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“La Luz trail, 8 miles and 3,200 foot climb” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandia Mountains

Sandia Mountains
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Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise
Activities: Hiking, Hot-air ballooning
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Owner description: The Sandia Mountains tower 5,000 feet over the flood plains of the Rio Grande, making a 37,000 acre wilderness area a short drive from Albuquerque.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
26 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“La Luz trail, 8 miles and 3,200 foot climb”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

We hiked the La Luz trail the first week of May 2013. The trail was well marked and provided for a easy hike. As we ascended the trail you could tell the air was getting thinner and the temperature cooler. By the time we reached 9,000 feet we found remnants of snow among the boulders along the trail. We were dressed in shorts and wore hoodies which kept us warm enough until we got to the summit trail. The last 1/2 mile to the tram was a brisk 35 degrees with the winds and clouds rolling in from the west. It was an awesome sight to see the clouds billowing up and over us. By the time we reached the tram our hands and fingers were stiff from the cold. I would recommend a hat and gloves for these early season hikes.

Visited May 2013
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22 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“So Beautiful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

This was truly an amazing experience for my husband and I. We took the leisurely drive to the top of the mountain so we could take pictures along the way and it was a great drive. When we got to the top to the gift shop and went outside to the overlook, there were hummingbird feeders set up all along the balcony and the hummingbirds came even when my husband and I both put our fingers on where the hummingbirds would land to take a drink. They actually landed on our fingers and had no problems perching there while they drank. What a neat experience.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Nice escape for Texans”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

My wife and I came to ABQ to visit my sister and Brother-in-law. On the first day we set aside time to explore the Sandia mountain. We chose to drive and explore rather than take the tram. It was such a nice break from the heat in late July...in the middle of the day it was 55-60 at the peak and the views were amazing. It's definitely a great stop over if you are in the area.

Visited July 2012
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Everything is Greener on the East Side of the Sandia Mountains”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

Usually this time of the year, we set aside time for vacation away from home. This year we decided to stay put and take short excursions around ABQ. Enjoying the outdoors is one of our favorite things to do, especially hiking. It's a great family activity to do, and even more so if you have a dog. We are fortunate to have over 25 trails so close to us in the Sandia Mountains. Instead of doing the La Luz Trail on the west side of the Sandias, we chose the greener east side for our recent hike.

My husband decided on the Cienega Trail because he wanted to see if this was the trail he used to hike as a child with his family; "there were wild strawberries along the trail." This trail is located about 1.7 miles from the entrance of the Cibola National Forest at the intersection of NM 14 (The Turquoise Trail) and Highway 536 (road up to Sandia Peak Ski).

The east side of the mountain is greener because it receives more precipitation. It contrasts sharply with the sandy/rocky terrain of low brush and cactus on the west side. There are tall trees and grass, wildflowers, and water in the brooks at this of the year- it's refreshing. Our hike began at 10 am. The weather was perfect- blue skies, no wildfire smoke, the temperature in the 70s, and a little breezy. In my opinion, this time of the year and September/October are prime times for outdoor activity. This trail is rated as difficult (moderate by some), and at the time, I did not know it. While I was hiking up, every time I stopped to catch my breath I kept thinking to myself, "I am so out of shape, I need to work out more!" It took us about 2 hours to climb up 2000 feet in elevation to the top.

We were well rewarded with a spectacular view of the city. It was a clear view for about 80 miles in three directions. With binoculars, we were able to locate our home down below. After resting for a while, we decided to head back down the same trail in order to make it back into town for another event. Otherwise, we could have taken the Crest Trail and down the Oso Corredor Trail back to our car for a longer hike. The entire hike took about 3.5 hours for a total of about 4.25 miles and we encounter a total of 7 people and 1 dog.

While we did see wild strawberry plants along the trail, my husband is still not sure if this was the trail of his childhood days. No matter, it was a morning well spent and I got a good workout!

Tip: Go to this link for more info about hiking trails in the Sandias http://www.sandiahiking.com/trailguide.html

Visited May 2012
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Poulsbo, Washington
Level Contributor
60 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“a nice escape”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2012

I wanted a diversion from the city, so I went up to the Sandia Mountains. There was some small hiking trails and a nice view from the mountains. I couldn't believe the size of the gift shop. Quite impressive. It was a relaxing trip before heading to Madrid and then to Santa Fe.

Visited June 2011
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