Albuquerque, NM: Hawk Watch Trail

Wind past parched arroyo and panoramic views on this 3.2-mile out-and-back that leads to a seasonal bird-watching Mecca in Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountains.

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Enjoy a springtime trek into one of the Sandia’s most prominent southern canyons. You’ll cross an arroyo and begin a moderate climb that continues as this route branches east at the national forest boundary. Rewards await: Expansive views of the Manzanita Mountains and a bird-watching outcrop 1,000 feet above the parking area. Schedule your hike during Hawk Watch International’s banding season (early March-May 5) and you may get an up-close raptor education from on-site volunteers. -Mapped by Bill Velasquez

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.6



Location: 35.0763664, -106.444252

Park in small primitive lot with no facilities and head north from the trailhead.


Location: 35.0805588, -106.4436417

Follow a sandy wash past a trail marker and climb an old road that skirts a distinctive rock jumble.


Location: 35.0825462, -106.4435959

A fence marks the national forest boundary and signs for the Hawk Watch Trail lead east toward a series of drainages.


Location: 35.0837975, -106.4381332

Traverse along mountain contours and around rocks. The trail is easy to follow and prime cottontail territory. Note: This section of trail is easy to follow when dry, but can easily be lost in a few inches of snow.


Location: 35.0834961, -106.4361343

Pause before the trail’s biggest climb in this open area with expansive views to the south and east.


Location: 35.0869789, -106.4325867

Although the trail continues 0.5 mile higher to the trapping operations area, stop at these large rock formations to avoid disturbing conservation efforts. Retrace your route to the trailhead.