Old hikes of the month
Since January of 1997, Cibola SAR newsletters have usually contained a "Hike
of the Month" that were intended to give members an opportunity to get
familiar with trails in the area around Albuquerque. Our earliest Hikes of
the Month contained detailed descriptions of these hikes to allow members to
find the route when not hiking with the team on the indicated dates. These
are reproduced here for archival purposes. Those with hiking dates prior to
April 1998 are written by John Mindock, most of those with later dates by Susan
Corban. Hikes that did not include detailed trail descriptions are not
Hiking times listed here are somewhat optimistic, and many assume hiking at a
fairly brisk pace. On hikes containing UTM coordinates, all are in UTM zone
13S and most are referenced to the NAD27 geodetic datum (consistent with maps
commonly available when the hike was written). Please note that recently
printed maps use a different datum (NAD83), so convert accordingly after
consulting your map collar.
Furthermore, the UTM coordinates given are
generally specified in kilometers (as one might read them off of a topo map)
and not meters (the way you would normally find them on GPS unit displays).
This is in keeping with what was common practice on the team during the period
these were written, when GPS units were not very common. To convert to
coordinates you can enter into a GPS directly, multiply northings and eastings
by 1000. Remember to set your GPS to NAD27 before you do that!
DISCLAIMER: These hiking descriptions are provided for informational
purposes only, and Cibola Search and Rescue makes no warranty, express or
implied, that the descriptions given are suitable for navigation purposes.
Persons taking these hikes must assume all responsibility for their own safety
and preparedness. Cibola Search and Rescue disclaims all liability for persons
lost or injured while following these directions.
Copyright and Disclaimer:: The contents of this website and
the newsletter contained here are copyright © 1996-2006 by their respective
authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles
represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation,
express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained
in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for
any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles made available at this
website may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the
author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other
Blue Ribbon Trail (#236)
Chamiso, Cedro Ridge Meadow ridge, meadow
Lower Juan Tabo Canyon
South Piedra Lisa Trail to Del Agua Junction
Domingo Baca and TWA Canyon
Canyon Estates, South Crest, and CCC trails
Cienega, South Crest, Canoncito, Faulty trails
Otero Canyon area
Tunnel Springs and North Crest Trail
Three-Gun Springs to South Sandia Peak
Armijo Canyon and vicinity
Whitewash Trail area
Manzano Peak via Red Canyon and Ox Canyon Loop
Bosque Peak via Bosque Trail and Trail Canyon
CCC to South Peak
Manzano Loop: Trail Canyon Trail to Bosque Trail
Oak Flat/Juan Tomas Loop
Bear Canyon Hike and Map and Compass Practice
Mora Flats and Hamilton Mesa Loop (Pecos)
|Hike of the Month||Blue Ribbon Trail (#236)||0900, January 25-26, 1997|
|Trailhead:||Otero Canyon, South 14, 3.8 miles South of Old 66, West Side|
|R.T. Distance: @6 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6900/7500|
|Hiking Time @3 hours||Hazards: Speeding mountain bikers|
|Topos: Sedillo, Escabosa|
Trail #236 has been re-routed for erosion control purposes. To get to the new
route, travel 5 minutes down trail #56. Stay on #56 for a few yards beyond the
sign for Trail #15. At the bottom of the arroyo, Trail #56 will continue
straight ahead, while Trail #236 (no sign) will make a switchback up the hill
on your left. (UTM 374.796, 3877.145)
From there, it will switch back a few more times and then finally head 'south'
along the high mesa that is west of Cedro Village. About 15 minutes from the
trailhead, on the left side of the 'switch' of the last switchback, you'll see
the cut tree limbs attempting to block the old route for Trail #236.
The trail is somewhat obscure through a few places, but soon meets up with a
newly-constructed logging road. From here, just follow the logging road (for an
hour) until you come to the obvious junction with an 'east-west' road. There
will be a sign on your right, facing away from you, with Trail #236 depicted as
heading to your right and indicating that you came from Trail #106! (UTM
At the junction, you will also notice a sign for Trail #321 off to your left.
Going further down past that sign would get you to the entrance to David Canyon.
Returning from the junction, note a trail which you passed on the way in, and
which goes off to your left. That is actually Trail #236 and explains how you
ended up on Trail #106.
At various places along the route there will be spur roads and trails. Most of
these just rejoin the road further up, but a few lead off to other trails. For
this trek, stay on the road - you may want to explore a few spurs on subsequent
trips (and in warmer weather).
|Hike of the Month||Chamiso, Cedro Ridge, Meadow Ridge, Meadow Trails||0900, February 22-23, 1997|
|Trailhead:||Chamisoso Road, South14, 1.2 Miles South of Old 66, 'East' side|
|R.T. Distance: @8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6500/7400|
|Hiking Time @3.5 hours||Hazards: Speeding mountain bikers, mud|
|Topos: Cedro Peak Trails Map, Sedillo Topo, Tijeras Topo|
Follow Trail #462 (Chamisoso Road) about 15 minutes. @50 yards past the sign
'Street Closed 1000 Ft', it goes up the hill to your right. UTM 375.0, 3880.8.
Follow this for about an hour until you see the sign for Trail #13 (Cedro Ridge
Tr.). This area is known locally as the 'four corners' (see Cedro Trails map).
UTM 378.0, 3881.3.
Take Trail #13 'south'. There are a number of confusing cross-trails near this
junction - to stay on #13, stick to the 'middle' trail. Don't go downhill - it
should always seem that you are on (or heading to) the 'crown' of the ridge.
In about 1/4 mile, you should come to a rock-strewn uphill stretch. The bikers
call this area the '5 hills of death', and you'll comprehend their naming
convention if you're on the proper trail.
After about 30 minutes puffing up Trail #13, there will be a triangular
junction with a sign (on your left) for trails 13 and 252C (Meadow-Ridge Tr.).
UTM 377.8, 3879.9.
Go left on 252C for 15 minutes, where you'll see the sign for Trail #12 (Meadow
Tr.). UTM 378.7, 3879.1.
Go left ('north') on Trail #12 for about 30 minutes until you reach a 'Y' where
one branch goes left up the hill. This is beyond the windmill, and there is a
signpost with no decals at that junction. UTM 378.3, 3881.2.
Go up the hill, ignoring the sign pointing to Trail #13, and in a few minutes
you reach the familiar junction of #462 and #13. Then return to the parking
area on #462.
At various places along the route there are side trails. These all head off to
meet other trails in the Cedro Peak maze. You may want to explore a few
sidepaths on subsequent trips. It's a great area to create loop hikes that last
3 to 4 hours.
I find it a nice place to hike after work when I don't want to battle elevation
Note how far back a rescue vehicle could get.
|Hike of the Month||Lower Juan Tabo Canyon||0900, March 29-30, 1997|
|Trailhead:||Upper Juan Tabo parking lot (La Luz trailhead)|
|R.T. Distance: @5.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6600/7400|
|Hiking Time @3.0 hours||Hazards: Mountain Lion (I saw tracks)|
|Topos: Forest Service map of the Sandias|
The first part of this hike is on a trail from the Juan Tabo parking area to
the Piedra Lisa parking area. Go up the stairs and turn left at the 'Piedra
Lisa T/H' sign. Follow this trail a few minutes, watching for an offshoot that
goes downhill to the left, crossing the sandy wash. (Don't go as far as the
large towering rock formation.)
A few more minutes will take you to an uphill/downhill choice. (UTM 365.3,
3898.4). Go downhill and across to the other side of the chamisa/cholla flats.
Follow a trail that skirts the north side of the flats to the dirt road. You
should be about 20 minutes into the trek when you meet the road.
Now go north to the Piedra Lisa trailhead (about 7 minutes). After 7 more
tough uphill minutes, you'll go down to a wide rock-strewn arroyo. (UTM 365.3,
3899.5) To the right are Waterfall Canyon, the Movie Trail, and Fletcher
Canyon. But we're going to the left, down into lower Juan Tabo Canyon.
The first few minutes are spent skirting the lush growth in the wash. The best
bet is to stay to the right side. After that, the terrain becomes open and easy
to walk on (and to follow tracks). Just follow the sandy wash, crossing the
dirt road when you get to it.
In about 45 minutes, you'll end up at the fence to the Sandia Indian
Turn back, and choose the rightmost wash whenever there is a choice.
About 30 minutes from the fence, take a trail along the hill on your right.
(UTM 364.4, 3898.5) This trail (called the Sandy Arroyo trail) begins in almost
the opposite direction of your travel. Soon it widens out and heads more
southward, eventually meeting the blacktop. This trail is the preferred
evacuation route from this area.
Instead of walking along the road, go up to the top of the ridge 'behind' you,
where you'll find an indistinct trail leading towards the dirt road to the
Piedra Lisa parking area, then take the trail to the Juan Tabo parking area
According to the map, part of this hike passes through private property.
However, it is not marked and is certainly not apparent when you're hiking. If
someone asks you to leave their property, do so politely.
|Hike of the Month||South Piedra Lisa Trail to Del Agua Junction||0900, April 26-27, 1997|
|Trailhead:||South Piedra Lisa Parking area. See member guide for directions.|
|R.T. Distance: @6.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7000/8200|
|Hiking Time @4.0 hours||Hazards: Slippery trail surface.|
|Topos: Forest Service map of the Sandias|
From the Parking area, walk north on the road for 8 minutes, then go up the trail to the right. Note the usual SAR parking lot on the left. Along the ascent, occasionally look at the Needle, Prow, and Shield rock formations, noting how their appearance changes as you see them from different directions. After an hour, you'll get to the top. This area is known as the Rincon ('corner' en Espanol.). There is a sign post indicating the trail direction (365.8, 3901.0). Do not go to the north behind that post. Instead, go east about 10 yards, and the trail will head north downhill (rather steeply). About 1/2 hour later, you'll come to a wash. Go left down the wash for a few minutes, and then the trail will make a natural-looking arc to the right. As you progress down the wash, you will likely notice another 'trail' on the right, with a log laying across it, which goes up a small hill near a bunch of large boulders. This is not the trail - the real trail is a minute further down the wash. One minute after leaving the wash, you should encounter a sign indicating 2 1/2 miles to either end of the Piedra Lisa trail. If you do not see this sign, you are on the wrong trail. A minute later, you'll come to a sandy area, and you'll see an 18" diameter fallen tree ahead. Go 'above' the tree, and you're back on the trail. Take a look backwards here, because the area is more confusing on the way back. About 20 minutes later, you'll come to a small watercourse. It is called 'Del Agua Canyon', and usually has water year around. This is where we spent a cold night on the 'Spiderboy' search a few years back. (366.7, 3902.5). The return trip is the same way you came, only more uphill.
Part of this hike goes through semi-abandoned private property. However, it is not marked and is certainly not apparent when you're hiking. If someone asks you to leave, do so politely.
|Hike of the Month||Domingo Baca and TWA Canyon||0900, May 31/June 1, 1997|
|Trailhead:||Elena Gallegos parking lot|
|R.T. Distance: @7.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6400/9000|
|Hiking Time @4.0 hours||Hazards: Thorns, stickers, cactus|
|Topos: Forest Service map of the Sandias|
This hike goes through one of the few riparian areas with year-round water.
Make your stay short and stay on the trails where possible. The Forest Service
does not maintain trails in this area, partly to discourage the average hiker.
There is no way to describe this hike in a few sentences. A long sleeve shirt
and long pants are STRONGLY recommended.
I chose the route that most tourists would take. There are many other paths
that could be used to get to the plane crash site. Also, this route is the one
you could most easily follow on a search, especially at night, because it
basically follows a watercourse most of the way.
Start from the northernmost parking area, on trail 140 (Pino Trail). After
about six minutes, you'll go through a pass-through fence. Take trail #342 to
the left. In another twelve minutes, you end up on trail #230. This is at the
place where the old North Pino trail is blocked by cactus bones. Two minutes
later, go into the Wilderness area via another pass-through on the right.
(366.5, 3892.8) Twelve minutes later, you'll come to a sign indicating that the
Domingo Baca trail goes left across a wash. (366.5, 3893.4) The trail soon
begins to go more easterly.
The next junction is CRUCIAL to the hike.
Less than an hour from your departure time, you need to be alert for a dripping
waterfall on your right. On the left is obvious fallen dirt from people
scrambling up the wall. Go up the waterfall and then to your left. Then go to
the right, crossing over some big flat rocks. You'll pick up the sandy trail
going through bushes.
I was not able to get a waypoint at the bottom, but the flat rocks are at
(367.2, 3894.0). If you miss this, you'll end up in Echo Canyon after a hour of
strenuous hiking. You should NOT be below cliffs, walking up flat tilted rock
shelves in an arroyo. Rather you should be on top, on a sandy trail, and in a
few minutes, you'll notice a watercourse below you on your right.
From now on, whenever there seems to be a choice of trails with similar usage,
take the one on the left. But you should never be more than 30 yards from the
25 minutes later, you'll come to a 12" diameter log laying across some flat
rocks, with water flowing across the rocks. The upper bark is all worn off from
people sitting on the log. Here the trail goes uphill to the left.
30 minutes beyond that, you'll come to a rock/log jam that must have been the
result of some major flood. Ten minutes later, you reach a place where most
TWA-seekers take the wrong arroyo. This is CRUCIAL junction #2.
There is an inviting arroyo to the right, but the proper trail is to the left.
Sometimes there are rock cairns marking the proper arroyo, but don't count on
it. I was unable to acquire 3 satellites here.
In about 5 minutes, you'll come to a box canyon, which you'll need to climb out
of. The end of the canyon has a rather easy rock shelf that you can go up.
We'll pass around this canyon on the way back.
Finally, about 2.5 hours from departure, you will come to a portion of the
wreckage, almost directly below the tram wires. (368.6, 3895.4) If you go
another 200 yards left up the draw from the first wreckage, you'll find the
rest of the plane. Allow an extra 1.5 hours for exploration and lunch.
On the way back, skirt the box canyon by going uphill to the right of it. After
you 'top out', you'll see an old rock fire ring on your left. There are many
choices of paths here, and all seem to head back the proper way. For this hike,
just past the fire ring, drop back down to the watercourse. There will be some
zigzagging required. You can investigate the other choices on another occasion.
|Hike of the Month||Canyon Estates, South Crest, and CCC trails||0730, Jun 28/29, 1997|
|Trailhead: Canyon Estates parking lot - see member guide for directions.|
|R.T. Distance: @8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6600/9400|
|Hiking Time: @4.5 hours||Hazards: Unleashed dogs.|
|Topo Maps: FS map of the Sandias |
The first portion of this hike takes you on the South Crest trail,
past a waterfall which usually has some water. Cross the creek below
the waterfall, and take the trail to the left up the hill.
After that, it is a steady uphill westerly trek, with some great views
of the Manzanitas.
Two hours later, the trail turns to the north, and you'll soon see
South Sandia spring. This spring is a reliable water source
year-round, except for drought years like 1996.
After 2.5 hours, you'll arrive at 'Deer Pass', the junction of the
South Crest trail and the Embudito. (370.2, 3886.5). This is one of
three places where one can cross the Sandias from East to West. There
will be a signpost here, if it is not removed by vandals.
Less than one minute further, on the right, there should be three rock
cairns marking the top of the CCC trail. (If you miss this, you'll
have to go down Bart's trail, adding at least three hours to the
The CCC trail was constructed in the 1930's by CCC personnel for a
shorter route to their work locations. In the past year, many rock
cairns have been placed along the trail, so you should be able to
follow it as it winds down the hill. It ends at the Upper Faulty
trail, a few yards east of the South Crest trail, via which you'll
|Hike of the Month||Cienega, South Crest, Canoncito, Faulty trails||0730, Jul 26/27, 19971997|
|Trailhead: Cienega trailhead - west end of Cienega picnic ground (Crest road)|
|R.T. Distance: @8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7400/9400|
|Hiking Time: @4.0 hours||Hazards: Unleashed dogs, poison ivy.|
|Topo Maps: FS map of the Sandias|
This is a loop route. Go west up the Cienega trail to the S. Crest
trail. Go south to the Canoncito trail. Go east to the Faultytrail.
Return North to the Cienega. The Cienega picnic ground is a place
where the Forest Service charges a fee. If you go on the dates above,
and have the orange SAR decal on your vehicle, you are exempt from the
fee because I have registered these dates as SAR training with the FS.
If you go on any other dates, the orange decal is not recognized.
|Hike of the Month||Otero Canyon area||0730, Aug 23-24, 19971997|
|Trailhead: Otero Canyon - see member guide|
|R.T. Distance: @7 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6900/7400|
|Hiking Time @3.5 hours||Hazards: Speeding mountain bikers.|
|Topo Maps: Mount Washington, Escabosa topos |
Parts of the trails on this hike were built recently, so are not on
the topos. Unfortunately, vandals have destroyed the new signage that
the Forest Service put up. From the parking area, follow trail #56
down across the arroyo. About 8 minutes out, there is a trail that
splits off from the main trail, going uphill. (374.6, 3877.2). Follow
this trail about 12 more minutes to a flat spot where there is a 4-way
trail intersection (374.2, 3877.2). The right branch is blocked by
rocks and trees. Straight ahead leads into the Tunnel Canyon area. We
want to go left, up the hill to the ridge, generally heading towards
the south. About an hour after this junction (374.7, 3873.7), there
will be a `T' intersection. A few feet along the right branch of the
`T", there will be a 10-in diameter tree leaning across the trail.
Take the branch of the `T' that goes under the tree. Twenty minutes
later (374.5, 3873.0), there will be a circle of stones at another
`T'. Go left a few feet, then take the stone-filled downhill path into
Otero Canyon. There is also a dirt path on the left, which would
return you to the `leaning tree' intersection.You are now on the
return portion of the hike -simply follow the trail that is near the
bottom of Otero Canyon. Along the way, there are a number of trails
that lead off to the right, up out of the canyon - ignore them for
|Hike of the Month||Tunnel Springs and North Crest Trail
||0730, Sep 27/28, 1997|
|Trailhead: Tunnel Springs near Placitas - see member guide
|R.T. Distance: 10 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6200/8600|
|Hiking Time 5 hours||Hazards: The Usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
On the way to the trailhead, you'll pass Quail Meadow Road. FYI - this
an alternate route to the Strip-mine Trail (not a part of this hike).
You'll also pass the Agua Sarca trailhead, which is also not part of
hike, but a likely search route for missions in this area.
Start by going south from the parking lot. A few feet out, there will
gray wilderness sign. This is the bottom of the Del Orno route, which
the North Crest trail. This route is very steep and rugged, and has
unsafe conditions. I have excluded it from this hike, but it would be
likely assignment for a search.
Proceed east along the well-defined North Crest trail. Along the way
sure to pause and enjoy the scenic vistas to the west, north, and
About 1.5 hours out, at (369.6, 3905.1) you should see the top of the
Orno route as it drops into the arroyo on your right.
An hour later you'll be at the junction with the Penasco Blanca trail
(368.9, 3902.8). If you wish, go down that trail a few minutes and
see the white cliff formation that gives this its name. (It's also
the 'Great Wall of China').
Then return the way you came.
Incidentally, many people drink the spring water near the parking lot.
Still it would be advisable to treat it first, as you should treat any
water in the Sandias.
|Hike of the Month||Embudito Trail||0800, Oct 25/26, 1997\01997|
|Trailhead: East on Montgomery to Glenwood Hills. North to Trailhead road. East to Open Space parking lot.|
|R.T. Distance: 8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6300/8400|
|Hiking Time 4.5 hours||Hazards: The Usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS Map of the Sandias|
The access from the parking lot has been relocated to the northern
bypassing the old route with the RR-tie steps. Stay on the prescribed
route, noting the many user trails heading into the chamisa towards
watercourse. About 1.5 hours out, you'll cross a wide sandy wash. The
is a popular route for hunters - they follow it upwards into the Bear
Canyon area. In winter, the trail beyond this wash is often
covered with ice. This hike continues to the intersection with the
Three-Gun Springs trail (Oso Pass), then returns on the same route.
|Hike of the Month||Three-Gun Springs to South Sandia Peak||0800, Nov 29/30, 1997|
|Trailhead: Three-Gun Springs. Old 66 East to Monticello Rd., north to Alegre, west to Siempre Verde, north to Tres Pistolas, north to trailhead. |
|R.T. Distance: 12 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6400/9700|
|Hiking Time 6.0 hours||Hazards: The Usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
The first two hours are on the 3-Gun Springs trail to the junction
with the Embudito (this is called Oso Pass). Here, take the Embudito
trail east for about 40 minutes to the unnamed trail on your left,
marked by a rock cairn, that leads up to the peak. (369.79, 3986.42).
20 minutes later you will be on the peak, enjoying the 360-degree views.
(369.72, 3987.15) Return the way you came.
Note: weather and temperature conditions can be quite different at the
peak compared to the trailhead - carry proper clothing.
|Hike of the Month||Armijo Canyon and vicinity||0800, Dec 27/28, 1997\01997|
|Trailhead: Doc Long Picnic Area, 2 miles up Hwy. 536 from N. 14|
|R.T. Distance: 8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7200/7800|
|Hiking Time 4.0 hours||Hazards: The usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS Map of the Sandias|
Start on the Bill Spring trail, which begins at the Southeast end of
the Doc Long area. Follow it west to the Faulty trail, and go south on
the Faulty. You'll pass the junctions with the Oso Corredor trail, the
Sulphur Springs trail, the Cienega Horse Bypass trail, and the Cienega
About one hour and forty-five minutes out, you'll go down a steep hill
with a similar steep uphill on the other side. There is a large dead
standing "snag" tree on the right. (I got a reading on top of the
downhill - 373.3, 3891.2). This is the upper portion of Armijo Canyon.
The Armijo trail is on the left, north of the arroyo. Within fifty
meters, it passes by some pools of water that exist year-round.
The trail stays near the arroyo for about twenty-five minutes, where
it takes a turn left, uphill. (374.7, 3891.4). If you miss this, you
can follow the arroyo as it turns left. Or you can eventually meet the
Forest fence, and then turn left.
Fifteen minutes after the left turn, you'll come to a gravel road-like
portion of the trail, near the big "Private Property" signs. Follow
this to the left (West) and you'll soon be on the blacktop. Follow the
blacktop to the Stop sign, then turn right, following the blacktop up
Six minutes past the stop sign, there will be a dirt road on the
Here you can decide if you want the hike to continue for one-half hour
or for one-and-one-half hours. For the short return, follow the
blacktop back to Hwy. 536 and walk up it to Doc Long.
For the longer adventure, take the Cienega Horse Bypass trail that is
across from the dirt road.
This will lead to the Faulty trail and you can return via that and
|Hike of the Month||Ellis Trail - snowshoe hike||0800, Jan 31, Feb 1, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: Ellis trailhead, 12 miles up Highway 536 to Sandia Crest|
|R.T. Distance: 1 - 4 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 10000/10000|
|Hiking Time 2 - 4 hours||Hazards: Exhaustion, cold, sunburn, frostnip|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
This hike is for snowshoes. Go as far as you want then turn around.
Four hours on snowshoes is very physically demanding, especially at
this altitude. It helps to rotate so that different people are
There is a parking area ($3 fee required) with two lots on the left
side of the road. For the hike, cross the road, then go uphill in the
open area until you see the sign about the 'controlled burn'. From
there go north as far as you feel comfortable, considering the return
trip. Don't follow the power lines - they go the wrong way.
Snowshoes can be rented from REI, the New Mexico Mountain Club, and
from SERP (for Sandians).
I will register this hike with the USFS, so your SAR orange sticker
should apply. However, if you go on dates other than the above, you
will need to pay the fee if you do not have an annual USFS decal for
|Hike of the Month||Embudo Canyon||0800, Feb 28 - Mar 1, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: East end of Indian School Road|
|R.T. Distance: 6.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6200/7800|
|Hiking Time 3.0 hours||Hazards: Unleashed dogs|
|Topo Maps: USFS Map of the Sandias|
Follow the obvious road east into the National Forest, where it
changes to a sandy trail. As you pass through the boulder portion near
the waterfall, you may lose sight of the trail. To find it, always
look to the north side of the canyon.
After the boulder portion, the trail will cross the sandy wash and run
parallel above it on the south side. As you cross, notice a trail that
heads south up the hill straight ahead - this is a 'horse bypass'
trail around the waterfall, and is a recommended option for your
Later the trail will cross the wash heading north, and you'll begin a
series of long switchbacks. At the top there is a signpost, hence the
name 'Post Pass' for this area. You can turn back here or you can add
another 1.5 hours to the trek by heading further north to Oso Pass,
but there might be too much snow to do it without snowshoes.
Throughout the hike, take note of old trails and washes. Search
assignments in this area probably would include such 'hasty' routes.
|Hike of the Month||Whitewash Trail area||0800, Mar 28/29, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: East end of Menaul|
|R.T. Distance: 4.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6000/8100|
|Hiking Time 3.5 hours||Hazards: The usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
The Whitewash Trail is named after the smooth waterfall rockface which
is at the bottom of Whitewash Canyon, at the end of Candelaria. This
is also known as the Piedra Lisa Canyon, offering a bit of confusion
with the altogether-different Piedra Lisa Trail, which is in the north
portion of the Sandias.
At the beginning of this hike, there are many intersecting trails from
which to choose. Eventually, they all wend their way along the south
rim of Whitewash Canyon, and then up one 'master trail' which leads to
the top via steep switchbacks.
The first goal is to reach the top of the ridge east of the parking
area. Begin on the obvious wide trail at the southeast end of the
parking area, which will turn eastward and wind around the south edge
of the ridge. Although there are many routes up the ridge, for this
hike, use an arroyo which has metal fence embedded in the ground
acting as prevention for soil erosion. Follow this up and keep going
north until, about 1/2 hour into the trek, you see a meadow with two
prominent trails heading North/NNE. Either of these trails will
eventually lead to the south rim of Waterfall Canyon.
Off to the east, you'll see a high tree-lined ridge, which is the
eventual goal of this hike. (Actually the trail continues beyond that
ridge, across two more ridges, finally ending at the Oso Pass
junction, but that's not part of this hike.)
It will take less than 2.0 hours to get to a knoll on top of the
tree-lined ridge at the 8130 foot mark. This knoll is conveniently
known as 'the 8130', and it provides a view into Three-Gun Canyon and
even the cement plant in Tijeras. Its UTM's are approximately 366.5
and 3886.8. From here, turn around and head back, noticing the various
arroyos and ridges which might serve as opportunities to head south
into the west end of Embudo Canyon.
|Hike of the Month||Manzano Peak via Red Canyon & Ox Canyon Loop||0800, Apr 25/26, 1998|
|Trailhead: Red Canyon Campground. Exit 175 (Tijeras, Cedar Crest) from I-40, south on 337 (south 14) to SH 55, right (west) on 55 to the town of Manzano, Forest Road 253 6 miles to Red Canyon Campground. Trailhead at the far end of the campground.|
|R.T. Distance: 9 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 8000/10,098|
|Hiking Time 4 hours||Hazards: I hiked this in a blizzard with lightning a couple of years ago in May when it had been 95 degrees in Abq the preceding two weeks.|
|Topo Maps: USGS Capilla Peak, Manzano Peak, or Forest Service Manzano Mountain Wilderness Map|
Meet to carpool at Fire Station on So. 14 (marked route 337). The
fire station is 9.7 miles south on route 337 (south 14) from I-40 exit
Leave a car at the Ox Canyon Trailhead along the dirt road, then drive
second car back to Red Canyon Campground--if you choose, to save time
walking back on the dirt road. This is the only way to make a loop
in the area. Saves half an hour. Start up Red Canyon Trail from far
of campground (trail 89). Trail is called Canon Colorado on some maps.
First 1.75 mi follow riparian canyon bottom, a few small waterfalls.
1.75 mi trail crosses out of drainage onto ridge in ponderosa and fir
forest. Opens from forest to meadow and aspen glades near crest
Views to east and west are spectacular. South on Manzano Crest Trail
2 miles to Manzano Peak takes you past Ox Canyon Trail (190) and
Mill Trail (80) where they meet the crest trail. Keep going to short
trail taking you to the top of Manzano Peak (10,098). Return to Crest
Trail and backtrack north to Ox Canyon trail and descend 3 miles to Ox
Canyon Trailhead. Walk back on the road or drive back to the Red
|Hike of the Month||Bosque Peak via Bosque Trail and Trail Canyon
Trail Loop||0800, May 23/24, 1998|
|Trailhead: Exit 175 from I-40, south on 337 (south 14) to SH 55 south to
Tajique. From Tajique take FR 55 9 miles to trailhead. (see below for carpool
|R.T. Distance: 6 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7440/9610|
|Hiking Time 3.5 hours||Hazards: area laced with unmarked man-made and cow
trails that can be confusing. |
|Topo Maps: USGS Bosque Peak, Capilla Peak or Forest Service Manzano Mountain Wilderness Map & Guide|
Meet at 0800
to carpool at Fire Station on So. 14 (marked route 337). The
fire station is 9.7 miles south on route 337 (south 14) from I-40 exit
Bosque Trail is 2.2 miles from trailhead to Manzano Crest Trail (170).
The trail begins as a wide, rocky path and quickly becomes steep. About
3/4 of a mile up, a switchback momentarily levels the trail. Then trail
ascends up the north side of the canyon. Cave spring, a cattle watering
spot, can be seen in the canyon bottom. A short distance from the spring
a spur trail to the north lead to a cave in the canyon wall. Farther up
the trail, large stands of oak and New Mexico locust divide the canyon
into small meadows. The trail emerges into a larger meadow just below the
Manzano Crest Trail (170) and continues southwest through the clearing.
Turning south, it comes along the ridgeline. At this junction with the
Manzano Crest Trail is a half-section of private land that originally
belonged to the Rea-Formwalt family. The old homestead cabin ruins are
Bosque Peak is to the east of the trail junction and can be accessed from
either side in this open area. Continue south along the Manzano Crest
Trail for about 2.5 miles to junction with trail 176 (Trail Canyon Trail)
which descends through Canyon de la Vereda. Trail 176 is 2 miles long.
Return on the gravel road to Bosque Trail parking area.
|Hike of the Month||David Canyon||0730, Aug 29, 1998|
|Trailhead: Starts on private land-see description for meeting place|
|R.T. Distance: 7.5 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6860/7640|
|Hiking Time 4 hours||Hazards: |
|Topo Maps: Escabosa Quadrangle|
Since this hike starts on private land and crosses over a portion of
the Isleta Reservation, Cibola SAR members must join us on Saturday,
August 29 in order to access the route.
Meet at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, August 29 at the fire station on South 14
(not the fire station on rt. 66). From I-40 take exit 175
(Tijeras/Cedar Crest), bear right on the exit ramp until you come to
the four-way stop at Tijeras. Continue straight on 337 (south 14), for
about ten miles. The fire station will be on your left. I'll meet
you there and drive another two miles to where we will begin the hike.
I'll wait until about 7:45 to leave the fire station.
Climb the top of the ridge to the boundary of the Isleta Reservation
behind the Apple Valley neighborhood then drop down into Lujan Canyon,
pass the end of Carolino Canyon, then drop into Largo Canyon. Through
Lujan and Largo Canyons the route follows the old dirt road that
eventually drops all the way to the Pueblo of Isleta in the valley to
the west. From Largo Canyon travel north into David Canyon, crossing
back onto National Forest land. Follow David Canyon to one of the
trails leading out of the canyon up to Raven Road or the Mars Court
|Hike of the Month||CCC to South Peak||0800, Oct 31, 1998|
|Trailhead: Canyon Estates|
|R.T. Distance: 8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6600/9782|
|Hiking Time 4 hours||Hazards: rattlesnakes|
|Topo Maps: Tijeras|
Directions to trailhead: From I-40 take exit 175 at Tijeras. If
you were traveling east on I-40, take the right fork of the exit ramp
toward Tijeras. Turn left under the highway overpass and bear right
to Canyon Estates Subdivision. If you were traveling west on I-40 turn
left from the exit ramp. Continue until you reach the 4-way stop at
Tijeras. Turn right and drive under the highway overpass and bear
right to Canyon Estates Subdivision. Follow the road through the
subdivision until you reach the parking lot at the end. There is a $3
From Trailhead: Follow the South Crest Trail until you reach the
waterfall. Cross the stream and wind up to the top of the waterfall.
Continue on switchbacks, passing the Lower Faulty Trail on your right.
After about 1 1/2 miles from the start you will reach a fork. The
South Crest Trail goes off to the left. Continue right for a few yards
to another fork. The unmarked trail to the left is the CCC Trail.
Upper Faulty is on the right. Take the left. CCC is steep and crosses
a few rocky areas where you need to look for rock cairns. In about 2
miles CCC reaches the South Crest Trail along the crest. Continue to
the right when you reach the Crest Trail. At the back of a large
meadow to the left there is a trail to the top of South Peak. Return
via CCC or, for a longer hike with views of Albuquerque and Tijeras,
and some springs, take the South Crest Trail all the way back to
Meet to carpool at the fire station on South 14 (about 10 miles
south of the 4-way stop at Tijeras) at 7:45 a.m. or meet at trailhead
at 8:30 a.m.
|Hike of the Month||Manzano Loop: Trail Canyon Trail to Bosque Trail||0830, Nov 29, 1998|
|Trailhead: Trail Canyon Trail (176)|
|R.T. Distance: 7.2 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7440/9400|
|Hiking Time 4 hours||Hazards: |
|Topo Maps: Capilla Peak & Bosque Peak Quadrangles|
From I-40 take exit 175 (Cedar Crest/Tijeras). From the 4-way stop
at Tijeras drive south on 337 (south 14) until you reach NM 55. Turn
right to Tajique. At Tajique take Forest Road 55 (gravel road) for 11
miles to the trailhead. You will pass Fourth of July Campground and
the Bosque trailhead enroute. Or, from Belen, take NM 47 and US 60 to
Mountainair. From Mountainair take NM 55 to Torreon. From Torreon
take FR 55 to the trailhead.
Note: If there's snow we'll go on snowshoes in the vicinity,
depending on road & trail conditions. Call Susan at home if in
doubt about location due to weather.
Trail Canyon Trail #176 begins at a stream in a lush valley
complete with waterfalls. It follows Canyon de la Vereda two miles up
to a narrow saddle where it meets the Manzano Crest Trail and the
Comanche Trail which rises from the west side of the mountain. Go
north on the crest trail for 3 miles. This section of the crest trail
scrambles up a rocky ridge then levels off. Several sections are over
areas where the trail disappears because there is solid rock under
foot and no trees. Cairns are visible in some places. As the trail
approaches Bosque Peak it enters private land. The remains of an old
homestead are visible just past the junction with the Bosque Trail,
including headstones, cast-iron stove parts and the remains of cabins.
Also, part of the fuselage and wing of a plane wreck are hidden in an
aspen forest at the top of the ridge. If I can locate these I want to
take a GPS reading for future reference. Cow trails can be confused
with the "real" trail here. At the junction of the Crest and Bosque
Trails go right (east) in a few yards take the fork to the left. This
trail drops into the canyon immediately. In a small meadow you will
see an arrow made of stones pointing across the meadow. Follow this
and the trail becomes evident again at the far side of the meadow.
Continue down the Bosque Trail for 2.2 miles to parking area. In the
top third of the trail along an exposed ridge is a small side trail
that leads uphill to a 40-foot long cave. Beware the nesting rodents
in the cave wall. Expect to walk south on the road two miles or leave
a vehicle at both trailheads.
|Hike of the Month||Oak Flat/Juan Tomas Loop||0800, Dec 27, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: Oak Flat Parking Lot|
|R.T. Distance: 5-8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7300/7768|
|Hiking Time 3-4 hours||Hazards: |
|Topo Maps: Escabosa & Sedillo|
From Abq., travel east on I-40 to exit 175. Exit to the south-bound
ramp to the Tijeras 4-way stop. Go south on 337 (south 14) 9 miles to
Oak Flat Road. Turn left. At approximately one mile turn left into the
Oak Flat Picnic Area parking lot. Gates are closed for the winter, but
the area is well used by x-c skiers, horseback riders, hikers, bikers,
etc. From the Oak Flat Picnic Area there are numerous interconnecting
trails that go to the Pine Flat Picnic Area, Juan Tomas Road, Cedro
Group Campground, Cedro Peak, and private land in the Sedillo area.
Depending on the time members have to explore, we'll try a route from
the parking area north to the western branch of the Mahogany Trail
through Cedro Canyon, across Juan Tomas Rd, north on the Poker Chip
Trail and return on the southern segmen of Juan's Trail, back across
Juan Tomas Rd. then up and over the ridgeline on the eastern branch of
the Mahogany Trail. If there's enough snow, this will be a snowshoe
|Hike of the Month||Bear Canyon Hike and Map & Compass Practice||0800, Jan 31, 1999|
|Trailhead: East End of Spain NE|
|R.T. Distance: 4 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6200/7200|
|Hiking Time 2.5 hours||Hazards: |
|Topo Maps: Sandia Crest Quadrangle|
Drive to the far east of Spain NE until you reach the Open Space
parking lot at the end of the dirt road. As is true anywhere in the
foothills, this area is heavily used by mountain bikers, hikers,
dog-walkers, runners, and some horses.
Take the trail that runs east from the parking lot to the National
Forest Boundary fence line. From the fence, travel east again until
the junction with trail 503. Follow 503 east to its easternmost
segment. At the bottom of the arroyo is an east-bound trail blocked
with cholla debris, indicating probited access. Follow 503 a short
distance to the top of the next rise to the north. Trail 503 meets a
fence along private property. A few buildings are visible in the next
arrroyo from the ridge top. Follow the trail that goes east along the
fence line and up in elevation. Climb as high as the large rock point
in view above you, or into the forest just above for great views of
the surrounding area. Mountain lions, deer and fewer earthlings have
been sighted from this point.
This trail reaches a wide, flat area at 7040' in elevation. We'll stop
there to practice map and compass and GPS skills. I will bring
photocopies of this portion of the Sandia Crest Quadrangle 7.5 minute
series for members to use. I want to match the UTMs on my map with the
reading on my GPS, practice resection, etc. This is NOT a test! You
can compare with your neighbor.
|Hike of the Month||Mora Flats and Hamilton Mesa Loop||1000, Oct 16, 1999|
|Trailhead: Iron Gate Campground, Pecos Wilderness|
|R.T. Distance: 9 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 9,100/10,120|
|Hiking Time 5.5 hours||Hazards: hunters-wear orange|
|Topo Maps: Elk Mountain and Pecos Falls
7.5' quads or Pecos Wilderness Rec Map|
|Hike Leader: Susan Corban|
To Trailhead: This hike will be an all-day deal in the Pecos. The hardest
part is the road in. From the town of Pecos, take route 63 north toward
Terrero. About four miles after Terrero, take the right turn onto road 223
to Iron Gate Campground (another four miles). This is a dirt road in very
poor condition. Four-wheel drive or trucks recommended. Carpool if in
doubt. Iron Gate is at the end of the road. The Santa Fe Forest fee is $2
for day parking.
Hike: We'll head out on trail 249. At the fork with the Rociada Trail
(250), we'll turn down hill toward Mora Flats. At the north end of Mora
Flats we'll take the west fork (trail 224) at the junction of the Rio
Valdez and Rio Mora. This trail follows the Rio Valdez. At the next
junction (270), the trail begins to climb to the top of Hamilton Mesa.
We'll follow it until we're at the Mesa top at the junction of trails 270
and 249. We'll follow 249 south until we're back at the Iron Gate
Horses, ponies, mules, donkeys are welcome if you are willing to drive a
trailer up this road. Corrals are available at the campground. If you
like to fish, you'll love this place. This hike has only one up-hill
section. It's mostly level or down hill. I think this hike also has the
best scenery in the southern half of the Pecos. The only thing you don't
get is a lake. Come stretch your legs before winter sets in.
|Hike of the Month||Cabezon Peak||0800, Dec 19, 1999|
|Trailhead: Cabezon Parking Area|
|R.T. Distance: 4 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6400/7785|
|Hiking Time 3 hours||Hazards: exposure, loose rock|
|Topo Maps: Cabezon Peak 7.5 Quad|
|Hike Leader: Susan Corban|
Meet at 0800 at the parking lot of Smith's at Carlisle and Menaul. If
the weather is questionable (the roads may be impassable, not that we
can't handle bad weather) call me.
To get to the trailhead, drive west on NM 44 from Bernalillo. About 19
miles past San Ysidro turn left onto NM 279. There will be a sign for
"San Luis, Cabezon." Continue 12 miles to the southwest, past the
village of San Luis. Turn to Cabezon at BLM road 1114. If we get
precipitation, travel on these roads is ill-advised. If road
conditions are in doubt, check with the BLM.
There is one walk-up route to the top of Cabezon. All other routes
require technical climbing equipment. The trail starts at the parking
lot south of Cabezon, and, after an initial scramble up very loose
tallus, winds counterclockwise to the top. One must crawl over several
exposed areas with vertical walls falling away to the side. A view of
the Rio Puerco valley from the top reveals numerous other basalt
columns or volcano lava plugs in the area.
[ed. note: while this does not include a detailed description of the trail
hiked, it does thoroughly describe the roads to the trailhead, and so it was
included in this archive.]