9 Beautiful Hiking Trails in Albuquerque for All Levels

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There is something about the American cities where you can escape easily to nature and away from the noise. These hiking trails in Albuquerque (and nearby) allow for a break from the noise and a chance to explore the incredible New Mexico nature.

Albuquerque can be unbearably hot during the summer but some of these trails offer the much-needed shade that escapes the concrete and temperatures of the city.

trail along the edge of the Crest of the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque
Best hiking trails in Albuquerque (and nearby)

But, they are also great trails to take to other times of the year. If you have a favorite hike near Albuquerque, please let us know in the comments!

This guide details the best Albuquerque hiking trails and even hikes in Albuquerque for all levels of hikers regardless of experience!

If we missed your favorite Albuquerque trail, please drop it in the comments below!

Best Time to Go Hiking in Albuquerque

The best time to go hiking in Albuquerque is in the shoulder season if you’re not doing one of the higher-elevation hikes. 

The New Mexico desert is far too hot to be comfortable during the summer months, however, the mountains in the surrounding area do offer cooler temperatures during the summer months. One great thing about many of the trails below is that many go through the forest and offer shade from the sun.

Beware that if you opt to do some winter hiking in Albuquerque, you will likely encounter snow in the mountains. These trails really require good hiking boots as they can become icy very quickly.  But, this area offers some of the United States’ best year-round hikes.

Map of the Best Trails in Albuquerque, NM

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Best Hiking Trails in Albuquerque – The List

There are a variety of amazing hikes near Albuquerque – here is a list of the ones we chose especially for this guide! Let us know your favorites in the comments as there are well beyond nine great trails in the city’s vicinity.

  • Easy: Pino Trail (short), Travertine Falls Trail, Volcanoes Trail
  • Moderate: South Piedra Lisa Trail, Embudito Canyon Loop, Eye of the Sandias Loop Trail
  • Difficult: La Luz Trail #137, Pino Trail, Domingo Baca Trail #230
La Luz Trail
La Luz Trail is one of the best in the area

Best Easy Day Hikes in Albuquerque

Pino Trail Short Version

Distance: 3.3 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 616 feet
Location: Elena Gallegos Picnic Area (Albert G. Simms Park)

Pino Trail in ABQ NM
Pino Trail

The Pino Trail (Short Version) is a fantastic day hike from Albuquerque.  It is heavily-trafficked and a popular route, but the out and back trail is located not far from Albuquerque and is great for all levels and children. 

The trail tends to be used mostly for running, hiking, and horses. During the spring months into summer, you will find the trail brimming with colorful flowers, offering luscious scenery to hikers. 

Dogs are permitted on this trail but they must be kept on a leash at all times.  There is a small fee to park – $1 during the week and $2 on weekends.  This is cash only and must be put in an envelope. 

Another perk of this trail is that it is a great winter hike in Albuquerque and is easily managed in the snow!  If you’re a more experienced hiker, you can continue on to the longer trail.

Travertine Falls

Distance: 1.1 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 249 feet
Location: Cibola National Forest

Travertine Falls Trail in Albuquerque
Travertine Falls

Another short and easy trail near Albuquerque is the Travertine Falls trail, a heavily-trafficked out and back trail near Tijeras.  As suggested by its name, this is a New Mexico waterfall hike!

Good for all skill levels, the Travertine Falls Trail is used mainly for hiking, walking, and running.  The best months to use the trail are from March until October and dogs are permitted, but must be leashed.

This hike starts at the beginning of S. Crest Trail 130 from Canyon Estates.  The walk to the waterfall is forested and only half a mile (and, of course, half a mile back). It is the perfect hiking trail near Albuquerque for children and all skill levels!

Please be aware that this is not a ‘mind-blowing’ waterfall, but it is a nice treat at the end of the trail.

INSIDER TIP: If you venture to the top of the waterfall, you will find a cave with many fossils of famous New Mexico critters inside of it.

The Volcanoes Trail

Distance: 3.2 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 374 feet
Location: Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument hiking
Petroglyph National Monument

This heavily-trafficked trail near Albuquerque is situated in the mind-blowing Petroglyph National Monument, just a short distance from the city.  It is a loop trail that is suitable for all skill levels.

The Petroglyph National Monument trail is best for checking out the gorgeous wildflowers, hiking, running, birdwatching, and more!  Dogs are permitted on leash and The Volcanoes Trail is open all year, making it a popular Albuquerque winter hike, too.

Please be sure to check the website for Petroglyph National Monument to ensure everything is open as restoration efforts have been recently taking place there.

Best Moderate Hikes in Albuquerque

South Piedra Lisa Trail

Distance: 4.4 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 1,309 feet
Location: Sandia Mountain Wilderness

A moderate trail close to Albuquerque, the South Piedra Lisa Trail is one of the top-rated ones in the area!

It is a 4.4-mile, heavily-trafficked hike that is renowned for its wildflowers and activities such as hiking, birdwatching, running, forest views, and more.  Dogs are permitted if on a leash.

This hike can be a bit cold during shoulder season (it is best done from March until October) and you may even see snow at the top!  South Piedra Lisa Trail can be a bit steep so it is not recommended for beginners. But, this is considered to be one of the best New Mexico hikes!

Embudito Canyon Loop

Distance: 3.9 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 1,204 feet
Location: Sandia Foothills Open Space Park

Embudito Canyon Trail
Embudito Canyon Trail

One of the best hiking trails in Albuquerque (well, close to it!) is the Embudito Canyon Loop, a 3.9-mile loop trail.  This is a moderate trail and is not recommended for rookie hikers.  

Embudito Canyon Loop is a fantastic place to check out wildlife such as birds, deer, and smaller rodents.  It can get a bit chilly there, so dress accordingly.

One thing to note about this trail is that it is rocky and requires a bit of a scramble.  This is not a trail for someone who has a poor gait or is not capable of doing such!  Wear proper shoes!

Eye of the Sandias Loop Trail

Distance: 3.9 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 1,295 feet
Location: Sandia Foothills Open Space Park

Best hiking trails in Albuquerque New Mexico
Best hiking trails in Albuquerque

Another trail that is popular near the city and is in the Sandia Foothills Open Space Park area is the Eye of the Sandias Loop Trail.  This 3.9-mile loop trail is moderately-trafficked and a great alternative to the Embudito Canyon Loop mentioned above. 

There is a bit of scrambling at the top, so wear proper shoes and be warned.  This trail can also be a bit steep for beginner hikers, so it is not recommended for those without adequate experience.

You will have to reach the top to locate the ‘Eye of Sandia’.  This trail is never too packed and is a great Albuquerque hike for those wanting a bit of solitude.  While the trail allows dogs, most hikers state they don’t believe it is a great trail for the pups due to the large rocks.

Best Difficult Hikes near Albuquerque

La Luz Trail #137

Distance: 13.3 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 3,572 feet
Location: Sandia Mountain Wilderness

La Luz Hiking Trail in Albuquerque
La Luz Trail

Albuquerque has some fantastic difficult hikes located nearby.  Coming from Richmond, Virginia, I was never so lucky to have challenging hikes in close proximity to the city! The La Luz Trail #137 is a heavily-trafficked out and back hiking trail near Albuquerque that is top-rated.

This is an epic trail to experience wildlife, but be cautious, it is best used from April until October.  La Luz is a popular trail for hiking, running, and nature trips.  Dogs are permitted, but only on leash.

La Luz Trail #137 starts at the base of the mountain in the Sandias and offers views over Albuquerque Valley to the west.  Please note that the trail is rocky, overgrown, and requires experience… so don’t head there if you’re not a well-seasoned hiker!

There is a parking fee of $3 and if you choose to take the tram down from the top, the charge is $15. 

One thing to be cautious of is that it is high-elevation and you must dress accordingly.  This trail, while suggested only until October, is still a popular winter hike in Albuquerque and there will be snow and wind at the top. When it is very windy, the tram will not work

What makes this trail a challenge is the length and lack of grooming.  The elevation gain is gradual with a few switchbacks.

Pino Trail

Distance: 9.0 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 2,736 feet
Location: Elena Gallegos Picnic Area (Albert G. Simms Park)

Pino Trail in Albuquerque NM
Pino Trail

If you’re looking for another more challenging hike in Albuquerque, look no further than the Pino Trail in Albert Simms Park.  This dog-friendly trail is best used from April until September and offers a fantastic route for hikers, runners, and those into birdwatching.

The Albuquerque trail is renowned for its wildflowers and views over the gorgeous New Mexico landscapes and Sandias. This hike is 9 miles, but it can lead you to the Crest Trail.

Another perk of this trail is that it is well-shaded and you won’t have too much exposure to the elements, especially during the summer months when it is scorching. There are some springs along the way, but they may be dried up depending on the season.

While Pino Trail is well-maintained and heavily-trafficked, there are some steep parts, making it a challenge for inexperienced hikers.  Beware that the path becomes a bit icy during the winter!

Domingo Baca Trail #230

Distance: 8.0 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 3,543 feet
Location: Elena Gallegos Picnic Area (Albert G. Simms Park)

Sandia Mountains - best hiking trails in Albuquerque

The Domingo Baca Trail is a fantastic, challenging hike located close to Sandia Park, one of the best places to visit in New Mexico. The 8-mile trail is an out and back and is a top-rated trail for those loving forests, views, and wildflowers.

The main feature of this hike is the river and is best used from June until October (but is open beyond those seasons to very experienced hikers). It is overgrown, has many bugs during certain times of the year, and requires a bit of scrambling, but it is well worth it!

One of the coolest things about this hiking trail in Albuquerque is that it starts out in the middle of the open desert and ends up in mountain forests – offering hikers an array of different environments and ecosystems (meaning this hike is anything but boring)!

Another interesting thing about the trail is that if you choose to continue on it, you can track down the wreckage of the 1955 TWA plane crash that occurred there.  Getting to the site is challenging and steep with a lot of loose soil and rocks, but it is definitely possible.

What to Pack and Wear

Here are some essentials that you should pack for a day of hiking in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

Hiking boots: I swear by my Keen Targhee hiking boots and they are an excellent choice for traipsing the landscapes around New Mexico’s largest city. Click here to see the Keen hiking boots I use.

Reusable water jug: Water is so essential if you’re on one of the hiking trails in Albuquerque and you definitely need to remain hydrated. I always tote along a Klean Kanteen water jug with me for the journey.

Rinconada Trail, Petroglyph National Monument, New Mexico
Rinconada Trail in Petroglyph National Monument

Sunscreen: Lather on up as some of these Albuquerque hikes have no shelter from the sun! The New Mexico sun is ruthless and you definitely need to put sunscreen on before your hike!

Light-colored clothing with long pants: Make sure you wear something that is light-colored and preferably, long, that covers your body from head to toe. Even though it is hot, you need to protect yourself from the sun and insects in the southwestern desert.

Park map: I recommend downloading an offline map from Alltrails before taking to the hikes around Albuquerque. 

We hope that you have found a great place to escape the city on this guide to the best hiking trails in Albuquerque and nearby! If you have any favorite Albuquerque hikes, please drop them in the comments! Thanks!

Additional New Mexico Reading

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Are you wanting to escape the city and New Mexico heat? These hiking trails in Albuquerque will help you do just that - these trails are perfect for any skill level! | Albuquerque hiking | Hiking Albuquerque | Albuquerque trails | Day hikes Albuquerque | New Mexico hiking | New Mexico outdoors | New Mexico trails | Best hikes in New Mexico | Sandias hiking | Petroglyphs National Monument hiking | Best trails in New Mexico | Sandias trails | Waterfall hikes in New Mexico

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