The directions to the trailhead are on the main page.
The trail starts at the southeastern corner of the Sandia Mountains in Tijeras Canyon east of Albuquerque. From the parking lot, the trail doesn't gain much elevation until it hits a small waterfall about .25 miles up the trail.
Then numerous winding turns guide you out of the eroded, Juniper-covered canyons that litter the lower slopes of the eastern side of the Sandias. During this section are the intersections with Faulty Trail and Upper Faulty Trail that travel parallel to the Crest. Immediately after the intersection with Upper Faulty Trail is the intersection with CCC Trail, which is a half as long as the South Crest Trail (1.8 miles vs. 4.1 miles) from that point to the summit's vicinity.
The South Crest Trail travels in a southwesternly direction for 1.5 miles through Ponderosa to an area just east the southern downslope of the Crest that ends in Tijeras Canyon. The trail then turns slowly to the north with several switchbacks until it hits the Crest and reveals Albuquerque, Embudo Canyon, and Three Gun Canyon below on the western side of the mountain.
After hitting the Crest, the trail heads straight north through oak brush to the intersection with Embudito Trail. About .75 miles further north is the summit. The best way to approach the peak is by finding the trail that starts in Oso Pass just west of the intersection between Embudito Trail and the Crest Trail and travel north or you can find a clearing to the crest and search for a route along the ridge. The only way to get to the summit is by the approach from the south along the ridge. There is a faint trail (the trail from Oso Pass) in the vegetation that travels along the ridge and traverses it to reveal the summit several dozen feet above, which can be gained by continuing north until an easy scramble becomes apparent. The top is marked by a couple large cement blocks.
Elevation Gain (To Summit): 3,185 feet
Length (To Summit): 6.8 miles
Elevation Gain (To End of Trail): 2,953 feet
Length (To End of Trail): 6.1 miles
Regular hiking gear will suffice in the summer, fall, and late spring. Normal winter gear for protection from the elements are a must and snowshoes, crampons, and an ice axe should be considered for early spring and winter travel.
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