The Albuquerque Open Space and US Forest Service maintain the Foothills Trail 365 that runs from the Sandia Aerial Tramway in the north almost to I-40 in the south. The trail climbs high into the Sandias in places giving terrific panoramas of Albuquerque and the views to the west. This trail system gets you off road without having to leave the metro area. This is a terrific trail, in pretty good condition, mostly dirt with very few sandy areas. It is steep in sections but not exceptionally steep. The trail is mostly well marked but in some areas there are a maze of trails that can be confusing. However, you can always see where you are going and have been so it is difficult to get lost. The southern-most stretch is narrower and is much more a hiking trail but it is still rideable. Along the trail there are picnic tables with shelters that are away from the parking areas that provide places to rest. There is no water along the way so carry plenty.
Trail 365A is a very nice loop at the Embudo Dam trailhead around the diversion dam. Maintenance on this section of the trail has been adopted from the Open Space Division and it has several nice plank bridges over dry washes.
Trail 365's southern terminus near I-40 doesn't seem to go anywhere but you can zig-zag west to Tramway Blvd.
There are hikers and horses on the trails so be alert.
Getting There: There are parking areas at:
- Elena Gallegos Picnic area
- Embudito Trailhead
- Camino de la Sierra between Montgomery and Comanche
- Indian School
- Embudo Dam Trailhead
- Copper Ave Trailhead.
- Also, try the pleasant Michial Emery Trailhead where east-bound Spain dead-ends at High Desert Road.
There is access all along the route at neighborhoods without formal parking areas . There is sometimes a entry in the border fence with an Open Space sign.
- Tramway Rd (road to the Tram)
- Sierra Heights northern end of the Elena Gallegos open space
- Arcadia(???) (near I-40 in the south). There is a sucker trail going east but there doesn't seem to be any way to go east up the canyon.
Difficulty: Moderate since there is a lot of climbing but there are no technical stretches.
Distance: The straight-line distance from the Tramway Rd in the north to the end at the south is 8.5 miles but the trail distance is probably twice that.
Options: See the Foothills Trail writeup of the trails in the Elena Gallegos Open Space.
Notes: The only water is at the Elena Gallegos Picnic area so carry plenty.
- City of Albuquerque online Open Space Trail Maps.
- USFS Sandia Mountains Trails Map (2004)
- Elena Gallegos Open Space Description
- Two Wheel Drive Map of the Elena Gallegos Open Space Trails