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A loop around the Cienega Canyon picnic area that includes part of South Faulty Trail.


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Map Key

5.3

Miles

8.5

KM

90%

Singletrack

7,860' 2,396 m

High

7,102' 2,165 m

Low

848' 259 m

Up

842' 257 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

This route is typically snowy from November through February. May be closed during the summer months due to fire danger - check with the ranger station for details.

Overview

This is a nice varied loop in the east Sandias that gives a sampling of the steep and narrow South Faulty trail, the chunky switchbacks along the horse bypass, and a flowing canyon section.

Need to Know

Hiker traffic can be heavy in this popular area.

Description

Park at the horse trailer area or Sulphur Canyon picnic area if the gate is closed. NOTE: Parking anywhere in this area requires a valid permit. Patrols are frequent and fines approach $100.

Head east down the chunky switchbacks of Horse Bypass to Cienega Canyon. Turn downhill along an old road, then bear off and to the right onto Armijo Trail. Follow this uphill through a nice wide canyon with a couple of steep sections. Eventually you'll hit a section of South Faulty Trail that will take you north until you once again intersect Cienega Canyon.

Here, there are a couple of bedrock steps and a steep descent to the canyon floor. You can bail out here or continue following South Faulty Trail until it intersects the Horse Bypass. The Horse Bypass is a nice downhill ride with a couple of chunky spots.

Once you reach the road, continue on to the parking area and complete the loop.

Contacts

Local Club: AMBA

Land Manager: USFS - Cibola National Forest Office

Shared By:

John Geronimo with improvements by Sarah Councell

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 17 votes

#2

in Sandia Park

#2174

Overall
  3.8 from 17 votes
5 Star
18%
4 Star
53%
3 Star
18%
2 Star
12%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Sandia Park

#57

in New Mexico

#2,174

Overall
20 Views Last Month
3,258 Since Jul 13, 2014
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
7%
29%
29%
36%
0%

Photos

The view makes the tough climb worth it
May 7, 2018 near Sandia…, NM
Typical rocky tread on South Faulty
Aug 16, 2014 near Sandia…, NM
Nice cruising in Cienega Canyon
Jul 24, 2014 near Sandia…, NM
Steeper section approaching South Faulty Trail
Aug 16, 2014 near Sandia…, NM
This series of bedrock steps is the one of the few on Faulty
Jul 13, 2014 near Sandia…, NM
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 16, 2023
Evan Miller
5.3mi
Jun 6, 2023
Jared Saia
May 1, 2021
Angel Vela
Cibola national forst 7.6mi — 2h 00m
Jul 20, 2019
Nick Bustamante
Trail is very fun going CCW. Steep and rocky at times but nothing too bad. Scenery is beautiful. A few overgrown stretches and a couple downed trees. — 1h 45m
May 12, 2018
Anthony Gauna
May 7, 2018
Rose Consaul
May 4, 2018
Sara Doorley
5.3mi
Aug 4, 2017
Anthony Gauna
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