While TLC advises that you don’t go chasing waterfalls, if you hike up to Travertine Falls, you ‘re gonna find one. The waterfall is about a mile up the trail and the shady creek bed runs about another mile up the trail. The spring is a great place to stash some beer in the stream to savor on the way back.
The waterfall flows even in the peak summer months and the route is well shaded and has lots of mud for puppies to play in. The Travertine Falls trail connects with Bart’s, Crest and Faulty Trails, so it’s a nice start/finish to some of the longer, steeper classic Sandia hikes a good choose-your-own adventure for varying degrees of difficulty and mileage. The trailhead is kind of tricky to get to off the Tijeras /Rt.14 exit access road (exit for 333, not 14 where the ramp splits!) but its close proximity to town and shaded sections make it an excellent after-work hike.
Even though we’re enjoying a robust monsoon season this year, in July and August it’s important to pick trails that provide ample shade. Last weekend I hiked lower Faulty Trail and found it quite comfortable. There was a lot to like about it actually. The drive is short enough, just north of the Doc Long Picnic area on the road up to the crest that I could make it out here on a weeknight and it’s well shaded and little traveled so the dogs were able to get out and really romp.
This trail has some decent steep beneath the pine trees at the beginning (are there any hikes around here that don’t?!) and then evens out along an oak-lined ridge with some pretty good views to the north. It’s a good workout hike on a decently maintained trail. In my trail running days this one would certainly be in heavy rotation on my training log.
There’s some good scree about for keeping your ankles awake and alert. I think this would be a great training hike if I were trying to log some practice miles with a new backpack or boots in anticipation of hiking a bigger hill like Wheeler Peak or some of his neighbors to the north in Colorado.
Something about this hike really tired the dogs out too. Dixie and her companions, Cooper and Daisy had all about had it an hour or so in. It was a sweet shady day hike that left me feeling like I had accomplished something at the end. Not bad. Not bad at all.
On Wednesday nights I do a local hike. This is the first of the series “Hump Day Hikes.” For the first of the series I chose one of the most centrally located and easy hikes in Albuquerque. Looking at the map http://www.cabq.gov/openspace/pdf/embudito.pdf its the lower part of the Embudo Trail, but generally locals call it “the waterfall hike”at the end of Indian School Rd. Getting to the trail head is easy like sunday morning, you just drive to the end of Indian School Road, pass through the gates and there it is.
One of the things that amazes me about hiking in town, is how few people I see. Whether it’s the Bosque on Saturday morning, or the foothills on a weekday night, you have to wonder, with so much natural beauty around us, what the hell are people doing instead of getting outside and enjoying it? Anyway, fewer people means more solitude, so I’m not complaining.
The hike starts through the canyon on a wide gravel path. It goes up at a good grade with no protection from the sun. It’s deceptively flat looking, but it’s not. There are some forks in the trail to wander about the canyon, but just head straight back, through two fence gates and before you know it the dry arroyo turns to shady creekbed. The well marked path wanders back a bit further to more running water, willows and some rock scrambling. For a weeknight hike I usually turn around at the waterfall, or sit on the rocks and drink a beer, enjoying the sound of the creek , the interesting rock formations and the blue blue sky.