Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,021.00 ft (616.00 m)
Trail type
6.20 mi (9.98 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Mount Taylor sits almost due west of the city of Albuquerque, and every night the sun sets behind it and turns the mountain into a gorgeous shade of purple. While roughly 600,000 people live in the city, only a handful make the two-hour drive to the trailhead to summit the inactive volcano. The 12th highest summit in the state is the tallest peak in the San Mateo range, which was formed when Mount Taylor last erupted. 

The trail starts out at the well marked trailhead in a densely wooded area. The first mile of the trail gradually gains in elevation while passing through the forest of pines and aspen trees. There are blue blazes along the route to ensure that hikers follow the trail, which is already well maintained and easy to follow. While still in the wooded portion of the trail (at mile 0.6), the trail crosses over a creek that is usually dry.  

After about a mile the trail begins to open up above tree line. The first hint of open sky without trees is a direct path upward, and hikers should look behind them, to the north, to experience beautiful views to the southwest. While the trail climbs over 2,000 feet in elevation, it is gradual with only a few switchbacks.  

At the 2-mile mark the trail turns north and follows the ridge of a lesser peak. The views here are stunning. The route continues to gradually climb, and at 2.5 miles hikers will find the only two switchbacks that are on the trail.  The trail is completely open, and the views are spectacular.  Hikers will reach a fence line and gate that must be passed through in order to reach the summit.  At the summit hikers will get a view to the east and can see the Sandia Mountains in the distance as well as open views to the south and west. Due to the pine trees on the north face of the mountain, hikers do not actually have a 360-degree view at the summit.  

After enjoying some time at the summit and signing the register, hikers should return to the trailhead by the way they came.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Big vista. Few crowds.



Trailhead Elevation

9,308.00 ft (2,837.08 m)

Highest point

11,314.00 ft (3,448.51 m)


Family friendly
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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