Hike Page

Piedra Lisa South To North Hike
In Sandia Mountain West Region

Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10433
Last Updated: 03/20/2023 2:36pm
Last Updated By: Marilyn Fixer
Hike Class: C (Challenging)
Hike Distance: 6 mi
Minimum Elevation: 6930 ft
Elevation Change: 2134 ft
Total Uphill: 1383 ft
Total Downhill: 2282 ft
Avg. Grade: 13 %
Route Type: Oneway
On Trail: Yes
Paved or Gravel Roads: Yes
GPS Advised: No
Hiker Limit (NF/BLM/NP): 15 (Sandia Wilderness)
Drive Distance Round Trip: 30 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 0:45
Hiking Seasons: Spring and Fall
New Mexico Game Unit: 8
Hike Status: Published


An enjoyable, challenging trek in the Sandias from the northern outskirts of the city to Placitas. Views to the west and east, with a beautiful, shady spot for lunch.


Trekking poles recommended for the many steep sections.

Trailhead Directions

Take Tramway Boulevard (NM556) north past Tramway Road. After a sweep to the left and a sweep to the right (about 1 mile), go right or northeast on Forest Road 333. After about 2 miles, drive past the stone gate turn to the Juan Tabo Picnic Area (also the turn to La Luz Trailhead) and continue north on FR333 D which becomes a dirt/gravel road. Continue uphill and northeast about 1 mile to waypoint PARK on the left for Piedra Lisa South Trailhead. This is a no fee parking area.

Actual Hike

From PARK (0.0 mile, elevation 6930 feet) go to the north end of the parking area and follow the signs for Piedra Lisa Trail #135 which direct you east across the now private road and up the embankment to the trail which climbs a short distance east to a junction with TR#137C. Our route turns left or north at this junction and for a short way parallels the road which you can see down slope. TR#135 continues northerly passing waypoint JOIN (0.6 mi) which is a junction to an old trail going southwest down to the road. You will soon cross the usually dry stream bed in Juan Tabo Canyon and then the trail takes you rather steeply in a northerly direction up the mountain.

About half way up the climb you will see the massive Needle off to the right (which looks more like a shovel), the Prow (a triangular spike) down in front of it, and north of the Prow and Needle are the high cliffs of the Shield. The Shield is the vertical west side of Sandia North Peak. To the left and ahead is Rincon Peak which is on a long ridge running west from the Shield.

Reach the high point of the hike at SADDLE (2.0 mi, elevation 8180 ft.), and continue on Piedra Lisa Trail #135 down the north side to the LUNCH (3.5 mi) spot. Pass the intersection with DEL AGUA TR#248 (4.3 mi) and go down the steep part of Piedra Lisa Trail to the northern trailhead at PARK-NORTH (6.0 mi, elevation 6042 ft.) near Placitas.


This hike can be done as a cross-over hike with most hikers starting from the southern trailhead. The other hikers will hike Piedra Lisa North to South (a D hike). Bring your hiking sticks for balance on the steep descent with little pebbles.

Elevation data and mileage derived from NG TOPO v 4.6.0


PARK: N 35 13.366, W 106 29.015 (0.0)
JOIN: N 35 13.787, W 106 28.860 (0.6)
SADDLE: N 35 14.671, W 106 28.504 (2.0)
LUNCH: N 35 15.488, W 106 27.970 (3.5)
DEL AGUA: N 35 15.751, W 106 28.076 (4.3)
PARK-NORTH: N 35 16.743, W 106 28.707 (6.0)

Map Filename: PiedraLisaSouthToNorth 6X8 233k w 20pt tags.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: PiedraLisaSouthToNorthWayTrack_MWMW.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Roger Holloway
Map Author: Ken Smith
Waypoints Author: Marilyn Warrant
Track Author: Marilyn Warrant
Maintainer: Ken Smith
Editor: Marilyn Warrant