La Luz Trail

HARD 372 reviews

La Luz Trail is a 13.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bernalillo, New Mexico that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options 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
3572 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

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. Trail starts at around 6500' in elevation and is fairly easy walking. Eventually getting steeper with switchbacks and altitude starts to affect you. It doesn't help to rest. Keep moving even at a slow pace. A steady pace will get you to the top in about 3-4 hours. If you dawdle it will take you longer. My druthers is to park a vehicle at the base of Sandia Tram, drive a second vehicle to the La Luz Trailhead, walk up, have lunch at the top and ride the tram down. You could also ride the tram up first and then walk down, or do a shorter hike from the top or the bottom. If you do the whole hike, make sure to bring plenty of water.

hiking
21 days 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
29 days 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
1 month ago

tough hike, but absolutely worth it.

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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!

1 month 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
2 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!

2 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
2 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!

2 months ago

Second time on this trail. Yesterday , I beat my personal time reaching Sandia Tram in 4 hours. The trail has ice and snow at the trail maker with 2.2 miles remaining for the remainder of the trek. The trail is treacherous in parts as the path is right on the ridge line with no margin for a misstep. I did not have microspikes but those would have been beneficial. The snow and ice increased the time of the hike, but I wanted to be deliberate in my steps. Once past the last switchback, only a little snow, mostly mud until the end.

I will have to go again in the summer when conditions are less treacherous and to improve my time. Be safe and go prepared. Regardless of your reason for the hike, whether to take your time and enjoy the views, or to improve your personal time, this hike is one of the best.

hiking
2 months ago

The views are amazing, the microclimates startling, the rocky switchbacks hard on the feet, but the reward at the top is well worth it. Whatever amount of water you think you should bring, bring more. Have fun!!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a fun trail! I’m from Colorado, but I’ve been living in Florida for the past year...so I made sure to bring a ton of water. I finished the la luz trail in about 3 hours and I was going at a steady pace. I should have stopped more to take photos, but I get in a zone! There was still some snow at the top, but I was just in tennis shoes and I felt perfectly safe going up. Although if I would have gone down it I would have liked something with a bit more grip. None of the drops bothered me much because you had plenty of trail and most the time there were trees, not like a shear drop on both sides like some trails. I will definitely spend some more time hiking around this area.

Note-if going down the tram, park your car there for a couple bucks and hike the tramway trail to the start of la luz. It adds a couple of miles at the beginning of the hike, but they aren’t hard miles and it makes it nice to not have to walk those after taking the tram down!

2 months ago

Anyone on here know if the ice has melted yet. I want to go on sat but crampons are a bit to expensive for us.

2 months ago

nice! big rocks , challenging

hiking
3 months ago

This trail rocks! Did the full 13.5 miles in 5.25 hours. We hit the trailhead at 1:30 pm, got to the top by 4:15, stopped long enough for a quick snack, then jogged to the bottom. I was at my car by 6:45! Great ass kicker!

Be safe and have fun.

hiking
3 months ago

I did La Luz today, March 17, 2018. I am from Indiana, a Flatlander they call us Hoosiers. I am glad I took advice to get poles and microspikes while visiting Albuquerque last year. They were invaluable today. I traveled from Tram connection trail to La Luz and up to the tram. The views are inspiring and I learned much from a local who hiked with me. The different biomes that one travels though on this hike are a welcome feeling as I felt as though I enter different forests all on one hike. Take time to look back at where you came from to see many formations. Always be careful and bring spikes when attempting while snow and ice are still on the trails, as they were today. I saw one person at the tram fall and cut their hand open and suggest that they wished they had had my poles and spikes. If one were to fall on the LaLuz, it could result in death. Be careful and be rewarded.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail kicked my ass and scared me stiff on that last two miles to the tram. I started at 1 pm and didn’t get to the tram until 6:30. I had to do the scariest part in the dark. Make sure you leave enough time to get to the tram before dark and bring poles and micro spikes if there is snow and ice. Seriously. People die on this trail from falls.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike yesterday. It was my first time ever doing a hike. I was born and raised in FL and have been here for a week so the altitude certainly made breathing a little difficult. In the canyon there is still a good bit of snow and I had no poles or spikes but I made it to the top. Beautiful views throughout. Took the tram down and Uber to car.

3 months ago

Done 2/4/18. Great weather for the hike. The last 2.75 miles we’re snowpack that had melted and frozen. Pretty slippery in spots, yak tracks would’ve been the bees knees.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! It's a steady incline the whole way but easier than we expected. There's currently snow on the second half, but it's still passable with poles.

hiking
4 months ago

Gorgeous views throughout most the hike! Quit a workout.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Very rewarding to complete! Awesome views!

5 months ago

I love this trail!!

hiking
5 months ago

Great New Years Day hike.

5 months ago

Great New Year’s hike, no snow as of yet.

5 months ago

cool trail

5 months ago

Beautiful scenery... only went halfway up due to a late start but plan on hiking it again!

5 months ago

Hiked it twice in late July of 2015 and again in 2016 from the lower tram to the upper tram. The first time at the age of 73 with my two sons and then with my eldest son and his eldest son aged 12. A great hike both times despite the fact that we got caught in an electrical storm half way up the rock slide that must be traversed 17 Times. I would rate it hard, because of the rock slide crossings, if you don’t have trekking poles, easy enough if you do.

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