Reinforcing Sandia Ranger District Mountain Closure

by Karen Takai, Sandia Ranger District


The La Luz Trail is closed!

The Crest Highway from the forest boundary is closed!

Las Huertas Canyon Hwy 165 is closed!

All Sandia District lands from Placitas to Oak Flats and trails within that area are closed north and south of I-40 and including the east and west sides of the mountain.

The City Open Space Trail System (IN Albuquerque)  Foothills Trail 365 including some district lands on that trail system are the only trail systems open on the west side of the mountains.

  • The Foothill Trail No 365 parallels the western foothills of the Sandia’s. It is open south of the Tram to Copper (13 miles). Any trails off this trail system going East off of Trail 365 ARE CLOSED
  • The Tram, High Finance Restaurant and associated observation deck are open.All trails off of the deck are closed.
  • The Sandia Ranger District Administrative Offices and associated Interpretive Archaeological Site on South 337 in Tijeras are open.

We would like to thank everyone who has followed the fire closure restrictions that are in place.  It is due to your vigilance and cooperation that we able to protect this area. If you think about it, this is a very small sacrifice for all of us, to abide by the rules and try to protect this mountain. We want to see it standing at the end of this fire season and 100 years from now. Thank you again!

For additional information contact the Sandia Ranger District


Interesting Questions That Come Up During Closure

Q – Why can’t I go into the forest? I am not going to start a fire.

A- We are concerned for anyone entering the forest when conditions are so extreme and volatile.  We understand that 99% of our visitors plan to be safe but fact is 50% of our fires start from human cause. If we can lower the exposure from human caused starts then we can cut fire starts by %50. The only other start would be from lightning and we work with our patrols to identify, respond and monitor the area of lightning strikes that happen during the storms.

In addition, if a fire started while you were hiking in the area, with conditions like we have, you could not outrun the flames. We would not be able rescue you. Fires in this extreme condition are explosive and ignite a football field size area in a minute. Fire behavior is extreme.

Q – My house abuts the National Forest.   Can I hike out of my property into the forest?

A – No sorry, we have 95 miles of residents that abut the forest. If we allow one person to enter we would have to allow the rest of the homeowners along the 95 miles to enter and then we would have to allow the general public to enter to be fair to everyone. That would defeat the reason for a closure and that is to keep visitors out of a very dangerous area and stop human caused fires.

Q – How long will this closure last?

A – We will be in closure till we get enough rain to heavily blanket all the Sandia and Manzanita Mountains.

Q – What is the fine for breaking the forest closure?

A – Depending on the type of closure CFR Rule broken: hiking, driving , resource damage etc. in a closed area the ticket can go anywhere from $125.00 to $5,000.00.

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