The Foothills Trail in the Elena Gallegos Open Space Park in Albuquerque is one of the nicest singletracks anywhere and is located next to a large metropolitan area. There is a maze of trails just below the Sandia wilderness area. Some trails are closed to cyclists, so observe the signs at the well marked intersections. All the bike trails allow foot traffic so keep your eyes open. The single track trails north of the Embudito trailhead are mainly rock free and are a lot of fun. There is some elevation gain but none of the trails are real steep. A number of new trails west of the open space have sprung up allowing lots of options. Trails 341, 342 230, 230A, 366, 365, and 365A are open to cyclists.
The area is very popular so watch for cyclists, runners, and hikers coming the other way.
The lower N-S trail, #365, is about 6-1/2 miles long, or a 13 mile out and back from south to north and back. The lower trails are nice cruisers with limited climbing. You can add loops of higher trails that are more technical. There are several loops of trails that climb to the east boundary and parallel it. The area's only shortcoming is its popularity, so watch for other cyclists, runners, hikers, and horses. It's great early in the mornings or in early or late winter when it is too cold to go anywhere else. The trails have signs posted that allow or restrict bicycles. Water and bathrooms are available at the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area.
Length: The lower N-S trail 365 is ~6 1/2 miles long. Numerous other loops head east uphill can be added to lengthen it. (You can cover all the trails in a couple of hours.).
Difficulty: Most of the trails are very clean and easy technically. The lower loop is a nice singletrack cruiser, of moderate endurance and easy technically. There are upper loops such as the lower Tram tower on the north that are more technical. There is sand in places and with heavy use more rocks are appearing in the trail than originally. Trails 341, 342, 305, and 305 are easy single tracks. Trail 230 and the north end of 365 is a little more difficult, rocky and, steep but still intermediate. There are really no extremely difficult technical trails. The most difficult trail is the steep Tram Tower trail that takes off east uphill from the northern end of trail 365. There is no signs but it is a definite turn just before the trail ends.
Getting There: The Tramway Bikepath provides easy access to the area if you ride by bike. Many people ride their bikes to and from the area.
General Trail Map of North Foothills
- Elena Gallegos Picnic Area. Fee Area: $1 weekdays, $2 weekends. Drive north on Tramway about 1/3 mile north of Academy to Simms Park Rd. It's on the east and there are prominent signs.
- Embudito Trailhead, east of Montgomery and Tramway. Drive (ride) east about 1/2 mile of Tramway on Montgomery. Turn left at the second stop sign onto Glenwood Hills Dr. Drive (ride) north about another 1/2 mile to the Embudito Trailhead road (second right), there is a brown "Embudito Trail" sign, turn right and drive east to a nice parking lot (no bathrooms) where the road dead ends. This area is so popular the parking lot is full on weekends and there are lots of cars parked along the road.
- Sandia Heights trailhead on the north end.
- Take the Bear Canyon Arroyo Trail uphill until it connects with Trail 365.
- Ride from home to the Tramway bikepath, take the trail that parallels the Elena Gallegos / Simms Park Road to the junction with Trail 365 just before the open space entrance building.
- Also, try the pleasant Michial Emery Trailhead where east-bound Spain dead-ends at High Desert Road.
- Trail 365, maintained by the City's Open Space division and the US Forest Service, is a really nice mountain bike trail that runs from the road to the Tram in the north almost to I-40 in the south. See the Trail 365 description.
- There are several unmarked trails that drop west down Bear Arroyo to Juan Tabo and further west to the Grande Oso Park and on the bikepath. These intersect Trail 365 north of the intersection with TR305. See the Bear Arroyo description.
- City of Albuquerque online Open Space Trail Maps.
- USFS Sandia Mountains Trails Map (2004)
- Trail Map of the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area & The Sandia Foothills is available from the Open Space Division, City of Albuquerque, 505-452-5210 (Includes the Foothills Trail), free. You can get a copy at the entry station.
- The area is described in the Falcon pocket guide book, Mountain Biking Albuquerque.
- Bicycles are not allowed in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness which is just east of the Open Space, so obey the signs.
- Be alert for numerous other cyclists, hikers, and horses on the trails.
- This land was purchased by the forward looking city with a sales tax several years ago and is now part of Albuquerque's Open Space.
- I believe that The Volunteers for the Outdoors has done some trail maintenance on the area. The Albuquerque WOMBATS has adopted trail 341 and other sections have been adopted.