Sandia Foothills Open Space
Located near Albuquerque, Sandia Foothills Open Space is a (4,500 step) 1.8-mile route with an elevation gain of around 298.5 ft, and it is considered a somewhat easy route. It contains approximately 2,650 acres of steel-sloped hills intersected by Underland drainages of the Sandia Mountains. These gravelly drainages support a wide variety of shrubs, including apache plume, Chamisa, oak species, and three-leaf sumac. Wildlife in Sandia Foothills includes coyote, cougar, rock squirrel, rattlesnake, mule deer, black bear, rabbit, and lizard, plus a large variety of birds. The plant species include a variety of wildflowers ad grasses, prickly pear cacti and cane cholla, piñon trees, and single-seed juniper dot the landscape.
Sandia Foothills trailheads provide access to the inside trails and the Sandia Mountain Wilderness Area managed by the US Forest Service. Recreational areas and opportunities include horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. A map of the Foothills trail system is available, and picnic shelters are situated at the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area, Embudo Canyon, and Menaul.
There are unique opportunities to explore some foothills and mountains in this Open Space. Sandia Foothills offers miles of terrain, some accessible to an average runner and some for more experienced adventurers and trail runners. The Top Trails are:
- Trail 365: This is one of the best-known trails that skirt and climb the Sandia mountains. The entire trail is around 7 miles one way, but still, some side loop options and numerous access points allow for variations of the trail. Over 7 miles, the ascent is 961 feet, but if you look at the hill profile, you’ll see some flatter sections. It is also relatively easy to jump down the bike path along Tramway Blvd to shorten the route. This trail is wide and can be softer sand in parts.
- Tramway Trail: Paved bike path just above Tramway Blvd. This trail is relatively flat and offers unique mountain views. It runs about 4 miles one-way between Northeast Montgomery Blvd. to South Cooper Ave. The north-to-south track is generally downhill.