FATMAP by Strava

Placitas North: Sidewinder to Alta Vista Loop


A short but scenic loop in the Placitas North trail system.

Hiking Easy

6.2 km
96 m
96 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
1.7 km
Placitas North: Sidewinder to Alta Vista Loop Map

When people refer to the "Placitas" trails, they're almost always talking about the trail system located directly off Highway 165, which has a perpetually crowded parking lot. But for a much more remote and isolated ride, you can also drive north through the sprawling mansions and reach another Placitas trail system on BLM land. For the sake of clarity, I'm referring to this northern network as "Placitas North," as it doesn't have a better name than that.


The Placitas North trails receive a fraction of the traffic of the southern trails, and the majority of the traffic they do receive appears to be foot traffic. Sure, there are some riders out here, and even some horses—but in places, the trails are quite faint, and the signage is poor or nonexistent. But if you want to escape the crowds, this is the place.

The route shown here follows an easily-accessible loop on the front ridge of the trail system that provides a short but sweet outing in this network.

After heading back downhill on the other side of the fence, the climbing begins via a short but fairly steep hoof—but surprisingly, this might be the most difficult climb of the ride. Mellow singletrack flows along the backside of the ridge before crossing over a saddle of sorts onto the Alta Vista trail.

Alta Vista is a gem of a trail, providing the most scenic ridgetop corners in the entire trail system! Be sure to stop and admire the views from this elevated vantage point.

All too soon, you'll find yourself back down at the trailhead. If you're looking for a bit more mileage on your next ride, be sure to check out the "Placitas North Loop" route, mapped separately.



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

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


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Family friendly

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