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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.

Length 10.1 mi Elevation gain 4,511 ft Route type Point to Point

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Snow

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (66)
Photos (317)
Recordings (62)
Completed (132)
JT J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020
Horseback riding

There is a couple trees down about a mile and half in that hikers can get through but you’ll need a saw to cut through a small downed tree to make it past that point otherwise.

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Jenny Lievois
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 25, 2020
HikingBlowdownSnow

Awesome hike. We encountered some deep patches of snow and a couple of blown down trees about two miles from the top. We stopped a half a mile from the end at a great look out and then turned around and went back. Amazing views, cute flowers, cute lizards, easy to follow trail until you get to the snow, but even then it’s not hard to find.

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Ginae Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2020
HikingIcyMuddySnow

Still very snow covered, sunk to my knee in a few spots. A little muddy when you pass the meet point of the 10k Trail. Enjoyable otherwise. Didn’t do the entire trail, went about 3 miles, had lunch and turned back. Definitely less snow the further north we went (drop in elevation)

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Scott McNeil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2019
Hiking

Hiked from the North Peak overlook to the Crest.

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Robinson Worley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 14, 2019
HikingSnow

great hike. a little bit long, and the last two miles to the top or covered in snow. and there was a lot of blown down trees. I don't know that I would do this in the summer as it's pretty exposed at the beginning and end of the loop.

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Stuart Merrill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 7, 2019

my first time up today and love the trail - partly cloudy day temp around 60 <-> a little windy as usual in this area. Great vistas along the way- very peaceful :) I went almost halfway up - next time all the way to the Crest!!

Donna S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 4, 2019
Hiking

This hike has beautiful open views. Some other folks have written about the rocks. Beware, there have been past landslides which contributed to the rocky trail. It is definitely worth all the energy and danger. Please keep dogs on leash. I passed several people with dogs running ahead of the owners. Some dogs are aggressive with strangers.

JC Carlyle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 1, 2019
Backpacking

My first backpacking trip. I was dropped off before the road entered the national forest. I didn't make it as far as I was hoping, but the weather was perfect. The trail was muddy in quite a few spots. I didn't see anyone else while I was out there.

Ryan Brunner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 21, 2019
Hiking

Had to turn back after 6 miles due to the snow getting too deep. Except for the first couple of miles there was a bunch of snow. I would recommend cross skies for those of you with a pair.

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Larisa Holiday
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 19, 2019
Hiking

This hike is fun any season. The road getting there is bumpy, we usually get there by truck. It’s a tough steep hike from start, which is nice, it gets easier as you go up. Haven’t made the whole hike yet, because it takes too long, maybe one day

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Tim Murphy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2018
Hiking

Nice hike with SNOW in places! Recent wind had knocked some trees and branches, but was passable!

Angela Coletta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 4, 2018
Hiking
Ryan Church
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Did the first 4 miles today. Going back tomorrow to do it all.

Jackie Sena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2018

Easy trail with outstanding views.

Karyn Boatman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 1, 2018
Hiking

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 : )

Weston Brad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 7, 2018
Hiking

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.

Aaron Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 22, 2017
Hiking

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.

Tim Schvaneveldt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 17, 2017
Hiking

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.

Justin Sturgis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2016
Hiking

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.

Paul Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2016
Hiking
First to Review

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!

Daneen Gronewald
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
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Karen Daniel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
Hiking
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Roman Varela
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020
Hiking
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Kelly Seyal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 29, 2020
Hiking
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Daniel Coops
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 2, 2020
Hiking
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Matthew Kerr
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Hiking
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J M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 26, 2020
Hiking
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