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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 experiencing! 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.
It’s easy to construct a shorter route if you don’t want to travel this far. 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 and dropping down into ravines.
The trail gets progressively rockier, as well. Once at the far side of the system, all the climbing you’ve been doing finally pays off! The trail turns downward, heading down the hillside toward the edge of town.
The descent is also the most technical portion of trail, with rock gardens, ledges, and more. Heading back along the lower edge of the system, the singletrack maintains its rocky character for several miles.
As on the way out, the closer it gets to the main trailhead, the mellower 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!