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North Foothills, Elena Gallegos Main Loop

Intermediate
 4.1 (74) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

10.0

Miles

16.1

KM

95%

Singletrack

6,726' 2,050 m

High

6,197' 1,889 m

Low

875' 267 m

Up

875' 267 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Please be courteous of other trail users and do not cross the Wilderness Boundary, it is clearly signed and fenced.

Overview

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

Shared By:

LeeAB Brinckerhoff

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 74 votes

#153

Overall
  4.1 from 74 votes
5 Star
30%
4 Star
53%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in New Mexico

#153

Overall
278 Views Last Month
25,305 Since Mar 12, 2013
Intermediate

2%
0%
83%
2%
13%
0%

Photos

The dreaded rock-slide feature is better taken with balanced power than all-out mashing.
Feb 27, 2017 near Sandia…, NM
Railing a corner, notice the "cactus consequence".
Mar 16, 2013 near Sandia…, NM
This is the smaller feature before the rock slide on Trail 230. The easiest line is all the way to the right.
Feb 27, 2017 near Sandia…, NM
Dangerous Wildlife!!  Diamondback Rattlesnakes will sun themselves along the trail.  Be cautious!!
May 26, 2014 near Sandia…, NM
Ride in the early morning for beautiful views and crisp, refreshing air.
Jul 27, 2015 near Sandia…, NM
Farthest part of the loop, it's all downhill from here!
Oct 8, 2016 near Sandia…, NM

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 8 hours ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 23, 2020
P Stev
9.4mi — 1h 28m
Jun 16, 2020
Lacey Tvede
10mi — 1h 27m
Feb 26, 2020
Keith Beckley 1
Nov 10, 2019
Christian Mannsfeld
Great conditions, perfect weather in the afternoon 21.1mi — 2h 12m
Oct 14, 2019
Dusty Rhodes
Sep 27, 2019
Kathy Brown
had to walk a few ups and downs on trail 230 portion
Sep 1, 2019
CIndy Gerk
Aug 17, 2019
Bryan Babcock