Pino Trail

From a public park to high-elevation wilderness along the Sandia Crest.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
14 km
Ascent
869 m
Descent
869 m
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
2 km
High Point
2.8 km
Gradient
11˚
Pino Trail Map

Pino Trail climbs from the high desert of Albuquerque into subalpine forest on the Sandia Crest, through different vegetation zones along the way. When not in the trees, views are of rocky peaks all around and the city far below. It ends at a saddle on the crest, which is thick with scrub oak, but a rock outcrop provides an elevated vantage. This saddle is also the junction with Crest Trail, which continues north and south, making extended hikes possible.

Description

Pino Trail begins in Elena Gallegos Open Space, which charges a small entry fee and has amenities like toilets, picnic tables, and plenty of parking. The trail stays in this park only briefly before entering the Sandia Mountains Wilderness of Cibola National Forest. As it climbs higher into the mountains, the path is fairly easy to follow but overgrown in places. It's open year round, though the higher elevations are usually snowy from December through May. Keep in mind that summer brings the dangers of both extreme heat and thunderstorms, so starting very early is best.

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area