We still manage to find new hikes within 60 miles of Albuquerque that surprise us with their remote beauty. It wasn’t just that we failed to see another soul on the trail, but after we left the paved road and drove across 10 miles of desolate, flat rangeland to reach the trailhead in the foothills we never even saw another vehicle, either going in or coming back out.
Monte Largo Canyon is on the west side of the Manzano Mountains, which we’ve hiked in before, but usually our hikes start on trails that are on the east side of the mountains. The west side of the mountains are reached by driving south of Albuquerque to Belen and then east. Below is a picture of our track on Google Maps.
We found it quite amusing to see all of the street names on the map. It must be someone’s dream of future development because driving out there you see nothing but flat rangeland, rough dirt roads and, once in awhile, an isolated ranch. There are no street signs anywhere.
For our friends who are familiar with the Manzano Mountains, notice that the hike is climbing up towards the crest, about halfway between Manzano Peak and Gallo Peak. We’ve been up there on the crest before, but always by hiking in from the other side. Forest Service Maps do show a trailhead for Monte Largo Canyon, but not a trail. That seems strange because it was a trail that was fairly easy to follow, basically up the drainage of the canyon.
We got some nice views from an overlook about 2.5 miles in from the trailhead, at which point we turned around and came back down. If we were real ambitious, of course, it would have been possible to get all the way to the crest. But maybe another time.