Route: La Luz Trail (NM)

Location
New Mexico, US
Distance
7.8 mi
Vertical Gain
3344 ft
Description

https://www.fs.usda.gov/

The La Luz trail is 7.5 miles long. It begins at La Luz Trailhead and ends at the Crest Trail 130 near the Sandia Peak Tram Upper Terminal. The La Luz Trail 137 connects with several other trails along the way. Tramway Trail 82; Piedra Lisa-La Luz Link Trail 137C; La Luz 137B; Chimney Canyon Trail 137A and The Crest Spur Trail (leads to the Sandia Crest House)

The La Luz Trail is one of the best known trails in the Sandia Mountains. It is also one of the most challenging. The trail goes from hot desert landscape to cool Canadian forest, for a length of 7.5 miles one way. The  elevation gain is 3,200 vertical feet. It is difficult and rewarding.

Sean O'Roarke posted some info about early La Luz FKTs:

"Leafing through Herbert Ungnade's classic Guide to the New Mexico Mountains (1965), I happened to find a short section on "Climbing Records":

The speed record on the La Luz trail to Sandia Crest was broken in July, 1964, when Charles Floading from Sandia Base climbed to the top in 1 hr., 25 min., 20 sec. Only a month later Dean Rickerson from Los Alamos made the same climb in 1 hr., 8 min."

Here's a list of winners and CRs from the 9 mile La Luz Trail Run:  http://www.abqroadrunners.com/previous-winners.html

Note that the best time on Strava for this is Alex Willis, 1h10m04s, 8/6/2017.

GPS Track

Comments

I'm going to try this one tomorrow. I'm a bit confused by the description vs the gps track shown. What's shown and referenced on strava as a segment goes from La Luz TH to Sandia Crest via the spur trail at the top, NOT to the tramway which is a slightly lower elevation to the south. So my attempt will be as mapped above.

So after reviewing the trail maps for the area, I ran the full La Luz trail 137 to the tram way, to cover the 7.5mi as described in just under 1:40. I need to crop off the time fussing with my phone at the start and end 😅

The description for this does not match the route given by the GPX file.  This route does not end near the top of the tram as stated, but rather takes the crest spur (left fork at the top of the rock slide) to the actual crest.  This is the route taken by the long-running race and is widely considered to be the standard route by local runners (if you say you ran La Luz, most will assume you went to the crest, not the tram). 

Also, an update: Alex Willis no longer has the fastest time on Strava-- Benjamin Stout set a time of 1:09:19 en route to his victory at the 2019 La Luz trail race (https://www.strava.com/activities/2590739991/overview).

Hi Brent, yes, description was confusing.  The main La Luz trail 137 does go to the tram.  I was surprised that no one had posted a time with all the ascent efforts from the trail race, so I assumed the FKT was for the full 137 trail.  The original message board actually showed the route ending at the junction for the crest spur, too: "The route is from the La Luz sign at the parking area to the La Luz sign where the trail splits to the summit trail or the South Crest trail. "  So I guess it's established as the route to the tram now.