Explore the most popular hiking trails near Placitas with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful trail...

Super easy. Was beautiful and green on that side of the mountain, just wish it was longer or at least another trail similar close by.

12 days ago

It probably wouldn’t be so bad in winter but not a great summer hike. Indecent amounts of exposure and views weren’t that great. There are many trails that are much better in the Sandias.

Easy and fun hike. Plenty of shade from the trees and the cave makes a great extra for kids to explore.

Did the first 4 miles today. Going back tomorrow to do it all.

Fun hike! Some very steep inclines, and some rough footing, which to me is what makes it fun. Beautiful views. Must pay very close attention to the trail as it's not really marked and can be confusing in spots. It's nice that it is shady for long stretches.

hiking
2 months ago

Hard to find the trailhead but the trail is fun. Take a left before the yellow cattle guard.

If you zoom in on the Agua Sarca map you can see and follow the full route to the intersection with the North Crest Trail. (Note: at the early Y in the trail you want to go left and at the stone fireplace you want to go to the right.) From the parking lot this is about 3 miles one way. You can then make a loop taking the North Crest Trail back (6.7 miles) or use the Ojo del Orno shortcut (zoom in, it’s the unnamed path straight back to the parking lot that cuts off the big curve in the North Crest Trail). Ojo del Orno is 0.8 miles long and takes you down 1000 ft over some loose rock but it cuts off 2.5 miles. Of course you could do the hike in the other direction. A much longer loop hike would be to continue on the North Crest Trail after Agua Sarca to the Ellis Trail to Osha Loop to Penasco Blanco back to the North Crest Trail (0.7 miles into the return loop above). This loop with Ojo del Orno seems to be at least 11 miles and goes from 6350 ft to almost 9800 ft. Yeah, it’s the one I did. Nice hike with plenty of high country meadow and forest and you go through Osha Spring.

We have done many hikes on our road trip thus far and this was by far the worst hike we've done. There were many times where the trail was completely covered by bushes and the Del Agua loop especially had a lot of bugs. I got stung by something while climbing down rocks on the Del Agua loop. A lot of steep uphills for a moderate trail, and we could not have been happier to be out of the trail when we finished.

This was terrible I don’t know why it has good reviews. Was super steep and slippery uphill for the first mile, especially for a moderate trail. Both parts were poorly marked and we wandered off the trail a few times before having to use this map to find it again. Parts of Del Agua were completely covered in bushes and we had to sprint through them. Anti climatic peak, we didn’t even know we had reached the turn around. 0/10 would not recommend or do again.

Easy trail with outstanding views.

Great hiking trail. Nice views. The first mile is moderately difficult as it consists of a fairly steep incline, narrow trail with a sizeable drop-off on the side along with loose gravel. We had to stop occasionally to catch our breath. The second half was easier, especially since you go on a different trail (Del Agua) on the way downhill since it's a loop. The trail is fairly well-marked. You will see a sign for Del Agua, just make sure to turn right (where the sign points out Del Agua) as that is the second part of the loop. Towards the end, you will turn right into a trail called Tightrope, which ends up into Piedra Lisa and right where you started. The Del Agua trail has slightly confusing parts as it splits into two smaller trails but those usually join up fairly quickly back into one trail so it's fairly easy to follow along.

There were a few bugs, esp when we got higher up in elevation and around the mossy areas. But we didn't really need bug spray. We also didn't see any bears or rattlesnakes. Although there is some shade in some areas, I still recommend wearing sunscreen.

My only complaint is that during certain parts of the trail, I had to push away some small trees and shrubs and they were grown along the trail. Also there was quite a bit of cacti really close to and along the trail so watch out for those.

When you drive, there is a mile or two of dirt roads (follow google maps gps it's very accurate) before you get to the trailhead. The dirt roads are a bit rocky and there is a hill you have to watch out for. After going down that hill, keep going until you see a small bathroom stall.

We took our dog (2.5 yr old cattle dog mix) and she did fabulous. It's a great hike for canines. Took us 2-2.5 hours to hike.

Enjoyed this hike with my family on Mother’s Day. Beautiful views. My sons 9 and 11 enjoyed the trek as well.

hiking
3 months ago

The drive in was beautiful! We came in from Cedar Crest lots of people out and enjoying the stream. Saw some deer. I was afraid the road was going to be terrible NY reading other reviews it was not that bad. we saw lots of cars. it is rocky in some spots and there are some ruts but I wouldn't be afraid to take a car on it. The trail was easy. It was narrow in some spots which was nerve racking with littles. The views though were amazing and worth the climb. The staircase was a fun touch and the cave was awesome especially for the kids. The dust is awful so bring masks and flashlights. If you're not claustrophobic or afraid to get dirty you can go pretty far back.

This trail is really short and easy, but totally worth it. At the end is a metal spiral staircase that leads up to a catwalk that goes into the caves. It’s a little nerve wracking to be up on the catwalk, but the views more than make up for it. Keep in mind that the road leading to the trailhead is extremely rocky and not the best for passenger cars. And if you want to explore deeper into the caves be sure to bring a flashlight!

The Piedra Lisa part of the hike was really nice with a lot of variation in foliage and trees, however the Del Agua trail was really convoluted and hard to follow, with multiple small trails all seeming to lead to the right spot but don’t in actuality. The trail certainly lived up to its name because it was overrun by a stream in the upper parts of the trail. Overall an enjoyable hike with a good length, just make sure to keep to the left at the beginning of the Piedra Lisa, for if you keep right you’ll end up climbing up rocks through a natural arroyo, something I discovered for myself.

hiking
4 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
4 months ago

Super rocky but beautiful views

Found this trail by accident and loved it! Someone told me you can go 1/2 mile into the cave.

Day hike perfection for me and the dog. Going up PL then down DA is my preferred route. Nice climb up with good views along the way. Down Del Aqua is a hoot with some rocky sections that take all fours and it lives up to its name as it runs with or along the stream.

Great hike!

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful Hike! Make sure to bring a mask and flashlight if you want to explore the cave.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful Trail, but wasn't extremely well marked...Also, pretty sure that it was longer than 3.5 miles...Or maybe we got off the trail somewhere? The views were fantastic! Definitely worth the hike! The road going up is rough, so make sure you have a worthy car!

For a moderate trail, it sure seemed hard! On the Piedra Lisa side, it was slow going because of all the loose rock and it was quite steep. The Del Agua side was quite fun, with lots of boulders to scramble down and varied landscape. Both sides offer amazing views and unique hiking.

great adventure.

Little over a half mile from parking to the cave. Make sure you take a dust mask if you go over the half wall.know your physical limitations in the cave. My son and I had a blast.

hiking
7 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.

Was a good hike, but take a durable car up. The road is rough to get to the trail.

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