Placitas Knobs

Placitas Knobs Hike
In Placitas Region

Map File Source:

map Hike Key: H10473
Last Updated: 06/29/2021 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Fixer
Hike Class: B (Moderate)
Hike Distance: 4.5 mi
Minimum Elevation: 5670 ft
Elevation Change: 475 ft
Total Uphill: 570 ft
Total Downhill: 570 ft
Avg. Grade: 6 %
Route Type: Messy
On Trail: Yes
Paved or Gravel Roads: No
GPS Advised: No
Drive Distance Round Trip: 40 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 0:30
Hiking Seasons: Spring, Fall, and Winter
New Mexico Game Unit: 8
Hike Status: Published


A scenic hike through the foothills near Placitas.


A few short, steep places and about 20% of the trail has rocks. If you are somewhat unsteady, hiking poles are recommended.

Trailhead Directions

I-25 north to the Placitas exit 242. Go east on Hwy 165. Just before mile marker 5, turn right on Tunnel Spring Rd. Turn right again on Quail Meadow Rd and follow that to a small parking area Park_Knobs.

Part of Quail Meadow is paved, and Tunnel Spring is a well-packed dirt road. The parking area has room for about four cars.

Actual Hike

From Park_Knobs, go south about a hundred feet to Trailhead which is the Strip Mine Connector. Continue down the trail to Gate which is the boundary of the Cibola National Forest. Pass Jnct17 and go left at Jnct01 . Pass straight at Jnct02 and bear left at Jnct03, then go right at Jnct04. Continue on up the hill and out the ridge to Overlook for great views of the colorful rocks below and 360 views, from the Sandias to the west mesa and beyond. Return to Jnct02 and go left. Continue on across a dry stream bed to Jnct16, going straight.

At Jnct05, which is the Strip Mine Trail, #51, go straight. (The Strip Mine Trail is mainly the old Strip Mine road which goes off to the left and up the hill.) Hike on to Jnct06 and continue straight. (Jnct06 is the junction of the Strip Mine Trail, #51, and the Chalk Dust Trail, #35. You will return via the Chalk Dust Trail later.) Go straight past Jnct07 of the High Voltage Trail, #59, and turn left at Jnct08, the Sidewinder Trail, #61. Pass the High Side Trail, #63 at Jnct09. Turn right at Jnct10 on to the Sidetrack Trail, #81. At Jnct11, turn left to rejoin the Strip Mine Trail, and turn right at Jnct12. Go a few yards to Jnct13 with the Chalk Dust Trail and turn right.

At Jnct14, continue straight. (The trail to the right connects to the Strip Mine Trail.) Go down a hill and come to FootBridge which crosses a dry stream bed, then go uphill through a gypsum deposit and realize why this trail is named Chalk Dust. Continue going straight at Junc15. At Jnct06, turn left to rejoin the Strip Mine Trail. Go straight through Jnct05, and turn left at Jnct16 onto the Shortcut. Continue straight through Jnct01, and turn right at Jnct17. This is the junction of the Strip Mine Connector and the Fun Rocks Trail. Hike up to the rocks. Find a nice seat on one of the colorful rocks that were viewed from Overlook at the beginning of the hike and and have lunch. After lunch, return to Jnct17 and go right, returning to the Trailhead and Park-Knobs.


A scenic hike through the foothills near Placitas. The hike follows mountain bike trails on national forest land adjacent to the Sandia Wilderness Area. The hike is especially enjoyable when light snow has fallen.


Tunnel Spring: N35 18.386, W106 27.102
Quail Meadow : N35 18.234, W106 27.008

PARK: N35 17.915, W106 27.387
Trailhead : N35 17.895, W106 27.386
Gate : N35 17.834, W106 27.389
Jnct17 : N35 17.768, W106 27.364
Jnct01 : N35 17.758, W106 27.373
Jnct02 : N35 17.720, W106 27.373
Jnct03 : N35 17.686, W106 27.357
Jnct04 : N35 17.694, W106 27.206
OverLook : N35 17.735, W106 27.247
Jnct16 : N35 17.723, W106 27.406
Jnct05 : N35 17.726, W106 27.416
Jnct06 : N35 17.727, W106 27.682
Jnct07 : N35 17.640, W106 28.206
Jnct08 : N35 17.671, W106 28.305
Jnct09 : N35 17.668, W106 28.348
Jnct10 : N35 17.637, W106 28.449
Jnct11 : N35 17.934, W106 28.672
Jnct12 : N35 17.964, W106 28.732
Jnct13 : N35 17.980, W106 28.742
Jnct14 : N35 17.822, W106 28.393
FootBridge : N35 17.908, W106 28.325
Jnct15 : N35 17.920, W106 27.813
Fun Rocks : N35 17.750, W106 27.307

Map Filename: PlacitasKnobs2.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: PlacitasKnobs_HCHC.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Nancy Carr
Map Author: Howard Carr
Waypoints Author: Howard Carr
Track Author: Howard Carr
Maintainer: Nancy Carr
Editor: Howard Carr

Photos of This Hike
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