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The North Foothills area includes the Elena Gallegos Open Space, and the trails in this network comprise some of the best and most easily-accessible singletrack in the Albuquerque region.
Serving a population of almost a million people, you can expect to encounter traffic on these trails… but that shouldn’t dissuade you.
This singletrack is well-worth a rip! Most people begin from the Ellena Gallegos trailhead, although you can enter the network from a variety of access points.
To follow the route mapped here, begin on the obvious, wide trail that threads a narrow path between the houses and the Wilderness boundary. Eventually, the trail leads into a broader and more expansive trail system, with a variety of trail options.
The route mapped here maximizes the mileage through the network without spending a lot of time doubling back.
While the original access trail, and the trail as it begins in the main network, is quite wide and boring, after a few miles the trail tread narrows down considerably into beautiful singletrack.
The singletrack begins to take more entertaining lines through the hills, contouring along the hillsides, dropping down into ravines and flying back up the other sides.
The trail gets progressively rockier, with rock gardens, drops, and up-and-overs demanding attention and adept bike handling.
Once at the far side of the system, all the climbing you’ve been doing finally pays off! The trail turns downward, bombing down the hillside toward the edge of town.
The descent is conveniently the most technical portion of trail, with chundery rock gardens, significant ledge drops, jumps, and fast straightaways—a mountain biker’s dream! It’s over all too quickly, but this sweet descent prompts some riders to pedal back up and repeat it a few times. Heading back along the lower edge of the system, the singletrack maintains its technical character for several miles, providing entertaining, rocky cross country pedaling.
As on the way out, the closer it gets to the main trailhead, the easier the trail character gets until it returns to the smooth, overly-maintained access trail. North Foothills is ultra-popular, but that popularity is well-earned.
If you choose your time wisely, you can avoid most of the crowds and enjoy a fantastic romp through these convenient and enjoyable trails!