As Winter graciously brings us highs up to 74 and Spring eagerly awaits her turn you will find most of us Burquenos (term of endearment for those residing in Albuquerque) traipsing around our beloved “Bosque” and Sandias. There are books out there outlining all of the trails within our city limits, but for blog purposes I’m going to cover three of our favorites.
Less than two miles southwest of the Mauger Estate B&B is one of seven entrance points (Tingley Beach Drive) to the Paseo del Bosque Trail, or simply “the Bosque” as we all know her. While this 16-mile trail isn’t the quintessential mountain trail inclining through pines and spruces, it IS one of the best urban trails according to magazines such as Sunset and National Geographic, boasting more than 500 species of animals, and numerous resting areas shaded by Cottonwoods. Bosque is Spanish for forest, and while this forest will challenge your notion of what a forest is, this fairly flat trail (uninterrupted by roadways) will not disappoint. Start early morning or later in the afternoon and enjoy all the colors of the sunrise over the Sandia Mountains, or a sunset only read of. And don’t forget to take that side trail to the riverbank.
Roughly 17 miles east of the Mauger Estate B&B lays that magnificent mountain range – the Sandias. While you could spend a week just hiking around the foothills, my next two trails take you on more intimate adventures … leading you out of the desert and high up into the mountains.
The Pino Trail (#140) sits at the edge of the city and takes you straight up to the Sandia Crest Trail, roughly 10 miles round-trip. Having done this trail I can tell you that it’s one of the steeper ones around, but ascending out of the native cacti and grasses, and into the conifer forest exemplifies Albuquerque’s uniqueness. You may find some ice or snow near the top during this time of the year, but all should clear up around mid-Spring. Bikes are permitted, as are leashed dogs. $2 entrance fee.
Last but certainly not least, the infamous La Luz Trail (#137.) Ask any Burqueno about this trail and while it’s not guaranteed that they’ve completed it, they’ve certainly heard of it! The La Luz Trail is a strenuous hike with an elevation gain of 3,775ft; nine miles up will land you at the Sandia Crest, while eleven miles will get you to the Sandia Tramway – a great way to come back down. After all, you already completed the tough part! Stop by High Finance for a beer (or two) before heading down. I’ve completed this eleven-mile hike and the views are worth every mile. There’s also something to be said for hiking through four different climate zones: Your trip will start off with Pinon Trees and Prickly Pear cacti until mile four when you’re awe-smacked with Ponderosa Pines and Blue Spruce. Shortly after, you scale a rocky draw lined with Aspen … and I won’t ruin the rest for you. Leashed dogs permitted. $3 parking fee.
Simply, and abruptly stated, get outside when visiting Albuquerque, and allow a new part of your soul to wake up suddenly! If you can’t get to one of these trails ask us about others and we will certainly have suggestions. It’s what we do here, and it’s certainly an attribute of Albuquerque that we want to share with others whenever we can! Happy trails …..
Paseo del Bosque info and trail map: http://www.cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/open-space/lands/paseo-del-bosque-trail
Foothills map off of Tramway: http://www.cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/documents/piedralisa.pdf
written and photographed by Carrie