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Albuquerque, NM: La Luz Trail

Irresistible to trail runners and hikers from all over the world, this classic, 7.1-mile climb to the Sandia Crest features sweeping vistas and challenging terrain.

Rating

The bad news: This tough-as-nails trail has been the official route of Albuquerque’s popular La Luz Trail Run since 1965, making it tops on hikers’ tick lists. The good news: In late September, trail traffic plummets right when temperatures cool and the aspen leaves turn gold.

From the trailhead on the northeast edge of town, the steep, zigzagging 14.2-mile (round-trip) trail weaves around cactus and yucca as it scales the canyon walls and skirts toothy outcrops. At mile 7.1, catch your breath on top of 10,678-foot Sandia Crest before dropping 4,500 feet on the return descent.

-Mapped by Bill Velasquez

To Trailhead

From Tramway Rd., turn north on FR 333. Drive up the canyon until the pavement ends. Turn east through rock pillars and follow the road to the parking lot.

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