Tunnel Spring

Placitas, New Mexico (Sandoval County)

Last Updated: 03/20/2018
5 / 5 ( 3 reviews )
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Highlight: Tunnel Spring
Nestled in the north end of the Sandia Mountain Wilderness is the 1.5-mile Forest Service Road 231, an easy drive leading to Tunnel Spring and some of the area's best hiking trails. At any point along this trail, there are spectacular 360-degree views. A short 20 minutes north of Albuquerque, this trail is a readily accessible getaway from the stresses of urban life. The trail's proximity to the metropolitan areas of the Rio Grande Valley and its many opportunities for adventure and recreation make it a great destination in this area. The Sandia Mountains are the most visited in New Mexico, with about half of the state's population living within an hour's drive. Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and a popular belief is that the name is a reference to the reddish hue of the range's granite escarpments at sunset. The people of Sandia Pueblo, who are Tiwa speakers, consider the mountains sacred and also refer to the range as Bien Mur, "big mountain." The granite of the Sandias is topped in many areas with a 300-foot layer of limestone, rich in marine fossils that can be seen where the rock is exposed. Wildlife in the area includes mule deer, black bears, squirrels, and bobcats as well as golden eagles, various species of hawks and roadrunners.


Route Information

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1. FR231 Trailhead - Tunnel Springs Road (0 mi)
Mailboxes and a street sign for "Tunnel Springs Road" make the start of FR231 easy to spot. Head south, all the way up the hill.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Placitas

From Interstate 25 take Exit 242, NM 165 east toward Placitas 4.9 miles. The trailhead, Tunnel Springs Road, is on the right (south) side of the highway. A group of mailboxes on the corner make it easy to spot.


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Writer Information

Scott Mitchell

Mapping Crew - New Mexico

Scott Mitchell is a Personal Defense and Defensive Tactics Instructor in Albuquerque. A New Mexico native, Scott lives in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, adjacent to the Sandia Mountain Wilderness Area in the Cibola National Forest. Scott likes to get out at every opportunity to explore his state's off-road trails. As a Trailsoffroad contributor, his goal is to find and share as much reliable information as possible to help others navigate and enjoy the great New Mexico outdoors.
For individual use only, not to be shared.