Madrid Gold Rush
The Madrid Gold Rush is more fun than an ornery pack mule in a minefield. Begin and end at 4-Hills Smiths. This classic club ride is in the rural setting of the east mountains, east of the Sandia Mountains. The ride is somewhat challenging but has stunning views of the Sandias, Ortiz Mountains, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This is a good ride to escape the heat of the city but it can get really hot and windy out here too. The route is mainly on NM14 which goes through open pinon and juniper forests and hilly terrain.
Climb South Of Madrid
The route can be shortened by 12 miles by starting at the Tijeras library. Madrid has a lower elevation than the start from Tijeras so this ride is harder on the return, so be prepared. There is no water available north of San Antonito (Sandia Crest Cutoff) until Madrid, so carry plenty of water. There are a few stores or coffee shops in Madrid where you can buy snacks. The climbs north, out of Madrid are short (several miles) but steep. The route goes through Golden, where not much is going on, but has the often photographed Catholic church of San Francisco just off the NM14. It can get pretty hot and windy in the summer afternoons.
Getting There: Start at the 4-Hills Smiths at the junction of Tramway, Central, and I-40 or Tijeras which cuts off 14 miles.
- 4-Hills Smiths (72 miles 4500' elevation gain).
- Tijeras Library cuts off 14 miles in the Tijeras Canyon. (58 miles total, 3750' Elevation Gain).
Roadway: NM14 is 4-laned with a narrow shoulder from Tijeras to Frost Rd but with light traffic on weekends. NM14 north from Frost Rd is 2-laned with no shoulders but with very light traffic.
- See the North East Mountains Map.
- See Tijeras Trot for a description of the route from 4-Hills to Tijeras.
- Continue north on NM14 to Cerrillos and return.
- Continue north on NM14 to Lone Butte Cafe / convienence store / gas station and return. 76 miles 5,250'.
- Continue north on NM14 to Santa Fe and return (a century from Tijeras and back).
- Continue north on NM14 past Cerrillos to the Lone Butte store turn left (west) to I-25 for a loop return to Albuquerque. This route is described in the Sandia Mountain Century.
- There are many other options in the East Mountains, including adding Heartbreak Hill, the S-14 Rollers (NM217), La Madera, the Frost Road Frenzy, and more.
Notes: See NM Ghost Towns, Madrid. There are several stores or coffee shops in Madrid to get snacks, coffee, or water. (The mines at Madrid are for coal, not gold by the way...). There a two convenience stores in Cedar Crest and one at NM14 & Frost Rd. but nothing between Frost Rd and Madrid.
Madrid Gold Rush Cue Sheet // 72 Miles, 3750' Elevation Gain from Tijeras
Mileage Waypoint Leg Description
4-Hills Smiths Ride East on NM333 (old Rt. 66) to Tijeras at I-40. Continue straight through the Stop Light at NM333 & NM337 (S14) and curve left (north) under I-40.
Jct I-40 & NM14 Ride Straight (north) on NM14 past the Sandia Crest Turnoff (NM536 or Frost Rd.), past the Heartbreak Hill (NM344) turnoff (at 22 miles) to Madrid.
Madrid Return by the same route. This includes a pretty hard 4-mile climb south out of Madrid.
Madrid Gold Rush Elevation Profile
For those starting in Tijeras note that Madrid is lower than Tijeras. On the return there is a big climb out of Madrid, a climb out of Golden. The climb up NM14 to the Crest Rd is not bad. Finally, it's downhill all the way to Tijeras or 4-Hills..