos, and an hour down. Excellent trail through the pinyon-juniper woodland. The view at the pass is amazing. Next time I want to do the Piedra Lisa trail from the north trailhead above Placitas, over this pass, and repeat this descent.

The first half of the trail is a strenuous uphill but with a good amount of shade. Once you reach the top there are amazing views of the city, and if you follow the short Rincon trail, you come upon an outcrop of rock that is easily climbed to afford even better views. Overall a very enjoyable hike!

hiking
28 days ago

Easy trail with beautiful views. Dog and kid friendly.

hiking
29 days ago

Decided to hike this trail with our dog today, Saturday 4/21, when our car couldn't make it out the rough road to a different section of the Piedra Lisa trail. The road to this one is paved, and there is a good-sized parking area at the trailhead. I liked it a lot better than most of the other trails I've done in the Sandia foothills. It is shaded most of the way. The trail is easy to follow (not a convoluted web of trails!). We went past where the AllTrails map ends to a nice outcrop with views. It took us 52 minutes each way. Most of the challenge comes from the elevation gain. We started around 10:20, and several other groups were out, but it was not bad at all for a Saturday.

hiking
1 month ago

The really outstanding views are blocked by trees for the majority of the hike, but if you can make it to the end of the trail, I guarantee you will be rewarded :)

hiking
1 month ago

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

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

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.

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.

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