Spanish for corner, the name Rincon is entirely appropriate for this peak. One of several 8,000 foot peaks along the shorter front range of the Sandia Mountains to the north of Albuquerque, Rincon Peak is positioned in the northwest corner of the short valley separating the Sandia Mountains from their smaller counterparts. Shorter than two of its nameless neighbors, Rincon Peak doesn’t appear that fantastic, but it offers a surprisingly hard climb to its summit as well as an incredible panoramic view stretching from Santa Fe to Socorro.
From the intersection between I-25 and I-40, go north on I-25 to the Tramway Rd. Take a right onto Tramway and continue past Sandia Casino towards the mountain. Several miles past the casino, turn left onto the FR-333 to the La Luz Picnic Grounds near the base of the mountains. There are two places where you can pay the parking fee, the first is near Tramway Rd. and the other is at the turn off to the La Luz Trailhead parking lot. Continue straight beyond the turnoff to La Luz onto FR-333D (a dirt road) to the Piedra Lisa Trailhead, which is just before a gate that has a sign saying “no public access.”
Protected as part of the Sandia Pueblo Indian Reservation and the Sandia Mountains Wilderness Area, Rincon Peak has several restrictions. No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are allowed on the trails and a $3 parking fee is required at all trailheads within the national forest or wilderness. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash and picked up after. Read signs along the trail because of seasonal closures between March 1 and August 15 in the areas east of Piedra Lisa Trail.
When To Climb
The peak is climbable at all times during the year. The best period is between April and September, which is true for most peaks in New Mexico. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in this area, more frequently during the spring, summer, and fall. Due to the dust, dry air, altitude, and intense sun that drain you of water, it is important to pack plenty of it (a couple of liters is good). It's best to leave early in the morning to beat the heat.
There are no campgrounds on the mountain but camping is allowed as long as fires are not made. However, all climbs are done within a day so camping is unnecessary for most people.
For mountain conditions you can take the following link, which is also offered at the Sandia Peak and useful for South Sandia Peak because of their close proximity to each other.
Sandia Peak Ski Area Weather
It is also possible to e-mail, call, or mail the district ranger of the Sandia Mountains. His e-mail is email@example.com, his address is 11776 Highway 337, Tijeras, New Mexico USA 87059-8619, and his phone numbers are (505) 281-3304 [voice] and (505) 281-1176 [fax].