Albuquerque Senior Centers' Hiking Groups (ASCHG)

Tree Spring Trail To Fossil Garden Hike
In Sandia Mountain East Region

Hike Id H10270
Last Update 2018-05-22 22:03:03.0
Hike Class C
Hike Miles 6.6
Minimum Elevation 8474
Elevation Gain 1003
Total Uphill 1324
Total Downhill 1324
Avg Grade 10 %
Route Type InOut
Drive Miles Round Trip 54
Drive Time Oneway 0:45
Hiking Seasons Smmr, Fall
Hike Rating (3.6 by 7 hikers)
New Mexico Game Unit 8
All On Trail Yes
All Paved/Gravel Roads Yes
Hiker Limit 10

Highlights Lush forest; rock garden meadow with fossils. Wildflowers.

Cautions Difficult footing due to exposed tree roots and rocky rough trail. Hiking poles recommended.

Trailhead Directions From Albuquerque drive east on I-40 through Tijeras Canyon and take exit 175 north to Cedar Crest/Turquoise Trail on NM14. Drive north for 6 miles and turn left onto NM536 toward Sandia Crest, then at mile marker 5.5 miles, park on the left at the Tree Springs Trail area (TREESPGPRK). This is a fee area, so be prepared to display your Federal Recreational Lands Pass (Senior or Golden Age), or pay the $3 per vehicle.

Actual Hike The trail begins near the pit toilets just up slope from the south edge of the parking area. This is a hike through a lush woodland of mixed conifer, oak, and aspen trees. There are just enough aspen to make it a worthwhile fall color hike. All along this well used trail there are many wildflowers in the spring and summer months. The trail climbs long switchbacks generally west and south at a moderate elevation gain of about 500 feet per mile. You will pass a junction with the Oso Corredor trail, OSOCORREDO (0.3 mi), and at nearly 2 miles you will reach the Sandia Wilderness Area boundary and another trail junction, JCT10KTRL. The 10K trail comes in from the north (your right), and the Crest Trail comes in from the west and turns to the south (your left). We want the South Crest Trail 130S so just step thru the fence opening and take the trail to the left. Now you will be heading in a southerly direction and there is actually a gentle downhill stretch here. The major part of the climbing is behind you now, so enjoy this easier part of the hike. From this last trail junction, we continue another 1 miles thru this nice woodland to a rock garden meadow (FOSSILS (3.3 mi)) with a good show of fossils in the rocks. Take some time here to wander about and notice the fossils in the Madera limestone: crinoids (stem or disc fragments), horn corals (curved or grooved cones), and brachiopods (clam shell like creatures). This is the turnaround point of the hike; we will return the same way we came in.

Comments This trail is well used and weathered and has many tripping hazards such as exposed tree roots, pointy rocks and the like, so hikers should mind their footing while they enjoy the scenery. Tree Spring Trail #147 is outside of the Sandia Wilderness Area, so you may encounter bicycles on this portion of the hike.

Map created by TOPO!® ©2011 National Geographic

Map File Download it.  Usually a larger image.

TREESPGPRK N 35 11.632' W 106 24.283'
OSOCORREDO N 35 11.524' W 106 24.494'
JCT10KTRL N 35 11.232' W 106 25.250'
FOSSILS N 35 10.470' W 106 24.774'

GPS Files Click link to download file.
GPX:WayTrack, 16May09, Garmin, Ken Smith
UPT:Waypoints, 16May09, Magellan, Ken Smith
LOG:Track, 16May09, Magellan, Ken Smith

Pictures Click here to see them.

Text Author Ken Smith
Map Author Ken Smith
Waypoints Author Ken Smith
Track Author Ken Smith
Maintainer Ken Smith