The Sandia Mountains are glorious in early fall. Sun-filled mornings are crisp and cool while afternoons are comfortably warm.
Hiking in the Sandias means walking through stands of ponderosa pine and spruce trees inhabited by many species of birds, including Steller jays and birds of prey.
“The Sandias are a tremendous and unique resource,” says Mike Coltrin, an Albuquerque resident and author of “Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide” (UNM Press, 2005). “One of the best times of the year to enjoy them is October.”
Once the balloons have taken to the sky, many Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta visitors explore the 37,877-acre Sandia Mountain Wilderness east of the city. Because there are hiking trails for beginning to advanced hikers, everyone can enjoy spending time in the Sandias.
Coltrin’s book covers 57 trails with a total distance of 175 miles. Additional information about the trails is found at his website sandiahiking.com. Parking at trailheads costs $3 per vehicle. Here are some of Coltrin’s recommendations for October hikes.