OverviewPoint 8300 is the highest peak in the Rincon (Spanish for corner) spur of the Sandia Mountains located just east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is most easily seen as the pointy, pyramid-shaped spire on Rincon Ridge when driving north on Tramway Boulevard in Albuquerque. Although it is unnamed, it presents a decent challenge to would-be ascensionists with minor route-finding, and a class 2/3 scramble up the northeast ridge. Despite its proximity to Albuquerque, the trail-less summit is often overlooked by its more famous and named neighbors. The main route to the summit is via the Piedra Lisa Trail #135 to Rincon Ridge and a bushwhack west for about a mile.
Rincon Peak (8163 feet). To the east towers the main mass of the Sandias with the 1000-foot wall of rock known as the Shield, the grand pyramid-shaped spectacle of the Needle, and the radio-tower covered summit of Sandia Peak itself. From the summit of Point 8300 one can see the Manzano Mountains, the Jemez Mountains, Mount Taylor, Cabezon Peak, and the Sierra Ladrones.
The flora and fauna of this mountain is much the same as the rest of the Sandias. Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Mountain Lion (Puma concolor), and Abert's Squirrels (Sciurus aberti) abound. Piñon Pine (Pinus edulis), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Juniper, and Gambel's Oak (Quercus gambelii) are the predominant plants of the area.
The Sandias are also well-known for their geologic uniqueness. First, there is an abundance of Sandia granite, a type of granite only found in this mountain range. Second, from the summit of Point 8300 and the saddle of Rincon Ridge, the Great Unconformity is clearly visible high on the escarpment of the Sandias. The Great Unconformity is an unusual gap in the geologic record where the Sandia granite meets its cap of fossil-rich limestone.
Getting ThereFrom I-25 north of I-40, head east on Tramway Blvd. past Sandia Casino for approximately 3 miles until you can make a left turn onto FR 333 to the La Luz Trailhead, and the Juan Tabo and La Cueva Picnic Grounds. Stay on the main paved road ignoring the turn-offs to La Cueva Picnic Grounds and the La Luz Trailhead. Immediately after the turn-off to the La Luz Trailhead, the road will become FR 333D and turn to dirt. About 1/2 mile further on is the parking lot with a turn off to the left. There is a gate (sometimes open and sometimes not) and a sign marking the no public access Evergreen Hills Subdivision, as well as the parking area for the Piedra Lisa #135 Trailhead. Parking is $3 per car and there are two pay stations: 1) Just off of Tramway Road and 2) Just as FR 333D turns to dirt. Be sure to pay as the rangers do check frequently.
Red TapeThere is no Red Tape for this climb except to pay the $3 parking fee. Parking is $3 per car and there are two pay stations: 1) Just off of Tramway Road and 2) Just as FR 333D turns to dirt. Be sure to pay as the rangers do check frequently.
CampingDispersed camping is allowed in the Sandias, but there are no designated campgrounds. Fires are not allowed. This hike is close enough to town that it is easy to stay with a friend or in a hotel.
MapsThe 7.5 USGS map is Sandia Crest (NM).
The Cibola National Forest publishes the Sandia Mountain Wilderness Map available locally in Albuquerque at REI near the intersection of Montaño and I-25. It costs about $14.95 and is plasticized for weatherproofing. You can get it for $7 if you go directly to the Cibola National Forest Office off of Osuna. To get there from I-25 head west on Osuna. Take a right onto Chappell Drive. The office will be on the west side of the street in about 1/4 mile.
Probably the best map to purchase is the newer Sandia Mountains – GPS Powered Trail Map by Dharma Maps. It is a 1:45,000 scale topographic map complete with GPS coordinates, mileages, and access points. It is printed on waterproof paper and is smaller, more detailed, and more portable than the National Forest map. It can be purchased at Amazon.com for $9.95, and is also available locally at REI near the intersection of Montaño and I-25.
External LinksSandia Mountain Hiking Guide by Mike Coltrin
Cibola National Forest