Start at the South Crest Trailhead and climb north above Albuquerque along the Sandia spine. Hikers weary from hoofing it up the southern half of the Sandia Crest Trail will appreciate the ride home from this shuttle hike. The hike ends at the High Finance Restaurant (make reservations) and the Sandia Peak Tramway, which will provide an aerial return to your car in Albuquerque. But first, you must climb 4,000 feet over 13.5 miles through four ecosystems—upper Sonoran to spruce—from the southern terminus in Tijeras, NM.
Want to make an overnighter out of the entire 26-mile Crest Trail? Travel south to north to take advantage of breaks on level terrain as you climb, and pack light: You can leave the stove at home if you grab dinner at the restaurant and have a cold breakfast.
-Mapped by Bill Velasquez
TO TRAILHEAD: Start: From I-25 in Albuquerque, take I-40 east 15 miles to exit 175 (Tijeras) for NM 337 south. Turn left to cross under the interstate, then turn right onto Arrowhead Trail. Go .6 mile to trailhead at end of street.
End: From I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque, take I-25 north 7.5 miles to Tramway Rd., exit 234. Turn right. Take Tramway Rd. east 4.9 miles to Tramway Rd. NE; turn left. Take Tramway Rd. NE .8 mile to Tramway Loop NE. Bear right, and go .2 mile to parking at base of tramway.