Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Legend has it that Spanish explorers named this range Sandia (meaning watermelon) for its rosy glow at sunset. You be the judge on this five-miler below North Sandia Peak. Less than a mile in, turn right for a .4-mile side trip to a pourover that transforms into a burbling waterfall after a rain.
Next, ascend 1.4 miles (and nearly 1,200 feet of elevation) to a high point dubbed “The Knob.” From here, walk .4 mile northwest along the summit ridge for distant views north of the Sangre de Cristos. Linger here ‘til dusk (or camp below The Knob) to watch the sinking sun bathe North Sandia’s west-facing crags in pink and red hues.
-Mapped by Bill Velasquez
- Distance: 8.1
Location: 35.223058, -106.483406
From sign near kiosk, follow two-track dirt road N
Location: 35.228409, -106.482399
Dirt road ends; Piedra Lisa Trail begins
Location: 35.229846, -106.48093
Quick descent into parched streambed shaded by piñon and juniper
Location: 35.230683, -106.479562
Wilderness boundary. Ahead, turn R for .4-mi. side trip up a cramped canyon-a must-do if there’s been any rain
Location: 35.229988, -106.476501
Hiking stops @ small pourover-usually dry, but a cool spot when creek runs and waterfall burbles. Backtrack to WPT 4, then head NW toward tilted rock slabs
Location: 35.231193, -106.47946
Geocache: Turn left and hike SE around rock bench. Under the large pile of rocks is a green ammo box of geocache goodies.
Location: 35.238232, -106.477798
On R, rock climbers work the cruxes on The Shield and other crags of North Sandia Peak
Location: 35.244603, -106.475329
Reach the ridge. Continue R (E) on Rincon Spur
Location: 35.243464, -106.474128
The Knob: Views of Mt. Taylor to W and the Sangre de Cristos to N. Backtrack to WPT 8 and head W past unsigned fork along ridgeline for final treasure hunt
Location: 35.247196, -106.478409
This easier-to-find cache is tucked between rocks just S of large fire pit. Take in more views, then return to trailhead
Location: 35.230004, -106.476338
Location: 35.241028, -106.475093