Nestled in the wooded foothills of the Manzano (the Spanish word for apple tree) Mountains, Manzano Mountains State Park is an excellent place for fishing, bird watching, photography, hiking and cross country skiing.

Hiked up to the top on June 2nd with my brother. The trail is easy to follow and there is an awesome forest of aspen towards the top. It makes for a great place to bring a lunch and relax, which is what we did. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Did the loop in reverse, so a lot more climbing for a good workout. Feels like this is a longer trek than listed. Strava tracked at 7+ miles. Finished the loop in three hours, but I travel a little faster than most. Lots of fallen trees on the trail and some broken signage at intersections from the recent storm. Didn’t see anything that indicated a spur at the top for the “amazing views,” so not sure if the storm knocked them down. The creek and waterfall were bone dry. So I left the trail pretty defeated. No magical views or waterfall. Sections of the trail were pretty with wild flowers and greenery. Bring bug spray for swarms of flies.

This trail was great. If you go the whole loop Spruce Spring to Crest Trail to Red Canyon it is 8 miles not 6.5 miles. I would recommend starting on Spruce Spring Trail first because Red Canyon is more steep. The hardest part is the Crest trail which is beautiful but you pull a consistant grade the whole time. We did this hike with a 3 year old boy and a 5 month old puppy plus 4 kids ranging from 10 to 14. They all survived but kept thinking the trail would never end since it was supposed to be 6.5 miles. lol all in all it was a nice hike. Great views, no water in the waterfall because of the drought. We could have made the loop in about 4 hrs but one of our friends were not too conditioned to we had to wait for her, it took our group of nine 5 hrs.

Wonderful trail with great views. The equestrian campground had no water, so i had to drive 3 miles down to the state park to get water for my horse. Other then that, the camp was great.

9 months ago

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.

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.

I enjoy hiking the Manzano Mountains. This is probably my favorite trail to take up to the crest trail for an overnight backpacking trip. There is a spring which is named spruce springs hence the name of the trail that has a water supply that is 300 ft of the trail. The water supply has proven to be a reliable source each time I have stopped at the spring. The sunsets from the top are awesome!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Had a great time, and the dogs loved it too! Easy to follow, bring water and lunch to have a picnic in the aspens at the top!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

This route is not for anyone who is not super experienced and confident following a faint trail. I suspect you were one of the 2 guys my friend and I saw, Terrence.

Monday, October 09, 2017

I've not done this trail but I'd like to and am thinking about doing it this weekend. The only way I could think to contact you directly is via this review. When you say the trail disappeared, was it because it was in the canyon and overgrown so you can still directionally get where to go? Did you see signs for the Vigil or Yellowstone trails? BTW, you can contact me directly at to respond.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Very very hard to keep on trail, on ojito the trail disappears for about a mile and half but it's a awesome hike. Also keep in mind the west side is big bear country.

horseback riding
Saturday, September 09, 2017

Good trail with a few hairy spots, magnificent views

horseback riding
Saturday, September 09, 2017

Rode horse back to the Crest trail. Beautiful vistas, very difficult in places, I got off the horse at one point and walked as it got real rough! Not for the novice rider!


I would say teens and adults only. Absolutely beautiful but long.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

great workout, great views

Closed Dec 1 - Mar 31.

Monday, July 04, 2016

nice hike family had a good time besides the fact there was a bee hive in the trail and we had to find another way around. I got stung on my pinky and head,lol. Only completed 2 miles.

This is a great trail that's not to steep and ends at the crest. A little ways to the south down the crest trail there is a short trail up to Galio Peak which is one of the tallest in the Manzano range with exceptional views of the whole world. I like to go a little futher to the south and head down Red Canyon trail ( a much steeper and some what shorter trail) makeing a loop back to the parking lot. If you do the loop it will be 7 1/2 miles. If you stop off at the peak maybe 8 miles.

This is my favorite train in the Manzano's. This trail heads up at a very steep climb along a small stream with several nice waterfalls. The stream may not be running June - July but some water most of the year. In a wet season be prepaired with some dry socks. There are alot of rock walls and the vegetation is fantastic. In July and August you can pick lots of different berries. When I reach the crest trail at the top I head north and come down Spruce Springs trail to make a loop. Altogether it's about 7 1/2 miles. Spruce Springs is a little longer trail but not as steep so for me it's easyer on the knees. ;-)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This is a very nice trail. It's a pretty steep climb with great views of the Estancia basin. You will pass an area with large rock faces. After 2 miles you will start seeing lots of large aspen groves. Makes for a beautiful fall hike. This trails ends at the crest and a nice view of the back side of the Manzano's. There is not a peak near by.

on Monte Largo Canyon

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

This was a nice walk. We were only able to walk .7 mile. The trail was overgrown in places. We were able to walk around and contine the hike. However; what made us cut our hike very short was signs of BEARS. Many, many, many Very fresh bear scat on trail. The dirt road to the trailhead is good from the black top to TH. The last 3 mile is very rocky. I drove my KIA car, and some places were dicy. We just had to slow down the last 3 miles. At 5 miles from black top there is a cattle guard with a barb wire gate. Please close gate after entering and exiting. At the trailhead is a pipe horse correl at NE corner of the parking area. The parking is a fenced in area. The trail starts at the opening in the pipe fence. The trail starts out flat and rocky. be careful. after the flat area it smooths out to a nice dirt trail. you can either hike on the North or South side of the arroy. The south is shady while the North is an not maintain dirt road. You can not drive on this road. The forest service installed 6 feet monds of dirt to block the road.
We Voted early

Friday, May 11, 2012

This is an OK trail by New Mexico Standards but if you are itching for mountains when it is still kind of cool, then this trail is warmer than most and there are some interesting rock formations. There are some springs that run into cattle tanks here and there and there is a stream bed, but I would not count on the stream. The last time I was there in March it was dry, even though there had been decent snow melt this year.

nature trips
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ox Canyon to Crest Trail 170 to crest trail 170A
We horseback rode this area September 2010. This is a beautiful area with the most variety of topo zones we have ever ridden and we have ridden mountain areas of SD, Wyoming, Colo and northern NM. We camped at the trailhead to Ox Canyon trail # 190. The campground is somewhat primitive compared to Red Canyon campground to the north of this one. But it is less crowded. We had the campground to ourselves. It does have toilets but no water. We watered our horses at a pond not far off the main road. The hike up Ox Canyon is forest with plenty of water seeping out of the ground. Once to the top you're on Crest trail #170. There you will find aspens which were turning colors when we where there. You need to go either left or right (south). South goes to Manzano Mnt the highest peak in the wilderness but you will be able ride/hike right to the top. Crest Trail is the only trail we've ever ridden that allows for views on both sides of the mountain, to the west and to the east. Great views to the west of the Rio Grande valley and Los Lunas. To the east the vast open land reaching out toward Texas. Past the mountain and continuing south you will ride in a burn out area. This is now trail # 170A. After which you will start heading SE. The worst part for horses was a narrow place thru some rocks that was steep and slick. Hikers will have no trouble. Eventually you will get to the campground at Pine Shadow spring. Before that the terrain will switch from pine forest to scub oak, catus and allegator juniper. What a change! How exciting. This would be a steep climb back up if one choose to. We ended up riding forest service road #422 back up to camp at Ox Canyon. This was an alll day ride. Rather then ride the road back we would have prefered to ride trail #73 Cotton Wood springs but for some reason it's closed to horse traffic. This is a fantastic area to hike or ride and the road to get there isn't terrible although high clearance vehicles would be recommended. Manzano Mnt wilderness forest service map is the guide we used along with a gps.

Monday, May 03, 2010

This is great hike. plenty of water in the stream earily in the year. has some nice rock formations. stock tanks and fire pitts line the trail.

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