La Luz Trail

#1 of 3 trails in elena gallegos picnic area

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8.8 mile trail at the north end of the Sandias, goes from the base of the mountain to the peak at 10,678'. Beautiful views of the Albuquerque valley to the west.

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J Roberts (93)

3 Completed2 Reviews

Rock slides are snow and ice packed. Yak tracks are a must. Several places where snow but packed and my leg went completely through the cracks. Plan on at least an extra hour to navigate through the mess. A few places where new rock/mud/tree slides and be super cautious going over them. Everyone turned around but I went on in my running shoes. A pretty big mind game navigating some of the drop offs with a foot wide unstable ice path in places. What normally takes me 3 to 4 hours took 5 1/2. I would not do this again without yak tracks or spikes.

Jeffrey Sanchez (224)

9 Completed9 Reviews

The best hike I've done in New Mexico so far... great views for most of the trail, and the trail is in good shape and heavily traveled. I went a bit early in the season and thus had nearly 3 miles of snow-covered trail at the end, which ended up being slow going with just hiking poles (definitely should've had microspikes for that section). Great to have a nice restaurant and tram to get down, though the hike back to the car from the end of the tram is not short (2+ miles of a lot of up-and-down hiking).

s harris (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Spectacular hike, aspens at their peak right now, weather was amazing. I assumed it would be much harder than it was. Something I did not see in other reviews is that is gets pretty steep anddefinitely hardest the last half mile at the Sandia Crest spur trail (if someone is picking you up at the top). I guess most people head for the tram and go down, but during balloon fiesta the tram is very crowded. I agree with starting early, much of the hike was in the shade which is really nice for shadows. Great photos all the way. Definitely the best hike in the area!


5 Completed5 Reviews

Wonderful hike and amazing views of the City of Albuquerque. A number of places to stop and take a break for snacks/lunch. Hiked to the Tram and rode the Tram back down the Sandia mountain.

Marcos Bermudez (118)

5 Completed2 Reviews

Hardest hike I've done yet. Really enjoyed it. Would recommend to anyone interested in a tough hike. 5-7 miles are the hardest, but you can make it!

Rick Goshorn (62)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Hiked this one last Sunday, perfect weather. partially the new trail, partially the old. Ranger Dave came by and said Hi, 85 years old and still hikes the old trail to the 5 mile mark twice a week

Mike McCabe (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I am an Albuquerque native and frequent exerciser but just started hiking about a month ago. The first time I went up La Luz I went to the 4.6 mile marker and then turned around because of high wind. The second time I went up with my kids, 7 and 9, and we went 4 miles up and then back just because I had no idea what their endurance was like. They did fine but it certainly wore them out. Then I went up with my friend who works out but does not hike and we went the 8 miles up to the tram and then went all the way back down the way we came. During the ascent we took only 2 10 minute break at mile 4 and then one 15 at mile 6. The whole trip took 6 hours and 40 minutes Needless to say that kicked our asses and our legs were pretty much dead. Then I decided to take my kids up the next weekend and we went all the way to the top with a few breaks that totaled 22 minutes. I carried my daughter up some of it when she said she was tired so we could keep a good pace. That trip took 3 hours and 50 minutes. It's a very challenging hike for sure but I'm hooked and want to get faster at it. Miles 5-7 are the most challenging in my opinion. The views are spectacular and I would recommend this hike to anyone. I'm looking forward to winter now so I can snow shoe the last 4 miles!

Troy Waters (1244)

91 Completed42 Reviews

Enjoyed the hike up and down the trail, the last 1/2 mile had some snow pack but was not bad at all nice views of the Rio Grande Valley, Mount Taylor, Jemez and beyond

Ryan N. (139)

I do this trail a lot with my dogs. Best time to go is just before sun up - the light (la luz) is the best and no crowds. Not that difficult to round trip it in 4 hrs or less for people in good shape. Cool side trails to take too like up the creek bed or chimney canyon.

Priyank Patel (70)

2 Completed2 Reviews

An amazing experience. Me and my buddy hiked from the lower tram where our car was parked. From there, the tramway trail (2.2) miles takes to the beginning of the La Luz trail. The first 2 miles as others mention are pretty much walk in the smaller foot hills and slight elevation. After that the real deal starts when you pick up the area between the valley. Lush green and the ecology changes. Desert flora change to alpine gradually. Last 3 miles - strenuous. The rock really get to you. Cold gushing winds almost near freezing and pretty vertical climb, quite an experience.

My 2 cents - water water water (at least 2 liters) , layers layers layers, shoes, snacks and a nice camera.
FYI - people routinely living in the sea level region, beware of acute mountain sickness. (see wikipedia or ask your primary care doctor). I would advise you to ask your primary care doctor for some 'acetazolamide' for prevention.
I routinely live at 600 feet altitude - flew to ABQ which is at 5500 feet and the peak is 10,600. The ascent is quite rapid and I had some minor symptoms of the AMS. Just FYI, something to keep in mind.

And yeah ! did I tell you the feeling after reaching the top --> for lack of better terms 'almost as ecstatic as an orgasm'. No kidding, the joy and satisfaction of all the hard work.... totally orgasmic.