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Thread: Sandia Loop

  1. #1
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    Sandia Loop

    OK, so normally I ride in Cedro. But as you all know, that's not an option for a while.

    So I 'm thinking of trying out something on the East side of Sandia. I hike there with the wife and dogs alot. But not much time out there on the bike. I'm still building my skills riding on a hardtail, and I'm not sure how much of the Faulty trail I want to ride.

    So I was thinking I'd go up Armijo trail to Faulty, then Faulty South. (Seems more my skill level)

    However, where do I go from there? There are several intersections that go east, but I have no idea if they dump me out to 14 or not. Really that's what I'm looking for, then I'll ride the road back to the car at the Canoncito trail head.

    Or I'm open to other suggestions. But I'm just not sure I want to go north on the Faulty.

    Thanks for the help.

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    I usually just keep going downhill and eventually get dumped out on 14. If you are not shuttling, you will have a long stretch of road to go from there to your start point.

    Poor Faulty gets a lot of bad press. There is no question that no matter which way you go on Faulty, you will have to do some tough climbs, but there are ways to maximize the fun. Here is my favorite loop.

    Faulty fun route:

    You can start this ride at several spots (I do it from my house off a connector trail to Armijo). For free parking, start at the parking spot on crest road with the big forest sign, ride up crest rd and turn left on the road that goes into the park. Pass the turn for Sulphur Canyon and watch for a trailhead on the right of the road - this is the horse bypass trail. Climb up this to Faulty - it is a hard climb for me because it is loose and has a couple tight switchbacks, but it is easier than the hard Faulty stuff. You will hit Faulty - turn left. From here, you can take Faulty to Armijo - there are a couple of short nasty climbs on this part of Faulty, but most of it is super fun technical decending. Armijo is a high speed bomb with a short doable climb in the middle - make sure you don't take any turn offs as there is a whole network of social trials off Armijo. Armijo dumps you out on a dirt road near a house - go left up the little hill. You will hit a paved road - if you go straight (up), you hit Cienega, if you turn right, this is the same road that drops down to crest.

    You can also pass Armijo and keep bombing down to Canoncito, but then you have a long road ride back up to the car unless you are shuttling.
    I think it is one of the best short loops on Sandia that doesn't require a shuttle. It takes me between 1:30 and 1:45

    There is a shorter/easier option that climbs up Cienega (there is a singletrack that goes through the picnic areas and parallels most of the paved part) to Faulty instead of taking the horse bypass, but you miss out on the best part of the Faulty descent. There is also an extra singletrack uphill that you can take instead of riding the road back to your car. The bottom starts right where Armijo turns into that paved road - it is up the hill on the right. This is the lower horse bypass and it leads up to a parking lot. The dirt road out of the parking lot hits the park road that goes back to crest right where the upper horse bypass started.

    Note: although part of this ride is on "horse bypass" trails, it is pretty rare to actually run into horsepeople, but if you do, it can be pretty sucky trying to get around them - I generally abort the route and do something else, but this has only happened to me a couple of times out of doing it >50 times.

    I usually ride this route on weekday afternoons, so feel free to pm me next week if you want me to show you around.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodade
    I usually just keep going downhill and eventually get dumped out on 14. If you are not shuttling, you will have a long stretch of road to go from there to your start point.

    Poor Faulty gets a lot of bad press. There is no question that no matter which way you go on Faulty, you will have to do some tough climbs, but there are ways to maximize the fun. Here is my favorite loop.

    Faulty fun route:

    You can start this ride at several spots (I do it from my house off a connector trail to Armijo). For free parking, start at the parking spot on crest road with the big forest sign, ride up crest rd and turn left on the road that goes into the park. Pass the turn for Sulphur Canyon and watch for a trailhead on the right of the road - this is the horse bypass trail. Climb up this to Faulty - it is a hard climb for me because it is loose and has a couple tight switchbacks, but it is easier than the hard Faulty stuff. You will hit Faulty - turn left. From here, you can take Faulty to Armijo - there are a couple of short nasty climbs on this part of Faulty, but most of it is super fun technical decending. Armijo is a high speed bomb with a short doable climb in the middle - make sure you don't take any turn offs as there is a whole network of social trials off Armijo. Armijo dumps you out on a dirt road near a house - go left up the little hill. You will hit a paved road - if you go straight (up), you hit Cienega, if you turn right, this is the same road that drops down to crest.

    You can also pass Armijo and keep bombing down to Canoncito, but then you have a long road ride back up to the car unless you are shuttling.
    I think it is one of the best short loops on Sandia that doesn't require a shuttle. It takes me between 1:30 and 1:45

    There is a shorter/easier option that climbs up Cienega (there is a singletrack that goes through the picnic areas and parallels most of the paved part) to Faulty instead of taking the horse bypass, but you miss out on the best part of the Faulty descent. There is also an extra singletrack uphill that you can take instead of riding the road back to your car. The bottom starts right where Armijo turns into that paved road - it is up the hill on the right. This is the lower horse bypass and it leads up to a parking lot. The dirt road out of the parking lot hits the park road that goes back to crest right where the upper horse bypass started.

    Note: although part of this ride is on "horse bypass" trails, it is pretty rare to actually run into horsepeople, but if you do, it can be pretty sucky trying to get around them - I generally abort the route and do something else, but this has only happened to me a couple of times out of doing it >50 times.

    I usually ride this route on weekday afternoons, so feel free to pm me next week if you want me to show you around.
    I'm pretty familiar with that area, and I may give it a try.

    But I guess I was looking at dumping out near the Cole Spring PG.

    Are you familiar with that?
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    Your map doesn't show the bottom of barts ad canoncito - they both dump on to FR 299 at the same place. Turn left on that and it hits canoncito road after a mile or so. Turn R on canoncito and it hits 14.
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    Can you ride there?

    The ride up Armijo was fantastic. Then the Faulty south was a little sketchy for me, but not too bad.

    But I had intended going down to Cole Spring, then exit out to 14. But when I got to Barts, I saw the National forest sign. It was my understanding that mountain bikes weren't allowed there, so dumped to to 14 from Barts.

    Is it legal / proper to go all the way down to the Canyon Estates? Or do you have to dump out at Barts?

    Just curious as to what was proper use. Not that I'd cross a boundary I shouldn't. No, I don't "recall" ever riding out to the fire tower. Besides, what is the meaning of "is"?

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    You can't legally go to Canyon estates on a bike. The FS has an "indefinite wilderness boundary" that skirts Faulty south to Cole Spring. You can legally ride as far south as either the Canoncito spring or Cole Spring. Some of the signage is confusing in that area and the signs have had a tendency to change locations slightly over the years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiRho
    You can't legally go to Canyon estates on a bike. The FS has an "indefinite wilderness boundary" that skirts Faulty south to Cole Spring. You can legally ride as far south as either the Canoncito spring or Cole Spring. Some of the signage is confusing in that area and the signs have had a tendency to change locations slightly over the years.
    How are those trails (Canoncito & Cole)? I didn't find Bart's to appealing. (From Faulty down)
    I had thought about coming up Armijo, then South to Cole, down then back up Canoncito, then back north on Faulty, to Armijo and back to the car.

    But after seeing Barts and not having that much fun on Faulty, I'm questioning if I want to do that.

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    Canoncito and Cole are not really trails per se, but access points to Faulty.

    Barts trail is off-limits to bikes, so just stay on Faulty. Faulty is the main trail, with Bart's taking off steeply to the west into the wilderness. The sign can be misleading the way it's oriented. Faulty is a great, techy ride both directions, but not everyone's cup of tea. I like to start in Cedar Crest, ride up to Cole Spring, pick up Faulty over to Oso, ride that up to Tree Spring, then take that to 10K, then on up to the top. Coming back down, you have a bunch of options either via the ski area, or north of the crest rd. Then pedal your way back over to Ribs for a cold one and some food.

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    It gets confusing as to what trail is named what in that area. When you get to the wilderness sign, that's the end of the line. You can turn left before that (it is called canoncito on your map) instead of going down that set of steep switchbacks. Like I said, they both dump you onto the FR at basically the same spot, so you can go either way. If the water is flowing off the mountain, the canoncito route has a lot of drainage on the trail.

    I just noticed that you are riding a hardtail. Understandable that the really techy part of Faulty you rode wasn't much fun (I have ridden 10k/tree springs/oso/faulty on a hardtail, but I wouldn't recommend it). Considering that, I'd say that the route I posted (or a partial version) would be more fun. For almost all of the climbing, I'd say that a HT is no disadvantage at all. There is one really techy DH on Faulty heading up to Cienega that you will probably want to walk on a HT which is a little bit of a bummer since it is the best technical DH spot on Faulty - let it be motivation to get a FS bike.

    Another loop you might want to try is 10k north to Ellis and back and there is always the King of the Mountain trail - mostly hardtail friendly and a great workout.
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    Not sure I'm fit enough for those climbs, but I'm working on it.

    I was intending on getting a FS this year, but car troubles sole my budget.

    I rode a couple of Yeti's at the demo in Abq, and fell in love. (bigger budget than I had been working toward though)

    I may just have to get something in between the HT and the Yeti, to satisfy my budgetary limitations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmanjoe
    Not sure I'm fit enough for those climbs, but I'm working on it.
    Well, it sounds like you made it up Armijo to Faulty - using that as a gauge, I'd say that 90% of the climbs in the route I suggest are about the same. The other 10% are some short spots that are really tough - I walk most of those spots myself.

    I would say that the shorter option I provided above would make for an overall easier ride than the ride you did to the end of Faulty. The climbing might be a 100yards more walking, but the DH is much more HT friendly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sodade
    Well, it sounds like you made it up Armijo to Faulty - using that as a gauge, I'd say that 90% of the climbs in the route I suggest are about the same. The other 10% are some short spots that are really tough - I walk most of those spots myself.

    I would say that the shorter option I provided above would make for an overall easier ride than the ride you did to the end of Faulty. The climbing might be a 100yards more walking, but the DH is much more HT friendly.
    Thanks for the info, I'll give that an attempt this week-end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmanjoe
    Thanks for the info, I'll give that an attempt this week-end.
    Joe - what day are you riding?
    Depending on the day, and you don't mind - I might like to join you.

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