Albuquerque, NM: Red Canyon/Spruce Spring Loop

This is a nice well traveled loop in the less traveled Manzano Mountains. You can do the loop in either direction and great views, diverse vegetation, and maybe a few wild animals await!
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This is a nice well traveled loop in the less traveled Manzano Mountains. You can do the loop in either direction and great views, diverse vegetation, and maybe a few wild animals await!

This is a nice well traveled loop in the less traveled Manzano Mountains. You can do the loop in either direction and great views, diverse vegetation, and maybe a few wild animals await!
From ABQ, take I-40 E to HWY 337, then S. Turn W on HWY 55. In the town of Manzano, take NM131 which becomes FR 253 and leads you past Red Canyon CG. Follow road to the end and park in hiker parking for free.
Both trails start from the same common trail and branch. You will be taking trail 89 and returning on trail 189. You will follow a steady ascent along the east side of the mountain and arrive at the Crest trail. The first segment is 2.2 miles and 1,680’ with several creek crossing which can be fast moving in times of run-off or recent rain. You then follow a 1.2 mile segment that gradually drops along contours near Gallo Peak just below 10,000’ and the high point of the hike. At this point you will have panoramic views showing burn areas from the 2007 Ojo fire that decimated much of the southern part of the mountain. Continue to drop in to a large grassy saddle where you can camp for the night or begin your gentle 3.4 mile descent back to the TH.
Water is present along Red Canyon and also at Spruce Spring. There are a couple of small waterfalls just beyond the 1 mile mark that will invite you to stop and enjoy them. The plan life is diverse along the way ranging from pine drops to penstemon, raspberry, and gooseberry. Alligator juniper give way to pine and aspen as you ascend to the crest. This trail is close enough to Albuquerque to escape the traffic inevitable in the Sandias and in the summer it is a cool destination with inviting creek pools.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.5

Waypoints

Trailhead

Location: 34.622162, -106.411715

Mile 1

Location: 34.623968, -106.426278

Small waterfalls along this section.

Mile 2

Location: 34.630791, -106.434773

Vegitation begins to open up as you near the top of the climb.

Mile 3

Location: 34.637612, -106.435663

Panoramic Views below Gallo Peak.

Mile 4

Location: 34.640536, -106.432015

The cooler side of the hike runs along steep contours

Mile 5

Location: 34.637364, -106.417963

Views to the south and east open up.

Mile 6

Location: 34.633336, -106.412064

Trail grade eases as you drop back to the TH.

Mile 7

Location: 34.623201, -106.4139

Near the intersection.

Trailhead

Location: 34.62212, -106.411858

Loop Junction

Location: 34.623091, -106.414068

Wild Rasberry!

Location: 34.624132, -106.424711

thumb_P8010088.JPG

Location: 34.623991, -106.426406

Rock walls

Location: 34.623938, -106.42632

Wilderness Boundary

Location: 34.624415, -106.4275

Steady Climb

Location: 34.630771, -106.434839

Crest Junction

Location: 34.634038, -106.441126

Looking North at the fire damage.

Location: 34.637586, -106.435633

Another view North

Location: 34.637745, -106.435804

Junction with Spruce Trail

Location: 34.64433, -106.432307

Steep Contours

Location: 34.640517, -106.431813

Trail to Spruce Spring

Location: 34.640482, -106.431384

Wilderness Boundary II

Location: 34.63861, -106.422694

Good trail

Location: 34.633314, -106.411901

Easy grade as you drop back to the start.

Location: 34.623197, -106.413145