North Crest Trail

HARD 28 reviews
#10 of 32 trails in

North Crest Trail is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Placitas, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers 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
10.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4511 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

1 month ago

Easy trail with outstanding views.

hiking
2 months ago

This is one of my favorites now. It’s a pretty good elevation gain but feels less strenuous than La Luz because it’s a longer trail so the climb is spread out. It’s a good blend of covered forest and open scrub. Probably a good idea to wear pants as that scrub takes a few layers off. There is still snow on the trail on the top 2 or 3 miles (March 30) but micro spikes weren’t a necessity. There are a few spots with spectacular views but most of the crest trail is set back a bit from the edge - unlike the top of La Luz. I hiked from the bottom to the tram (a little over 12 miles) in about 6.5 hours. Don’t plan on catching an Uber if your want to hop off around mile 10. Better to have someone pick you up or just walk the extra few cushy miles to the tram. It’s a pretty good workout so bring plenty of water and some poles. Oh and I saw a bobcat which was awesome! Even better - saw no bears : )

hiking
5 months ago

This was the kind of trail that, for me, taught me a few things. At just shy of 7 hours, it was pretty grueling. In fact, the last 4 hours were grueling. 2 caveats to that: I’m from sea level. I hiked to the South peak and back, covering about 15 miles a few days earlier.

Another important point about the North Crest Trail was that the road to the trailhead was too washed out for my mother in laws low profile car to get me all the way there, so I had to hike an extra 1/4 mi or so at the beginning.

By the end, my knees were hurting pretty badly every time I lifted my legs up to take a step and even worse whenever I had to walk down hill or, God forbid, down anything that looked like a step. For the last 2 miles I was pretty focused on completion and was leaning VERY heavily on two sticks that I had picked up along the way.

My plan was to walk down La Luz when I got there. Ha! The arrogance! The fallback plan was to walk along the ridge the additional 2 miles and take the tram down. No way I could have walked any further than the peak. I ended up hitching a ride back to ABQ from the parking lot at the peak.

So... I learned to not try to save weight while traveling if I plan to hike, I absolutely need walking sticks for any kind of serious hike. I learned that a 4,000 foot gain qualifies as serious. I probably should have been fresher for this and not recovering from a hike earlier in the week. And included Tylenol in my day pack.

I’d do it again though. The trail was empty and beautiful.

hiking
7 months ago

I loved this hike. I started on the North Crest and finished the loop in the same spot that I started following the Agua Sarca Trail. I didnt record it but will soon. I hiked the first half and met the Agua Sarca Trail which is a there and back with a long tail that is very hard due to navagation. There were definitely hard spots on both! Steep rocky terrain, but its well worth the pain just for the PT, views and pics! After hiking half way up the NCT I followed a few well placed cairns and a bearing and found my way to the Agua Sarca Trail. I wouldnt recommend this way for someone who doesnt know how to read a map and compass. Basic land nav. is a must on this one. I needed to recheck my bearing several times during the portion. Again I was using a map and didnt have this wonderful app on this phone, but easy enough. I hiked a bit thru the bush. The trail was hard to see but manageable. I finished where I started at the Agua Sarca, North Crest and Tight Rope TH's. Take this variation, its a great hike with amazing pictures. I recommend a lunch and all of your own water, cooking as well, because its sparse on this one. I carried a pack that was roughly 30lbs with 4l of water, my lunch, my cookware and a few other SHTF items just incase. I do recommend a lunch. It took me about 7 or so hours. Ill take this one again soon and track it juat incase it hasent been... but Im sure it has. I hope this helps! See out out there.

hiking
Monday, April 17, 2017

Took this out and back hike beginning with the Ojo Del Orno Trail at the Tunnel Spring trail head instead of the longer Crest Trail. The Ojo Trail intersects the Crest Trail after .8 miles of difficult steep hiking but does save about an hour. Continuing to head south on the Crest Trail spectacular views of the western Rio Grand Valley open up in multiple places during this hike to 10,000 feet. The most awesome gnarly Aspen forest at nearly 10000 feet took my breath away. Snow drifts on the trail to North Sandia Peak discouraged me from going the last 500 feet. This trail will not disappoint.

hiking
Monday, November 14, 2016

Started out on the North Crest and ventured back via Agua Sarca for a pretty challenging 13 mile day hike. Stunning views. Best trail in late spring and early autumn.

Being plenty of water. Wear shoes/boots with good, thick tread as there are many spots with sketchy stability and the trail is considerably rocky in many areas. The finished portions of the trail are often filled with baseball sized stones. After a few hours these will kill your feet in regular shoes.

hiking
Sunday, September 25, 2016

North Crest Trail is a very nice hike with a lot of variety. We started just after 8AM and ended by being picked up by a car at the top of the Sandia Crest. 10.3 miles and pretty amazing elevation gain (as the images will show). It took us just over 5 hours.
My friend from Canada near sea level was a trooper. Since I was stopping to take pictures fairly often he led the way and was in several of my shots. Mid September was a good time to hike because it was cool and the leaves were changing.
The trail is fairly well marked and has some really special views of the Sandia range and Albuquerque as well as mountains to the north, west and east. Enjoy!

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recorded knife Edge

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Friday, November 07, 2014