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North Foothills, Elena Gallegos Main Loop

 47 votes

10.0 Miles 16.1 Kilometers


95%

Singletrack

894' 272 m

Ascent

-895' -273 m

Descent

6,726' 2,050 m

High

6,194' 1,888 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (8°)

All Clear

85 days agoUpdate

The main loop in the North Foothills area with options to lengthen or shorten the ride.

LeeAB Brinckerhoff

Overview

Please be courteous of other trail users and do not cross the Wilderness Boundary, it is clearly signed and fenced.
This is a great in-town ride in the foothills of the Sandia crest. Mostly smooth singletrack with a few rock gardens and ledge sections thrown in for good measure. The area of the ride closer to the parking area is generally smoother while the further half of the loop is more technical.

Need to Know

There are several different trailheads that this loop can be accessed from including the High Desert Trailhead and the Elena Gallegos Trailhead.

Not many of the descents on these trails have received armor yet and as such get a bit rough. Also, when the weather is nice out and on weekends, you can expect many other users, both bikes and hikers, and possibly horses as well.

Description

Head north out of the parking lot and take the obvious trail. Before long, you'll come to your first Wilderness sign that forces you left. From here, the trail skirts the edge of the High Desert development.

Eventually the trail heads towards the Sandia Crest, and at this point you'll want to stay on the main trail and not head left - the goal is to ride the trails as far east as possible to follow the Wilderness boundary.

After a somewhat rocky section, nothing very big, you'll come to a major trail junction where the 365 trail comes in from the left and 305 continues straight. Stay straight, following 305 towards the mountains. Fast, smooth singletrack follows, sweeping into and out of shallow ravines and over the ridges that separate them.

You'll come to a gravel road that is used to access some land owned by a local school. Go straight across this road. Very quickly, you'll need to make a sharp right turn at the bottom of a short downhill onto 305a.

Once you've made this turn, it's a long gradual grind up to the Pino Trailhead into the Sandia Wilderness using trails 305a, 342 and finally 341. You won't be on any one trail for more than a half mile before the next trail junction.

Upon reaching the Wilderness boundary, continue left on 341 along the fence line. Here, you'll face the first real technical challenge of the ride, a series of large embedded rocks/boulders. The trail surface then smooths out again for a few more short descents and climbs to another fork. Go right at the fork onto trail 230.

Once through the fork, you'll start up another gradual climb. It's short, but it's peppered with ledges and rocks that you need to weave between or ride over.

Once you reach the top of this climb, the trail takes two short steep drops into an arroyo and a big boulder hop, followed by a steep built up rock ramp to get back out. A little bit of cruising later you'll reach another Wilderness Trailhead and the trail turns left.

Now you'll lose all of the elevation you gained in the first half of the ride. A very rocky downhill follows. You can let it rip, but beware, there are a couple of tight turns that it would be terrible to miss. The downhill run finishes with a tight lefthand turn and a sign post for trail 365, which you'll follow back to your car. (Note: If you want extra distance head right to the H2O tower).

This next section consists of smooth sweeping singletrack with banked corners, mixed with rock gardens and some occasional loose gravel. When you come to an obvious trail junction with a post, head right. From this point, the trail smoothes back out and it's mostly ripping fun. The only real challenge is staying on the trail if you get going too fast - there are penalties for going off-trail in the form of cholla mostly but also the occasional prickly pear.

Follow the main trail, trail 365, through several intersections, eventually crossing Sims Park road (paved access to the Elena Gallegos Trailhead). There is one last junction that can be confusing and you want to stay right on trail 365. The trail will again cross the gravel access road and return you to the T-intersection that you passed at the beginning of the ride, and you can cruise back to your car from here.

Contacts

Local Club: AMBA

Land Manager: City of Albuquerque Open Space

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   Clear Rating

4.0 from 47 votes


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Check-Ins

Nov 20, 2017
Elissa B
Front half is very smooth and pleasant, back half has a lot of rock gardens!
Nov 10, 2017
JesseTremaine Tremaine
Nov 5, 2017
Jared Adams
Nov 4, 2017
Will Atkins
Spain TH up to water tower connector, down then up to Pino, to Spain TH
Nov 3, 2017
Branton Kerns
My first trail ride ever. Bring a helmet, bring lots of water, and bring a good attitude
Oct 9, 2017
donovan ellison
Aug 15, 2017
Tenzin Chuteng
Aug 4, 2017
Daniel Martinez
Nice day. Trail is in great shape. 9.6mi

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  4.0 from 47 votes

#131

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  4.0 from 47 votes
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#131

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Conditions


All Clear 85 days ago

Getting forecast...

Just visiting Albuquerque, and got this ride in over Memorial Day weekend. Great ride, but be aware of not being acclimated to the elevation. It took me longer than I would have thought because the air at 6200 feet is thinner than Ohio midwest air!! May 26, 2014

 
Just in case anyone else gets confused. "The downhill run finishes with a tight lefthand turn and a sign post for trail 365, which you'll follow back to your car. (Note: If you want extra distance head right to the H2O tower). This next section consists of smooth sweeping singletrack with banked corners, mixed with rock gardens and some occasional loose gravel. When you come to an obvious trail junction with a post, head right." I misread the first part, and then read the second paragraph. So I turned right at the post and ended up at the tram. That section is not that fun. Just sandy and rocky. The rest of the trail however was spectacular. Just moved to ABQ and this is the first foothills experience. Fantastic berms and little drops to entertain while speeding past chollas! Sep 25, 2015
Follow the mountain north or south. Lots of trails crossing everywhere. In the summer, make sure to avoid late afternoon rides to avoid monsoon rains. All times of the year...USE SEALANT...or be prepared to fix a lot of flats. Lots of goatheads on the trail, and if you stray off, be prepared for even more. Apr 28, 2017

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