Armijo Canyon – Faulty – Sulphur Canyon Loop

Armijo Canyon – Faulty – Sulphur Canyon Loop Hike
In Sandia Mountain East Region

Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10401
Last Updated: 12/15/2020 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Warrant
Hike Class: C (Challenging)
Hike Distance: 5.4 mi
Minimum Elevation: 7075 ft
Elevation Change: 775 ft
Total Uphill: 894 ft
Total Downhill: 894 ft
Avg. Grade: 8 %
Route Type: CW Loop
On Trail: Yes
Paved or Gravel Roads: Yes
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 50 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 0:45
Hiking Seasons: Summer and Fall
New Mexico Game Unit: 8
Hike Status: Published


Fairly level hike on east side of Sandias; interesting travertine rock formations.



Trailhead Directions

From Albuquerque take I-40 east to Tijeras exit 175. North on SR 14. Left on Sandia Crest Scenic Byway (SR 536). Watch for signs. Cienega Canyon and Sulfur Canyon will be on your left, just after milepost 1. Almost immediately there is a fork to the left (south to Cienega Trailhead). Take that road to the T intersection and go right uphill for about 200 feet and PARK (0.0 mi) in the parking area on the left.

Actual Hike

Hike back down the road to the east for about 0.4 miles to where it turns left. Two trails take off to the right. One is at a narrow angle to the other and is marked Cienega Horse Bypass, HORSE (0.4 mi). Take the other which is an old gravel road to the right. It is marked “Faulty” which means it heads for Faulty Trail. At the end of the road you can see “Private Property” signs ahead. The trail into Armijo Canyon veers off to the right into ARMIJO (0.6 mi). Trees are marked with migratory bird signs “Permanent Monitoring Station.” Follow the meandering trail up through heavily wooded areas with many stream crossings and small waterfalls (not always), to the intersection of Faulty Trail 195. You may find that you are already on Faulty Tr. Without realizing it. Just before getting there, there is a signpost with a fork. Either one goes to Faulty, but take the left one to the FAULTY (2.4 mi). From this trail junction head west and up the clearing that follows an old road to TORO SPRING, which is about 0.2 mi in a canyon bottom. Return to the Faulty Trail junction, and go north on Faulty Trail past the junction with the CIENEGA (3.6 mi) Trail and the BYPASS (4.0 mi) to the junction with the SULPHUR (4.1 mi) Canyon Trail. Continue northeast on the Sulphur Canyon Trail to have LUNCH (4.4 mi) at the Picnic Area. From there, continue south on the road connecting the picnic areas back to where you parked.


Watch for the nice alligator junipers on the way back on the Horse Bypass Trail. According to Mike Coltrin, the travertine rock formations around Toro Spring are among the prettiest in the Sandias.


TORO SPRING: N35 09.406, W106 23.599
PARK: N35 09.899, W106 22.607
HORSE: N35 09.894, W106 22.170
ARMIJO: N35 09.854, W106 22.077
FAULTY: N35 09.355, W106 23.369
CIENEGA: N35 10.082, W106 23.381
BYPASS: N3 10.316, W106 23.163
SULPHUR: N35 10.373, W106 23.232
LUNCH: N35 10.496, W106 22.921

Map Filename: ArmijoCanyon-Faulty-SulphurCanyonLoopImage_MW.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: ArmijoCanyon-Faulty-SulphurCanyonLoopWayTrack_DBDB.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Vivian Heyward
Map Author: Marilyn Warrant
Waypoints Author: Dick Brown
Track Author: Dick Brown
Maintainer: Vivian Heyward
Editor: Marilyn Warrant