Piedra Lisa Canyon Loop Trail
13225 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111
This loop trail is a 3.2 km out-and-back hiking trail near Albuquerque in the western foothills of the Sandia Mountains. It is generally considered a moderately challenging route, taking 1 hour and 30 minutes on average to complete. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash.
This canyon got its name from its massive and easily visible granite pour-off. Piedra Lisa means “slick rock” in Spanish, and this trail is full of Sandia Granite’s slick rock sections. This trail is easily accessible and offers an excellent spot for a day hike, winter hiking, and scrambling. During summertime, Piedra Lisa Canyon can get very hot and dry. The City of Albuquerque Open Space operates the lower portion of this canyon. The far upper part is located within Sandia Mountain Wilderness. Though not to be confused with the namesake trail much farther from Sandia’s north, this delightful small canyon is close to Albuquerque and provides a much more enjoyable excursion.
The dam/granite pour-off is a favorite for locals who want to practice a little rappelling. Several sets of solid anchors are at the top of the cliff. Two of them are in the middle of the pour-off, two are located 30 feet east of the pour-off’s edge (on the backside of a boulder), and two are located 30 feet north. There is evidence of old ¼ inch bolts that have been chopped both at the top of the prominent crack and the top of the pour-off.
Other recreational opportunities include Geo-Caching and Mountain Biking. Piedra Lisa’s open space provides access to the Mountain Bikers to Trail 365 and Foothills Trail. Several Geo-Cachers are located in the area.
Wildlife is abundant in the Piedra Lisa Canyon, although they are difficult to spot. You can find mule deer tracks almost everywhere, but unfortunately, deer are hard to spot due to their almost perfect camouflaged hides and also due to the density of the brush. Fox and Coyotes also frequent the area, but they’re rarely seen. Birds like Mountain Chickadees, Canyon Wrens, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Flickers, and Crissal Thrashers can be spotted. Rattlesnakes are very common in the canyon, so visitors need to be extra cautious in warmer months. Piedra Lisa Canyon is also home to unique plant species like the ubiquitous Camisa bush, Mountain Mahogany, Cholla cantus, Juniper Species, and several riparian plants.