Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,573.00 ft (1,089.05 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.00 mi (25.75 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.

La Luz is the most well-known trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 16-mile out-and-back trail provides stunning views of the Sandia Mountains as well as a clear view of the city of Albuquerque. Hikers can also shorten this trail to 8 miles and take the Sandia Tramway down, or they can hike the trail from the top down. 

The trail starts out at 7,000 feet and gradually climbs the base of the Sandias. This portion of the well-maintained trail has no trees, and an early start will keep hikers mostly in the shade. At 0.7 miles into the trail the Foothills Trail parts from the La Luz to the north.  The next mile and a half of the trail continues to climb a series of switchbacks. Around 2 miles in the trail reaches an elevation that is high enough for a change in flora, and pine trees begin to surround the route.

At 4.5 miles hikers can rest at La Cueva Overlook and take a look around. The trail follows the La Cueva canyon toward the crest at 8,800 feet. After leaving the overlook the trail climbs a series of switchbacks.  At this point it is strongly advised not to continue in the winter months due to icy conditions (there is a sign that notes the turn-around point). The switchbacks meander through rock falls and the trail becomes difficult to traverse (although it is still easy to navigate).

At 5.5 miles in hikers can continue to the Crest House (the highest point in the Sandia’s) or continue on the La Luz. After this trail intersection there just over a mile of minimal elevation gain. The La Luz Trail officially ends approximately 0.25 miles short of the Sandia Peak Tram. Hikers can turn around and return to the trailhead or purchase a one-way ticket for $15.00 on the tram. Hikers should know that the tram does not end up at the trailhead, and hikers can either hike 3.5 miles to the trailhead or find a ride.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful city views. Changing landscape.

Cons

Exposed to sun.

Trailhead Elevation

7,000.00 ft (2,133.60 m)

Highest point

10,378.00 ft (3,163.21 m)

Features

Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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