The Cienega Trail is a beautiful 4ish-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. Beginning at a lovely picnic area, this moderately-difficult hike climbs through trees and (in wetter years) along a stream up to the Sandia Crest ridgeline, eventually intersecting with the Crest Trail and (for more adventuresome souls) continuing on to the Pino Trail which ends on the west side of the mountain at the Elena Gallegos picnic area. For this hike, we will plan only to do the Cienega Trail, but those interested may plan to hike the Pino Trail on their own or at a different time.
As always, during spring and summer months come prepared for any and all weather conditions: Bring sunscreen and rain gear; dress in layers; hiking boots are not required but are highly-recommended, as there could be mud along the trail. Also bring plenty of water and a light lunch or a heavy snack.