What became a winter hike through the snow in the Sandia mountains started out as a planned snowshoe hike, but we kind of messed that up.
Find A Winter Hike
Every Sunday, my best friend and I have been out hiking. Luckily it snowed in the mountains a week ago, so we planned on going snowshoeing up at the Sandia Crest. We’ve owned snowshoes for a couple of years, so we like to get some use out of them.
The Drive Up to the Sandias
I’m a total fan of twisty roads. For example, I get really happy when I see the “Curvey road ahead” sign. So, I’m just warning you that the drive up to the Sandias is awesome for me, but you do need to take your time. Also, depending on the weather, you might want to have a 4 wheel drive.
This was on a day that was 55 degrees in Albuquerque, but it was about 27 degrees (maybe colder) at the top of the Sandias. Because of that, the road at the top was snow packed and icy in patches.
Arrived in a windy wonderland
The clouds were amazing! They were developing right at the crest then the wind was whipping them away. Whenever the wind would slow down, it would suddenly get cloudy and dark. Then just as suddenly, the wind would whip them away again and we’d have blue sky.
When we arrived, we didn’t think there was much snow, so we decided to leave our snowshoes in the car and just go for a hike. We started off on the Sandia Crest trail heading South, but OMG that wind! It was whipping up and over the mountain at an incredible speed. And it was cold!
The trail does eventually go up some stairs (we used hiking poles to carefully walk the icy stairs), then the trail moves away from the edge and the cold wind.
What we found once we were farther in the woods was that there was plenty of snow for snowshoeing. Ugg! Next time we’ll tie our snowshoes to our pack – just in case!
Following the trails on a Winter Hike
We decided to keep moving more into the mountain and away from the crest. Then we came upon a few options. We picked Switchback Trail No 271. This is an easy hike unless your hiking through about 8 inches of snow. But it was a great workout! And it helped that someone had taken the trail with skis so some of the snow was compacted.
Don’t forget your layers!
We always bring all the layers we would ever need, and this time we needed them all. That included hats, gloves, scarves, wicking under layers, mid layers (our Melanzanas), and a jacket, winter pants, and a wind-blocking outer layer.
And, don’t forget your water.
You never know what can happen when your hiking. We had never taken this trail before and we didn’t have a map with us. In this case, Rebecca insisted that we had turned so much we were heading back to the parking lot. I was like, “No way!” So I pulled out my cell phone and could see from the google map that we were moving toward the parking lot. Luckily I didn’t bet lunch on it!
Sandia Crest Details:
- There’s a shop, snack bar, and bathrooms at the top of the Crest road.
- Parking is $3 per car – bring cash and get a permit.
Do you have a favorite hike in the Sandias? I’d love to hear about it! Share it in the comments.
I’m Sonja Dewing. I’m published author of Toy of the Gods and other stories available on Amazon and I’m always seeking adventure. I’m a Social Media Manager and consult with writers on creativity and social media.