Travertine Falls – Sandia Mountains, NM

Travertine Falls trails is beautiful, south-facing hike full of juniper trees, vast views of the east, and lot of hikers. Don’t be fooled by it’s name – the “falls” has mostly dried up.

This is a favorite for folks in Albuquerque as well as those in the East Mountains because the weather tends to be nice throughout fall, winter, and spring. If you decide to hike it in the winter, know that it will be muddy for about a week or so after a snow. If you decide to hike it in the summer, be sure to bring a lot of water and try to hike it in the early morning. It’s on a south-facing slope so it gets full-sun all year long.

Travertine Falls is one of the most traveled trails I’ve seen in the East Mountains. You’ll see families, trail runners, dog people, teen groups, and people who don’t spend much time outside. It’s a favorite for people who like to bring their 4-legged, furry friends. If you have a dog that isn’t people or dog friendly, pick a less use trailed.

Trail Specs

  • Total Miles: 4.5 miles (round trip if you do the loop or hike to the mountain ridge and back)
  • Distance if you just hike to the “falls:” about 1 mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,185 ft
  • Max Elevation: 7,701 ft
  • Time to Hike: 2+ hrs (for a leisurely hike)

How To Get There

Simply Google “Canyon Estates – Grand Enchantment Trailhead” and the location of the trailhead will populate.

The parking lot is in the middle of a neighborhood, so please drive slowly, pick up your trash, and remember that this is where people live :).

If you use All Trails to plan out your hikes, click here for their link to this trail.

Alternate Route

If you’re like me, you like to change things up when you hike! I don’t mind hiking up and back down the same trail because you’ll see different things walking both directions, but if I’ve hike a trail a few times, I enjoy finding alternate routes. You can turn your Travertine Falls hike into a loop by finding an abandoned trail that splits off from the left as you hike up.

My warning about this old trail is that it goes straight up (see the map below). It’s a steep climb with very few switchbacks, hence the newer, nicer trail. I you want to look for this split, I would suggest hiking it on the way up and not the way down. It’s steep with lots of loose rocks, so it’s not a good downhill trail for people who have knee issues or are concerned with falling.

Trail Maps

The marked trail is the one with all the switchbacks. It will give you about a 4+ mile hike if you stay on it. The trail toward the south that’s straight is an old abandoned trail that goes straight up with little relief for elevation gain.

View Points You Can Expect Along the Trail

Once you get higher up on

The fall colors are beautiful along this trail because of all the deciduous trees along the arroyo.
You’ll get some great views through the juniper trees of the east and the south.
This trail has one of the coolest and biggest branch forts that I’ve seen.
This is a great winter trail because it stays warm and the snow melts quickly. But it will be muddy after a good snow.

Animals You May See Along the Trail

  • Coyotes (I’ve seen one on this trail when I was hiking alone)
  • I’ve heard many Spotted Towhees
  • American Crows

Plants You Will See Along the Trail

This trail is at the base of the mountain, so you’ll see more dry-climate plants like juniper, pinyon pine, chamisa, fourwing saltbush, prickly pear cactus, cholla cactus, etc. There is one, lone, huge ponderosa pine near the trail head. It’s a great place to stop and play if you have littles!

This is a great trail for viewing clouds because the trees are low and there are magnificient view points to the south and east. If you want to learn how to identify the 3 main types of clouds with your kids, click here!

Other Great Trails to Hike

In the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico:

Other Trails in New Mexico:

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