Cienega Trail to the Crest Trail 11/08/2012
This trail climbs steeply up the east side of the Sandias to the point on the Crest Trail where the Pino Trail intersects from the west side of the Sandias. We had hiked the Pino Trail a week or so earlier. After doing the Cienega Trail we concluded that it was steeper than the Pino, but not as long. There are more views looking back at Albuquerque when you are on the Pino Trail. On the Cienega it’s mostly forested and you can’t see much until you get to the crest.
It’s supposed to be only about a 2 1/2 mile hike up the Cienega Trail, but from where we had parked the car it turned out to be over 3 1/2 miles to get to the crest. The trailhead is in a picnic area that was closed for the season. We had to park in a parking lot and walk up the road to the trailhead. Since the road was closed it was like walking on an extra wide and smooth trail. It was also a lot more level than the steep climb once we got on the trail into the canyon.
This GPS track of our trip shows how steep it was.
Looking east down Cienega Canyon