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Just east of Albuquerque are the most visited mountains in New Mexico. Millions of people journey into the Sandia Mountains each year. More than half these visitors ride the Sandia Peak Tram or drive the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway to take in spectacular panoramic views of Central New Mexico and to enjoy many other recreational opportunities. The Four Seasons Visitor Center offers year round interpretive exhibits and seasonal programs at the upper Tram Building. The Scenic Byway has several newly remodeled picnic grounds with shelters and group areas for reservation. The National Fee Project is currently in operation for all developed sites on the Scenic Byway and along the west and north sides of the district in the Juan Tabo, Basin, and Las Huertas Canyon Areas. A daily amenity fee of $3.00 is required for all vehicles parking in designated, developed recreation sites around the District. An annual pass is favorable, with particular support given to the concept of fees staying available to the unit where they are collected. The Sandias are part of the signature of Albuquerque's unique sense of place. They serve as a premier open space refuge to a population of over 700,000 people in the extended metropolitan area. Over one-third of the State's school-age population lives within an hour's drive of the Sandias, and there is a great demand for fire prevention, fire ecology, and other environmental education programs. Sandia Mountain is a landmark in the spiritual universe of many active traditional Indian beliefs. It is regularly visited for ceremonial purposes by the Sandia Pueblo and at least annually by many other pueblos. It also has direct ties to Spanish land grant communities established by the King of Spain in the 1700's and Mexican land grants from the 1820's. Some Spanish land grants adjoining the Sandias are still active. Water sources are not only sacred to Indian beliefs, but also played a key role in sustaining the agricultural bases of the land grant communities. Several ditch systems still function today, including one actively maintained in Las Huertas Canyon as an "acequia madre" for a community's agricultural water. These traditional communities are encountering greater conflicts with the growing recreational uses of the Sandias. The lesser-known southern part of the District includes the Manzanita Mountains, which form a low ridge between the Manzano Mountains to the south and the Sandias to the north. A portion of this area is in the Military Withdrawal, where public use has been restricted since 1943. The Military Withdrawal and adjacent Forest Service land has been the subject of intensive ecosystem planning to reduce fuel loads and the risk of wildfire, to enhance wildlife habitat and ecosystem health, and to improve recreational opportunities.

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.

Nice quiet trail with butterflys and hummingbirds . Falls are trickling today.

easy and good trail for even first day

Need more trail markers , otherwise beautiful trail

Quick and easy. You can walk to the top of the “falls” and get a pretty view as well.

Super easy. Was beautiful and green on that side of the mountain, just wish it was longer or at least another trail similar close by.

It probably wouldn’t be so bad in winter but not a great summer hike. Indecent amounts of exposure and views weren’t that great. There are many trails that are much better in the Sandias.

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
8 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.

Great hike. Beautiful views.

10 days ago

Great trail.

Easy and fun hike. Plenty of shade from the trees and the cave makes a great extra for kids to explore.

hiking
16 days ago

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

hiking
17 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
19 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.

Did the first 4 miles today. Going back tomorrow to do it all.

The area will need a lot of rain to get that waterfall going again. The creek above the cave is barely trickling. My app measured .6 miles to the cave o/w.

hiking
20 days ago

We did the trail at 7am in July, and it was very quiet and shady. Although the terrain is a gentle climb, there is a lot of crushed rock, which would be challenging for those with balance problems. Worth it to proceed past the falls, but there is a short, steep incline that would be difficult for children.

hiking
22 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

When you turn off to go up to the waterfall the trail becomes much more rugged. I did not make it all the way to the end. About half way you have to scramble up side rocks and I was not going to try it while packing my son.

Steep, scenic, alone.

wouldn't call it a waterfall...

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.

Lovely views. No shade so go when it’s cool. Nice trail for dogs.

on Osha Loop Trail

1 month ago

Whole area closed due to high fire hazard.

The hike itself is pretty and the trail connects with the crest trail which will lead you faulty trail. If you’re expecting to see a waterfall you will be disappointed... However, the views and small cave were awesome!

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