Hike Up Tram Down
Overview: Located within the Cibola National Forest and Sandia Ranger District, La Luz Trail #137 is the main trail that climbs the Sandia Mountains outside of Albuquerque.
Warning: Get an early start in Summer as temps can be 100. Conversely, the upper portion of the hike may be impassable in Winter due to Ice and Snow.
History: The La Luz Trail climbs to the Tramway on Sandia Peak. The tram is the world's longest tramway, stretching from the Northeast edge of the city to the ridge of the Sandia Mountains. There is an annual run on the trail called the La Luz Trail run which has been going on over 40 years. The original La Luz Trail went 4.5 miles straight up, to the old gold mine.
Hike: The trail leaves the parking lot and gradually climbs for 7.6 miles to the tram. After a half dozen sunny switchbacks the trail curves around into La Cueva Canyon. The Canyon is shaded in spots and switchbacks up into some treas, mostly ponderosa pines, blue spruce, and some aspens.
Most choose to hike this one way and take the tram back down. There is a connector trail from the tram parking lot that can be taken to get back to your car which adds another 3 miles. They have made some improvements on the trail in recent years but you can still see the old trail in places, please follow the new trail and do not cut any switchbacks. All the intersections are well marked and there should be no problem following the trail. If you wish to go to the highpoint on the Sandia Mountains there is a turnoff near mile 6.5 to the Sandia Crest and Summit House, it's .5 miles one way to the crest on Spur Trail #84. From the Crest back to the tram it's 1.8 miles on Crest Trail #130.
Water Sources: There is no water at the trailhead. The trail does cross a small stream, in La Cueva Canyon, it was not running when I was there and I would not count on it for water. Carry your own.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.