Carlito Springs Open Space :: A Hidden Gem


Summer is here, and adventure is calling. Are you looking for a fun hike with the kids?

Located just outside of Albuquerque near the Village of Tijeras is the renovated and re-opened Carlito Springs Open Space–open from 7 am to 7 pm Wednesday through Sunday. To get there, head to A. Montoya Elementary School and then turn north on Carlito Springs Rd.

» » » » » » » » » » » » » »  RELATED READ: This Hike Is a Hug From Nature  « « « « « « « « « « « « « «

It is the perfect place to load up the family and let the wonder take you over for the day. This space truly feels like a mystical land that you could get lost in for hours. Pack your lunch, bring water and sunscreen, and enjoy!

Address: 40 Carlito Springs Road Cedar Crest, New Mexico 87008 

Fellow ABQ Mom contributor Elizabeth and I hiked up with her five kids and were ready to take on the adventure of this hidden gem. It may have rained on us most of the hike, but it gave added effect to how serene it felt.

From flowers and trees I had never seen before, to beautiful streams of water, this place feels like a fairytale.

Carlito Springs is by far a new favorite place near Albuquerque to explore. Amongst the beautiful greenery also lays poison ivy, so please be prepared and teach your littles what poison ivy looks like and to keep a watch out. This could lead to a fun day identifying the large variety of plants that are hidden within.

Shock and awe! Two things you are sure to feel when you visit Carlito Springs.

There are three parking lots. The first two are always open, and both will get you to the same place. If you don’t want to hike as much, then park at the second lot. You can walk on the road or hike the adjacent trail. It is a beautiful trail with shade in most areas. You will even go over small bridges. It is easy enough for children of all ages and dogs too. If you have a jogging stroller, you can use the road and go all the way up!

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The third upper lot is open by reservation only and is handicap accessible. Make sure to call ahead! You can also reserve the new education building with an adjoining kitchen for an event, perhaps with a hiking or school group. A caretaker lives on-site in the upper level of this main building. There are beautiful well-kept bathrooms here as well!

You cannot get into the water, but just the beauty around you is sure to satisfy adults and children alike!

You can hike up to the spring head which is a little incline of a hike. There you will pass the older cabin rooms (which will hopefully be restored in the future). You can see little meandering streams come down the middle portion and then walk down to the main lower pools. Sit and enjoy or keep exploring on the loop trail!

The loop trail is 1.75 miles long. As you hike down from the lower pools, you will see an apple orchard and ornamental gardens. We went in a slight rainstorm here which was breathtaking. So many photo ops!

Check it out, and remember to visit Wednesday through Sunday!

Read more about it here.

Originally published June 2023.


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