La Luz Trail

HARD 420 reviews

La Luz Trail is a 13.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Albuquerque, New Mexico that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,572 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

snow

This trail at the north end of the Sandias goes from the base of the mountain to the peak at 10,678'. Beautiful views of the Albuquerque valley to the west.

hiking
1 day ago

Amazing hike!! Super windy day, but so enjoyable. Took roughly 6 hours to the top and back down. From mile 5 on is very snowy and icy. Just take your time and bring lots of water. Highly recommend this trail!

hiking
3 days ago

I've done this hike a few times. it's really enjoyable but does make you work. the hardest part I think is hiking over the loose rocks and switch backs towards the end.

6 days ago

Great hike! I’ve gone both directions and going down is harder in the joints. Very rewarding and challenging hike. Tops out at over 10k feet. I do this hike at least once a year! Takes a group of us five hours to go up.

12 days ago

Easily the best hike in the area! The views of the mountains are incredible.

19 days ago

Great day for la luz!

25 days ago

I hate switchbacks (around mile 7), but I’ve done this trail several times. Absolutely worth it!

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful but challenging trail. Started at the lower Tramway Trail so we were 5 Miles in when we met La Luz. I don’t advise that unless you are well prepared. The trail seems easy at the beginning but there are challenging elevated rocky areas to climb so wear appropriate boots. Take plenty of water (we did 6 liters and it was just right) and snacks. It needs so maintenance in some areas but that’s part of the fun. Don’t be shy about taking breaks! We did 23 Miles total between 4 trials and it took 7 hours.

1 month ago

I only went halfway up but it was easy to stay on trail and find your way . I would recommend doing in the early morning as the first 2.5-3 miles of hiking is on the west side which is very sunny in the afternoon. Great for those wanting variety in elevation and not afraid to climb around rocks on switch backs.

1 month ago

Tough trail but worth it

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, and very convenient to the city. It’s not for the faint of heart, however. If you move at a brisk pace and don’t take any breaks, 2 hours to the top is doable. From there, it’s about 20 minutes to either the tram or the Crest House, depending on which way you go. The Crest House has great views of the city and eastern New Mexico. And if you’re a daredevil like me, you can climb the communications towers for even better views! I start at 6:00, get to the top by 8:00, tool around on the top for 45 minutes to an hour, and get back down around 11:00. Starting early is the key to success on this trail.

1 month ago

Good views of ABQ on the way up. My gps tracked nearly 17 miles round trip to the top at the junction of the crest trail. It's a moderately steep climb. I started at 930AM. Got to the top at 12:45PM and ate lunch until around 1. I arrived at the lower parking lot at 415PM. I took a lot of photographs and some small side tours, but no breaks except lunch. Once you reach the so called 5 mile marker, the remainder gets difficult with a lot of granite rock crosses and switchbacks for miles which could be very slippery if wet.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Great views when you get far enough into the forest. Plenty of rain has made this trail very green with wildflowers. The last 3 miles are well shaded so I recommend taking a light jacket. Definitely a hard hike with plenty of rocky spots and uphill areas. Taking the tram back down is worth it. Pack lots of water.

2 months ago

Need more trail markers , otherwise beautiful trail

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months ago

Great trail.

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
3 months ago

Lots of trail closures in the Cibola National Forest due to lack of rain. Check before you go.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked up the trail on Memorial Day. I began at the trail head parking lot at 6:45am, but didn't reach the top until noon. I lost about two hours helping another hiker who was doing the trail for the first time. Poor guy almost passed out on his way to the top as he wasn't used to the elevation spike. I got to the top and took a break for 45 mins and hiked back down. I arrived at the parking lot by 4pm. Total miles= 18, calories burned 2,000, steps walked over 40K. I would recommend beginning the hike early in the morning this time of year, otherwise you'll be getting the brunt of the sun hiking back down. It was a great hike, awesome workout & fantastic views. If you pay attention to where you are going, you won't get lost. This was my first time hiking the trail. Challenging for sure. Definitely not for novices.

hiking
4 months ago

I started at the Tramway Trailhead and connected with La Luz trail to the top of Sandia Crest (3.5 hours, 4,960 ft elevation climb). From there i took the trail along the peak over to Kiwanis Cabin (20 minutes) - which if you haven't been there I'd highly recommend! The views from where it sits are amazing, and the cabin itself is pretty cool considering the history. After that I made my way to the Sandia Peak Tramway (30 minutes) and rode the tram back down. Overall the hike was 10 miles. The weather was perfect, however at the top i had to put my sweater on due to the very crisp breeze (it didn't help that my clothes were damp from all the sweating). This trail doesn't require a lot of caution or technique, but stamina and determination are definitely a must! Bring plenty of water!

hiking
5 months ago

tough hike, but absolutely worth it.

5 months ago

Disregard Danny Faley’s review - he took the trail to Sandia Crest NOT to the tram so he missed the long section of dropoffs. There is a point at the trail where you can go left to the Kiwanis Cabin and Crest House or right to the Tram - he went left. The dropoffs are on the last bit before the tram. I’ve hiked this trail numerous times now. And yes - people have fallen to their deaths on this particular trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail. Parked at base of tram and took easy hike to trailhead. 9.5 miles to tram at top in total Trail in great shape but watch rock slide areas. Hiking boots recommended for slide areas to keep from rolling ankles. Sea level guy - heart and lungs were working hard. Time was 4:15.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked from the trail head to the tram in about 5 hrs. Flew in from Portland two days earlier...the elevation change kicked my butt! Great cool hike...only a few patches of snow. A little breezy at the top. I grew up in Albuquerque and never hiked the total trail. Glad I finally did it!

5 months ago

We started from the base of the Tram, using the Tramway Trail to connect to La Luz Trail—easy grade, nice views, and the trail was very well-marked. I am old and fat and my hiking partner is a sea-level flatlander, so the last 2.5 miles was...challenging, over rock scrambles with some ice. The open face areas of the trail were quite windy, and our worst nightmare would have been the tram not running, because we were not in any shape to do the return hike. Thankfully tram was operating and we suggest a blood orange margarita at the restaurant at the tram base.

hiking
6 months ago

Climbed on April 15. There was minimal snow on the trail and I made it to the top in a pair of running shoed just fine. Coming from around sea level less than 24 hours before, the last portion of the hike got pretty difficult due to the altitude. I started at the bottom of the tram and took the tramway trail to get to La Luz. Then, I diverted off to the crest spur trail to Sandia Crest, which has a restaurant and bathrooms. From Sandia Crest, I took the South Crest Trail to the tram and rode it down. With breaks, it took me 7 hours to get to the top.

I was curious how technically difficult it would be and how scary the trail would be but 99% of the trail is a nice dirt/rock path. At the tight zigzag in the middle of the trail, there are rocks/boulders that you have to walk over. This is where people with dogs turned around. None of the trail required any scrambling, just walking uphill. At no point did I find myself in a place where I felt that one slip could send me off a cliff. There were lots of trees and bushes bordering the trail and where there wasn't, the slope wasn't that steep and the trail was plenty wide enough for comfort.

I had cell phone reception the whole way up, though just barely. Google maps has the trail outlined on it and even if you don't have service, the GPS will still show you where you are via the blue dot. I used it to make sure I stayed on the path.

Be sure you're up for the challenge, as it's a long way down if you get near the top and realize you can't make it. The altitude and length are what makes this a tough climb.

Hope this info helps. Be safe and have a great climb!

6 months ago

First trail in New Mexico. April 10th still had lots of snow on Albuquerque facing side. Took to much time before I turned back. Finished the last mile or so in the dark. Wasn't bad toward the bottom but could have been tricky on the snow and ice. Great first test for the abilities of a flatlander to handle New Mexico hiking. Enjoy.

hiking
6 months ago

Second time on this trail, only did 2 miles previously so wanted to challenge myself. Me and my dog went up on Easter took the round trip of going up and down. Theres still a good amount of snow last couple miles up so a good pair of hiking shoes is recommended. It's a tough hike but the scenery and the views from a top are worth every minute of it. Go conquer the mountain!

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