Distance from Routes via bicycle: 90 Minutes
Distance from Routes via auto/bus: 20-30 minutes
The foothills of the Sandia (Watermelon) and Manzanita (Little Apple) Mountains offer expansive views of Albuquerque and the surrounding regions, and unmatched sunsets / sun-rises every day of the year. With a base elevation more than 1,800 feet higher than the Rio Grande Valley, the foothills offer countless miles of road and mountain bike trails for riders of all experience levels. The vegetation and experience is very different here, with large rocks, quartz, juniper, pinion, and sage dominating the landscape.
The 640-acre Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Park is located immediately outside the city limits, and offers an experience of the Albuquerque landscape as it must have been before the developments and construction of the modern centuries. Hike the La Luz Trail 3,819 vertical feet to the crest of the Sandia Mountains, or ride the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway (the longest tram in the world, snowshoes can be accommodated) to the same height in 15 minutes for drinks and cuisine overlooking the city.
Take your car a short 30-minute drive to the forested, eastern side of the mountains, and enjoy riding or snowshoeing on a large network of alpine trails that stretches 60 miles north to Santa Fe along the Turquoise Trail and through the historic mining (and now art / gallery) communities of Golden, Cerrillos, and Madrid.
The foothill and mountain areas of Albuquerque can be accessed from Routes via designated bike paths / trails, or with your vehicle (bike racks are available for rental). Accessing the foothills via bicycle involves moderate to steep inclines in some areas, and is not recommended for beginning riders. Routes recommends the use of a vehicle to access any mountainous trailheads that can only be reached via highway riding.