Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Singletracks: ABQ Foothills South

This ride is right in my backyard- ABQ has a fine network of trails tucked in the west foothills of the Sandias, in dedicated Open Space. The overall trail network consists of two distinct areas, conveniently coined Foothills North and South. You can cobble together loops ranging from 3-9 miles in either, with FHN providing some additional bonus mileage. Today, I'm zeroing in on FHS, my more favorite of the two.

My regular loop proves just over 9 miles, over varied terrain, mostly following Trail 365. The tread is generally smooth, with few requisite rock gardens to make for technical riding. There are a coupla notable runs up there to get your rocks on, one in particular is infamous for wreaking havoc on the uninitiated. I'm looking at you, A-Line!
a bit of local gnarl

You'll find FHS generally a bit more sandy than FHN, esp late in the season after our monsoons. However, the decomposed granite fines and more southerly exposure work to your advantage during ABQ's short winter season- the tread consistently remains in excellent shape when it's sister network to the north is too muddy to ride. Yep, ABQ offers rideable tread 24-7-365!

FHS sees less hiking & running traffic than FHN, and offers more varied climbing to keep those pistons in shape. Mule deer, morning dove, desert quail, coyotes, cottontails, and even roadrunners (saw two this weekend!) are common trail companions, despite the trail's proximity to ABQ. Rattlesnakes are more uncommon thankfully, but I've run across (almost over!) a few up there as well.
keep your eyes open!