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Albuquerque, NM: North Crest Trail to Ojo del Orno Canyon

Winding past steep canyon walls and ancient fossil beds, this 6.6-mile out-and-back in the Sandia Mountains rewards with an overlook across the Rio Puerco Valley.

Rating

This route follows 3.3 miles of the Cibola National Forest’s North Crest Trail as it climbs the Sandia Mountain’s eastern slope toward the ridge and the backbone path of Cibola’s local and long-distance trail network.
From the Tunnel Springs trailhead, follow the North Crest Trail for 0.8 mile beneath 200-foot granite cliffs and across several drainages. As it begins its 1,000-foot climb, the rocky trail turns south, up the canyon and climbs through piñon and juniper, briefly skirting an old Jeep road around mile 2. One mile later, the trail reaches the edge of the Ojo del Orno Canyon for a steep and precarious climb to the top of the canyon among fossil-embedded rocks.
The route for this 6.6-mile out-and-back ends at the junction with the Ojo del Orno Trail—a 0.8-mile steep, rocky, and un-maintained route to the Tunnel Springs trailhead. Many hikers choose to extend their trip continuing along the Crest Trail for a few extra miles, or for the entire 23-mile length of the trail to Tijeras.
Mapped by Bill Velasquez

To Trailhead

From Albuquerque, drive north on I-25 and take exit 242. Turn right on NM-165 and drive 5 miles before turning right again onto Tunnel Springs Road. Drive 1.4 miles on the dirt road to the trailhead.

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