|View of Sandia's South Summit from the Embudito Trail|
|The sun-drenched lower portion of Embudito Trail, Mt. Taylor in distance|
|Sandia's South Summit in view - to the right of the massive rock formation|
|Sweeping views from Sandia's South Mountain, Manzanos in the distance|
|Don't celebrate too quickly - this is a false summit!|
|The approach to Sandia's South Summit along a narrow, rocky path|
Trailhead: Located at the end of Trailhead Road in Albuquerque, take Tramway Boulevard to Montgomery Boulevard and go east toward the mountains. Turn left on Greenwood Hills Road and then right onto Trailhead Road. The Emubdito Trailhead is at the north end of the parking lot at the end of Trailhead Road.
Distance: Some guide books say this trail is 11 miles out-and-back, but I say it's 12 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,400/3,400 feet (1,036/1,036 meters)
Map: A must-have map for hiking Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains is this GPS Powered Trail Map from Dharma Maps. A free map is also available from the Sandia Ranger District (11776 New Mexico 337, Tijeras, NM 87059).
Hiking Time: Depending on your pace, this hike can take between 6 and 10 hours to complete. Take plenty of water (4 to 6 liters recommended), lunch and snacks to keep up your energy.
Best Times to Hike: Plan to leave the trailhead as early as possible - check for sunset times and plan on 10 hours on the trail even if you may be able to do it quicker. This hike can be brutal in the summer since about 2/3 of the trail is under direct sunlight.
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous. The six miles to the summit isn't the hard part; Coming down is tough on the legs, so make sure you're in good shape for this one.
|Celebrating the victory of reaching Sandia's South Summit|
This is a unique hike in that it is nearly 100 percent within designated wilderness and a National Forest, yet you almost constantly experience views that remind you of the fragility of our world's protected spaces. I highly recommend this scenic hike the next time you're in Albuquerque. In fact, I would even say this hike is worth planning a special trip to the Duke City. Please leave me a comment below, and if you have any additional questions as you plan this hike, feel free to ask!
Learn more about the author at about.me/brian.schwarz. Follow HikeyHikey blogger Brian Schwarz on Twitter @MyFitLife2Day. Check out his other blogs, Man of Merit and MyFitLife2Day. And make sure to stop by Brian's Hubs on the popular writing site HubPages.