Hike the Sandia Crest Trail

Tijeras, New Mexico

Details

Distance

26.5 miles

Elevation Gain

4904 ft

Route Type

Point-to-Point

Description

Added by Korey Taylor

This challenging 26.5 mile point-to-point trail is the perfect way to experience the drastic differences between the North and South Sandia Mountains.

This point-to-point hike took me about 11.5 hours to complete, however I consider myself to be in decent hiking shape and was moving at about 2.5 miles per hour for the majority of the hike. I would give yourself ample time if you want to complete this in 1 day or you can back country primitive camp if you want to break up the hike into 2 days. If you decide to break the hike up I recommend camping on the saddle between the North and South Sandia Peaks, but closer the the South Peak there is a beautiful meadow and aspen trees that would make for an excellent spot. If you want to complete this in 1 go this is how I did it. 

3:00am - Wake Up

3:30am - Leave for the TUNNEL SPRING TRAILHEAD (35.29139, -106.43934) with another person driving a separate car. This will eventually be the end of the hike. 

4:15am - Leave one car at this trailhead, the other person gets into your car and you're on your way! Drive to the Canyon Estates Trailhead. 

5:00am - Arrive at Canyon Estates Trailhead and begin hike! You want to get on the trail before sunrise to ensure you have plenty of time to complete the hike.

You're going to follow the South Crest Trail (130S) until you reach the Sandia Peak Tramway/Ski Area. Once you reach the ski area it can be confusing to what trail you stay on. I recommend downloading a topo map or when in doubt follow the trail that keeps you as close to the crest/ridge as possible. I will be completely honest the descent down the North side is BRUTAL. After about 20 miles you still have 6 miles of a downhill, incredibly rocky trail and it can be a beating on your ankles and knees. Wearing supportive shoes will help!! Once you make it back to the Tunnel Spring Trailhead you and your hiking partner will need to drive back to Canyon Estates to get the second car.

After all that hiking and driving we rewarded ourselves with large pizza and a much deserved six pack. If you have any questions about completing this hike you can message me on my Instagram @koreyeleven. 

Enjoy!!

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Features

Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

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