Outing of the Week: John A. Milne & Gutierrez Canyon Open Space

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Sierra Club outings and in-person events have been cancelled through February 28th, 2021. While we’re all disappointed, we understand that everyone’s health and safety are most important. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and go for a hike! Our do-it-yourself outings are designed with you in mind and offer a range of difficulties and outdoor experiences. We hope you’ll climb the mountains and receive their good tidings during this challenging time.

John A. Milne & Gutierrez Canyon Open Space

Location: Albuquerque east mountains
Difficulty: Easy, 2-4 mile loop trail
Cost: $0
Dogs: permitted on leash
Map: City of Albuquerque | All Trails

About this hike: This is a loop trail. There are a number of routes that you can choose from and range from 2-4 miles through mostly piñon-juniper forest. This is a good option if you want to get out of the heat of the city. This is also a great area to experience single-track mountain biking, particularly for beginners.

The 300-acre Gutierrez Canyon property was purchased by the City of Albuquerque in 1963, making it one of the first pieces of land the City set aside for the preservation of nature. In 2008, the City purchased a 420-acre property contiguous to Gutierrez Canyon now know as the “John A. Milne Open Space.” This addition creates a total of 720 acres of protected Major Public Open Space stretching from Highway 14, east to Gutierrez Canyon Road.

Elevations here range from 6,100′ to 7,600′. Steep-sided, rocky canyons containing usually dry stream beds characterize this property. Piñon-juniper forests dominate this site, but there are also scenic stands of ponderosa pine. Deer, bears and mountain lions are frequent visitors to this area. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the East Mountains from various vantage points in the John A. Milne Open Space.

From Albuquerque Open Space: While our Open Space trails are a great asset during this time, it’s critical that anyone visiting City Open Space and other public lands help take care of these lands as well. All trail users can help by practicing the following:

  • Maintain social distancing on trails of at least 6 feet from other trail users.
  • Keep group sizes to fewer than 5 people.
  • Pick up after your pets. Mutt Mitt stations and trash cans are available at most trailheads.
  • Pack out any trash from anything you bring with you on your hike (e.g. food wrappers, water bottles, etc.).
  • Stay on all designated trails to help reduce soil erosion and disturbances to plants and wildlife.
  • Enjoy, but do not disturb plants and wildlife.
  • Do not remove any artifacts, rocks, or other things that belong in Open Space.

Getting there: East Mountains of Albuquerque. From I-40 East, take Exit 175 and go north on NM-14 for approximately 4 miles. The open space parking lot is adjacent to the Cedar Crest Post Office. A formal parking area off of N.M. Highway 14 is available near the Cedar Crest Post Office. The parking area includes space for horse trailers.

Outing of the Week: John A. Milne & Gutierrez Canyon Open Space