After our large failure last weekend of La Luz at roughly 14 miles, a 10k trail run with the Trail Doggo on Saturday, and a backlog of chores it seemed like something easier to just get us outside would be the best way to finish off the weekend. So I found a loop route on All Trails that was a mashup of several trails just south of Tijeras which made for about a 5 mile hike that was only a 35ish minute drive away.
Our route started from the trailhead down the Tunnel Canyon (05145) Trail. It was a super easy trail to follow but pretty muddy due to melt off from the recent snow a couple of weeks ago. It was a gentle uphill but only gained about 500’ in the first 2.3 miles when our route intersected the Western Ridge (05268) Trail. The All Trails route called for a 0.5 mile out section to hit the Otero Canyon Trail the another 0.5 mile back. We didn’t really see the point in doing that so we skipped it and just took the Western Ridge Trail the other direction 0.3 miles to hit the Birdhouse Ridge (05411) Trail.
The Birdhouse Ridge Trail paralleled the original route we started but on the upper part of the ridge. It provided much better views than the Tunnel Canyon section. Might have to go back in the spring to see if the Tunnel Canyon section has more foliage resulting in better views. There were several icy sections that where slick especially when the Trail Doggo decided to give an inopportune pull of the leash. But they were too short to justify getting out our spikes. The trail did provide a really cool view of the Sandia Mountains from the East side. Usually we see the mountains from the west living in Albuquerque. There was also a nice overlook about half a mile from from the trailhead. But all in all it was a rather uneventful but easy hike.
The trails are really meant for mountain biking but I could definitely see doing some trail running on them. The whole thing is just a series of interconnected trails that could be done in any number of combinations to achieve whatever distance or time goal you were looking to do. Our particular route was just one I found on All Trails. However, it definitely made for a nice change of pace by providing a really easy day of hiking not far from home. We ended up with 5.4 miles covered in a little over two hours with 719’ of elevation gain.