Best Albuquerque Hikes for Summertime

Hiking in Albuquerque? In the middle of the summer? At first thought, that doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. It’s a bit…warm. And that’s an understatement.

But we posed this question to David Ryan, the author of the new 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Albuquerque, and he gave us a list of outstanding hikes that are worth the sweat and possible sunburn. Just remember—start your hike early in the morning to avoid the late afternoon thunderstorms!

Del Agua Overlook

Distance & Configuration: 4.4 miles out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

The Del Agua Overlook hike is perfect for a summer morning because it is mostly shaded by aspens, and the quaking green aspen leaves will sound like a light rain. The hike begins by following the east fenceline of the towers. The humming from the towers will end as soon as you pass them and enter the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. Once past the towers, you’ll be walking through a dense fir tree forest sprinkled with aspens. You’ll soon reach a trail sign saying 1.5 miles to the overlook. From this point on you’ll have periodic openings with beautiful views to the west. The jagged formations of the Sandias below are amazing. And when you look across Rio Grande Valley you’ll see across Albuquerque and all the way to Mount Taylor far to the west.

Nambe Lake

Distance & Configuration: 7-mile out-and-back

Difficulty: Strenuous

If you’re looking for a high-country hiking adventure, you don’t have to drive to Colorado to find one. They’re right here within our 60-mile radius of Albuquerque in the Pecos Wilderness just outside of Santa Fe. Nambe Lake is the closest alpine lake to Albuquerque and Santa Fe and is a great high-country adventure.

The hike is tough, but it is gorgeous the entire way. You’ll find alpine meadows, lakes, glacial features, and fantastic views on this hike. And when you reach the goal, the view of the alpine lake surrounded by mountain peaks poking above timberline will take your breath away.

Mount Taylor

Distance & Configuration: 6-mile out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous

Often snowcapped into midspring, Mount Taylor, at 11,301 feet, is the massive volcano on Albuquerque’s sunset horizon. A classic hike on a des- ignated trail with a nice, steady climb winds through woods and meadows to culminate at the very top of the mountain. it is one of the best hikes in New Mexico and belongs on your must-do list.

Upon the sacred summit of Tsoodzil, the head of Pogo the Possum is mounted on a steel pole, along with a sign reading MT. TAYLOR ELEV. 11,301 and a box contain- ing a logbook and a thermometer. Take a moment to read past entries and enjoy the view. On a clear day, you can see into both Arizona and Colorado. If it’s been a wet year, the valleys below will be filled with flowers.

Tanya Twerdowsky
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