Four high altitude mountain ranges lie within 100 miles of Albuquerque: the Jemez, Manzano, Sandias, and Sangre de Cristos. The closest by far is the is the Sandia Mountain range. Snowshoeing in the nearby Sandias provides great family fun in a safe and relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of trails from which to choose for shusshing through snow on special shoes. The Sandias are a short drive east of Albuquerque, and have 14 snowshoe/xcountry trails that range from short half mile hikes to one 26.5 miles long. All trails are within the Sandia Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest.
To Get There: Take I-40 east to the Cedar Crest exit. Take NM 14 north about to NM 536, the Sandia Crest Scenic Highway, the highest scenic drive in the southwest. The eastern slopes of the Sandias provide a stark contrast to the craggy, mountainous western slopes. The evergreens and panoramic view make the ride in and of itself a pleasure.
Where to Snowshoe:
The snowshoe trails range in length and can be found along the scenic byway (NM 536). Find the right distance and find its starting point on a map. Then take off for winter adventure.
The Kiwanis Cabin trail is 0.5 miles long and begins at the Crest House visitor center trailhead and ends at the Kiwanis Cabin.
The Capulin Snow trail is 0.9 miles long and begins in the Capulin snow play area.
Longer trails include the Challenge Snow trail, which is 4.1 miles long and begins at the Sandia Peak ski base, ending at Ellis Th. There is also a 10k Snow trail, which is 4.9 miles long. It begins at Crest 130 and ends at Jct Crest 130 and Tree Spring 147.
The longest trail in the Sandias is the Crest Snow trail. It begins at Tunnel Spring Trailhead and ends at Canyon Estates Trailhead, and is 26.5 miles long.
Get Your Own Snowhoes:
Snowshoes can be rented at Routes, Rentals & Tours, and REI in Albuquerque. But if you want to trek the snow on a regular basis, having your own snowhoes is the way to go. Click the link to see what's available for everyone in your family. Either location will also provide good advice on where to snowshoe and how to enjoy your outing.
Find out about the Sandia Peak Snowshoe Race, which takes place January 18, 2014.