This is a lollipop loop hike that starts at the Canyon Estates Trailhead in Tijeras. It is a popular place on weekends and parking is limited with room for about 30 or so vehicles. There a couple of trails that start here. Look for the one with a Forest Service sign, that’s the one you want. We took the other one and had ourselves a short “preamble” hike for about an hour. Pretty much an hour lost. Once we found the correct trailhead we were on our way.
Like other areas with lots of trails, route finding can be a chore and this was. At the main intersection of South Crest, CCC, and Faulty Trails, we took the wrong turn and added .76 miles to our hike. The CCC trail can be tricky to find. We eventually did. It’s steep, going right up the side of the mountain with few switch backs and a bit hard to follow in places. It is a named trail on Forest Service maps but not USGS topos. Little used and quite enjoyable.
At the top we intersect with South Crest Trail and start back down. Adopted by the New Mexico Mountain Club, it’s well maintained and as good a quality as one could expect in this somewhat rocky terrain. The only real negative when on this trail is the traffic noise from nearby Interstate 40. We heard a group of motorcycles that came in loud and clear. An earlier start might help with that.
We liked this hike and will do it again, next time with a side trip to South Summit and no mistakes. CK, Nancy, King, SK Lund. Stats follow:
The hike done correctly is: 9.13 miles, 3120 feet of ascent, and took us 6 hours 28 minutes with good snack breaks.
Our actual for this hike was 9.81 miles.
Our preamble hike was .81 miles and 313 feet of ascent making the day 10.70 miles and 3433 feet of ascent.