South Crest Trail

HARD 15 reviews
#21 of 51 trails in

South Crest Trail is a 13.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Cedar Crest, 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 October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,678 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

over grown

snow

This trail is the southern portion of the Crest Trail (#130), beginning at the Upper Tram Terminal and descending down to the Canyon Estates trailhead near Tijeras. This trail is useful for those who wish to complete the 26 mile Crest Trail in segments.

hiking
4 months ago

I did a loop trail to South Peak going up the CCC Route and back on the South Crest Trail, which is about 11.5 miles. There’s now a small cairn marking the CCC Route off the South Crest Trail just past the sign for the Upper Faulty Trail, but it’s simpler to just take the Upper Faulty Trail and turn left at the big pile of rocks immediately in front of you.

See my recording for the trail to South Peak off of the South Crest Trail. It is marked by a sign. What is now marked by a small cairn is a great back way off this trail (also on the recording). You head across a field with the trail only sometimes visible and then into the forest (quite steep at first). The wind is blocked as you go through the aspens and past some nice rock formations to come out right at the top of South Peak! The return loop can be the usual trail to Embudito and then left to join the Crest Trail.

The CCC Route is 1.7 miles and gains 1720 ft in the process, from 7600 to 9320 ft elevation. There are only a few “steps” and no real switchbacks, so
mostly you are just hiking the grade, which never gets super-steep like Oso Ridge or Hawk Watch (two other great trails that can be made into loops and include South Peak). The CCC Route opens up to a rocky expanse in a few places and I turned on the recorder to find the trail.

Be sure to check out Travertine Falls and the rock cave off the South Crest Trail before the Faulty Trail turnoff on the way up (there’s a sign for both these trails). The trail to Travertine Falls rejoins the South Crest Trail and actually cuts a little off of it. It’s the loop on the recording.

hiking
4 months ago

I’m happy I did this trail but won’t be doing it again. It’s the least charming of the longer Sandia trails. The middle portion of the trail is poorly maintained, filled with overgrown scrub and dead trees blocking the trail and the creepy shack in the least hiked section of the trail was eerie. I wasn’t really paying attention to the topo map so each descent that was followed by another grueling climb became a little demoralizing after the third or forth time. The last few miles to the tram were a steady incline and the map in AllTrails was wrong at one point so I ended up doubling back to find the actual trail. (& This is totally my fault but I didn’t check to make sure the tram was running and when I got there it was closed for maintenance so I hiked another two miles in the dark (with headlamp thankfully) through pitch black snowy forest to the north crest and got a ride back down the mountain. All told it was closer to a 17 or 18 mile hike. The Forest Service map says the South Crest Trail is 15.97 miles but AllTrails says 13.9 - not sure which is correct but the AllTrails map errors on this trail make me thing the park services map is the more accurate. Happy to say I’ve now section hiked the full crest but will skip the south portion in the future.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

very good view

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Nice hike with some great views once you get to the top.

hiking
Wednesday, November 02, 2016

I went out exploring the area (new to New Mexico) and I stumbled across this trail. I didn't finish it by any means but the portion I hiked was a lot of fun! Really beautiful views, especially now since it's Autumn. It's a long hike but even if you do part of it, it's worth it! I'd love to complete it sometime.

backpacking
1 month ago

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11 months ago