Did this trail clockwise at midday, when it was 97-99 degrees and partly cloudy in abq. The weather up on the mountain was much nicer! It’s a truly lovely and varied loop that only lacks sweeping views (there are a couple of nice glimpses to the east). It feels very remote and there’s lots of shade (even at midday). I didn’t see much wildlife until near the end, on the approach back to the picnic areas, where there were lots of birds, including a BIG woodpecker, Orioles, and a bunch of Steller’s jays. More variety of foliage in this area, too.

There’s a Medallion Tree along the way, just a bit off the trail (and marked). You can find info online if you’re not aware.

The trail starts and ends on paved road. It doesn’t last long at the beginning, but feels like a long way at the end. You can get off the road if you look for trails that run alongside through the picnic areas, like Acequia Trail. If you can, plan a little extra time to wander around the stream area. I saw a huge array of insects on the arnica daisies, and there are interpretive plaques.

I liked the elevation gain over the first few miles — it felt like exercise but wasn’t brutal. Lots of climb a bit, then there’s a flat stretch, that gets steeper as it goes on. Going counter clockwise would, I think, be much more taxing, with one long, moderately steep climb.

The reviewer who says it goes by the road the whole time is mistaken. This trail is nowhere near a road, and is very quiet. There is one high point where you can hear I40, only briefly.