Free things are like a kick to the system. Your body jolts with energy as your realize that you found a free thing. There are so many things to do that are free. Here is your local guide to free things to do in the East Mountains of New Mexico. Be sure to have your camera handy, take hiking boots and some back-pack esentials.
Let’s start at the base as you leave Albuquerque, New Mexico heading East on I-40. Take I-40 to the first exit on the right after you pass through the canyon. As you exit stay in the far left lane. This leads you to the path that will take you up the Sandia Mountains. When you get to the turn-off that says To Sandia Peak, exit on that. You can’t miss it, as the sign is huge. Get that camera out. You are about to discover some local lore. You want to get it on film. You may need a flash as the trees cover it a great deal.
Now stay on that road until you come to the first rest stop on your right. The park has a small path on the left as you enter. Take that. You should go slow here as you will encounter other drivers on the path. It is an off-road haven. I have never had any problems; but do be careful.
As you follow the path it will climb up the Sandia Mountains and pass right by a cave entrance. That cave is part of the Sandia Caves, which has long been mysterious to the locals. There is a story about a ghost lady there. Once a criminal held up in that cave until discovered by the local Santa Fe authorities back around 2000. You can check it out. They caught the guy. Do allow others know that you are there, and take a buddy if possible. Now, explore it. It is absolutely gorgeous. Smells wonderful and the air is fresh. Once you have explored that; get back in the car and head to the next spot.
The path leads around some step dirt path roads. The scenery will now bo out of the trees a bit and will provide quite a show for you and your camera. Snap a few. Please respect the locals there. Some homes do exist in this area.
Once you emerge from the hills, you descend once again down the mountain. About 5 minutes from there at about 5 miles an hour; you come accross a picnic park. It is on the left. You can camp there. They have rest rooms and camp fire pits. Just make sure to register your car if you visit. It is a neat little park for a free get-away. Don’t miss the sunset there to the west. When you head out of there you emerge once again in civilization. The road you are on leads to I-25. Take it straight until you see the highway.
Now sit back and enjoy the moment as you leave a little secret area of the East Mountains. Enjoy knowing that you have discovered the beauty of the road less traveled. It’s free and it’s all right here in the East Mountains of the Sandia mountains