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North Foothills, Elena Gallegos Main Loop

Intermediate
 4.2 (88) 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

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 87 votes

#145

Overall
  4.1 from 87 votes
5 Star
32%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in New Mexico

#145

Overall
222 Views Last Month
29,265 Since Mar 12, 2013
Intermediate

2%
0%
75%
12%
11%
0%

Photos

Riding below Sandia Peak
Feb 19, 2022 near Sandia…, NM
Riding North Foothills trails
Feb 19, 2022 near Sandia…, NM
The dreaded rock-slide feature is better taken with balanced power than all-out mashing.
Feb 27, 2017 near Sandia…, NM
Dangerous Wildlife!!  Diamondback Rattlesnakes will sun themselves along the trail.  Be cautious!!
May 26, 2014 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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 20 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

May 19, 2022
Gopi Krishnan Kutty
When to the wrong trails at first … probably added extra mile and time 11.7mi — 2h 06m
May 12, 2022
Jonathan Lukas
would recommend ride clockwise, upper 230 section is made for downhill clockwise riding, sucks to follow this route and try to scale up ledges
Apr 21, 2022
Teresa Howe
Mar 11, 2022
Thomas T
with Kevin
Feb 12, 2022
Thomas S
First ride of MTB trip and first ride in close to 2 months. Felt out of shape and clumsy but nice ride. Trail was in good shape, low traffic. — 1h 23m
Sep 21, 2021
tick911
18h 05m
Sep 12, 2021
Oso Vizcaino
6mi
Sep 4, 2021
Matt Sands