Hiked on a Thursday and only encountered a handful of people early on in my trip. Parked at the base of the tram. Took the 2.6m Tramway Trail to the junction with La Luz (0.9m into the La Luz trail). I intended to take a more direct secondary trail to Sandia Crest, but somehow missed that turn off and ended up continuing up La Luz.
Not surprising... For this "flat lander" from the east coast, I'm used to overly marked trails due to foliage. I'm glad I found a great trip report online (good cell coverage on the hike) and followed their step by step review (I had a topo, but there are quite a few cut throughs and unmarked trails, it rendered it relatively useless to navigate by trail, but was still consistent for navigating by terrain).
La Luz was beautiful and being that I hadn't acclimated quite yet, I had a love/hate relationship with all the switchbacks. After the 5.0m marker on the trail there are a lot of switchbacks (the trail has over 20 total) through large rock/scree fields. 5.7m on La Luz. Elevation exchange of 3,775'. Then took the 0.6m Crest Spur Trail that gained 587'. There were stairs!!! Once I got up top, I had to go to the north side of the building to reach the summit. 360 degree views shared with those that drove up. (It was cold and windy. I needed a sweatshirt.)
Then I went south along the South Crest Trail for 1.8m. There were some beautiful meadows, soft trails (felt good after the hike up), and amazing overlooks out on the ridge of the crest. I arrived at the tram less 6.5 hours after I started and after spending a little time relaxing (there was a nice looking restaurant at the tram stop, but I was way to smelly to even consider going in, maybe some other time when I'm in ABQ), I took the tram back down (less than 10 minutes). 7 hours all around, 11m, over 4k' elevation change.
Bring water!!! I had 128 oz. I drank 3/4 before I went down and felt appropriately hydrated, which is important at elevation.
It was a great hike and a beautiful day. I hope the area gets some rain, it was way too dry so early in the season.
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