Palomas Peak is much like Sandia Crest. It has a steep west face with many cliffs, a gentler sloping east side and is a long ridge summit running north and south. The true summit is on the northern end of it's ridge. This peak is a popular desination for area sport climbers due to it's proximity to Albuquerque. While it is not the tallest peak on the east side of the Sandia Crest it still offers nice views of the surrounding area.
New Mexico Rank:
Rank and Prominence information from
Lists of John
Go east on I-40 to exit 175 (Tierjas). From the exit ramp turn left (north) and go under the highway continuing north on Rt 14. Follow Rt 14 north for approximately 6 miles and turn left (west) onto Rt 536. A few miles past the ski area you will turn right onto NM 165 at the Balsam Glade picnic area. Continue down NM 165 for 2.25 miles. You will be able to see Palomas Peak off to your right during this drive. At 2.25 miles there are a few concrete barriers and a VERY small parking area off to the right. Park here but make sure you are completely off the roadway or you could be ticketed or towed. There is only enough room for 2 or 3 cars. Las Huertas picnic area is further down NM 165 and is the next closest parking area (however it is a fee area).
Palomas Peak topo
Overall this is a fairly easy route. The first half of this route parallels the road along the hill's contour lines. The trail then splits and heads up the south ridge of the peak before the main cliff bands begin. The upper portion of the trail is faint but well cairned.
This route is more challenging since it involves a short potion of more difficult climbing. Follow the South Ridge trail to where the climber's trail splits and goes below the major cliff band. Continue along the base of the cliffs. From here pick a one of a number of weaknesses in the cliff band and bushwhack to the summit.
Views from the summit:
Looking WNW Looking W
There is no red tape however, if the parking area is full and your car is parked on the roadway you can be ticketed/towed.
Palomas Peak lies within the Cibola National Forest. Camping in the Cibola National Forest is allowed however, fires are prohibited. There are no established campgrounds.
Local weather: Albuquerque
Local Search and Resuce Team: Cibola SAR
Cibola National Forest - Sandia Ranger District