My stay in Santa Fe is almost over. Crazy thinking back to March when I arrived and it was freezing cold with snowstorms. Now it’s in the 80’s and 90’s every day. Trying to squeeze in as much riding in these last few weeks as possible…
Last year, I read about the “King of the Mountain” trail at the Sandia Peak Ski Resort near Albuquerque. The trail starts at 8,678′ and winds it’s way up multiple switchbacks to the summit of the ski resort at 10,350′. All in all, it’s about 8 miles long with 2,000′ of climbing. I never got around to doing it… but kept it on my list for this year. A couple friends reminded me about the trail, but with the super dry spring and early summer, and extra high fire danger, the resort has been closed to mountain bikes pretty much all Summer. Until this week that is!!
July has brought monsoon season, and with that, lots of rain and moisture in the region. So with the mountain opening this week, I decided to make a day of Albuquerque with the fam… we went to Sandia Peak – Angela and Lucy rode the chairlift up while I rode my bike up “King of the Mountain”. We hung out at the tram station at the summit, and had some grinds. Beautiful views abound. Then they jumped on the chairlift down, while I rode “Golden Eagle” to the bottom. Spectacular!!
“King of the Mountain” averages 6% grade and only has a few really tough sections. Most of it is not that technical, but some sections have you hopping up rocks and roots. The climb is pretty consistent as it snakes back and forth across the mountain, and you can get into a rhythm. I was lucky with great conditions. The elevation keeps it cool, and much of the ride is tucked in the trees. The dirt was firm and moist – perfect hero dirt. The whole way up, I just kept thinking of how sweet the descent would be. You go through what feels like 1,000 switchbacks and oftentimes go right under the chairlift where people cheer ya on as they head to the top to bike or hike down…
and the next thing you know, you’re at the top.
I was gonna ride back down the same way I came up, but then decided not to. I know it would’ve been great, but I wanted to ride a different trail down (I always prefer loops instead of out n’ backs)… so I opted for the Golden Eagle Trail. I’m so glad I did. It’s considered a beginner trail. But as we all know, that doesn’t mean crap. Just because a trail isn’t technical, doesn’t mean you can’t get the adrenaline pumping if you’re pinning it. The uber fast dirt with flowy bermed turns combined for one of my favorite runs of the year. I couldn’t stop smiling, and would’ve done it over and over again, had we not already made plans to go to the zoo after the ride 🙂
Anyhoo, I’m stoked to cross Sandia Peak and “King of the Mountain” off the list. I’d highly recommend doing the King of the Mountain to Golden Eagle Loop that I did. Or go down King of the Mountain – either way, you can’t lose. Riding bikes is so much fun. I’m still grinning!!