NoName-Quartz Outcrop Trails Hike – 05/10/2023

Returning again to trails where Jay and I first hiked together.

The Drive In

Again, we met at the Strip Mine Trailhead located just off of NM 165, 0.8 miles east of the Placitas Cafe (also Blades’ Bistro). From there, we drove on Forest Loop Road 445 (a quite rocky road) for 1.3 miles, to a parking area on the left. 

The Hike

Notes about the Google Earth screenshot: the graph at the bottom shows elevation of the track (pink area) and speed (the blue line).

From the trailhead at the parking area, we proceeded up a sandy wash for close to a half mile where the cañon narrowed. We had intended to hike the Piedra Lisa trail, but having not hiked it recently we passed the turnoff (less than 1/4 mile from the trailhead). By the time we realized our mistake, we decided to continue on up this cañon (which long ago we dubbed NoName). At about the .6 mile point, we came to the junction of two cañons; the clearer path ahead seemed to be to the right.

The cañon bottom was a mixture of sandy sections and wider sections with trees and dirt in the bottom; occasionally a rocky section. On both sides the terrain climbed at a steep angle, not any invitation to depart from the bottom. We began noticing more and more chunks of quartz, which led us to the conclusion we were headed towards the “Quartz Outcrop”, a place that we visited a few times in the past. With that in mind, we pressed on thinking perhaps we would come across the Outcrop.

As it appeared that this NoName cañon was petering out, and seeing a saddle on the ridge to our left, we opted to strike out in that direction, over the ridge/saddle and into the next cañon. Reaching the bottom of that cañon, we had hiked as far as our plan for the day so we headed downhill in what we thought was Quartz Outcrop Cañon (again, our name). We encountered much more quartz in this cañon, supporting our suspicion that further up the cañon one would reach the Outcrop. We noted some very large pieces of quartz, one perhaps 18″ in length, 10″-12″ in diameter and many smaller pieces. This cañon was not as easy to hike – it was more narrow than NoName and had many more rocky sections that made hiking challenging, especially going downhill.


We enjoyed very much return to these “old stomping grounds”.


Total Distance:   2.93 miles
Elevation: start  6,088 ft, maximum  7,013 ft,  minimum  6,088 ft
Gross gain:  925 ft.  Aggregate ascending  994 ft, descending  995 ft
Maximum slope: 36% ascending, 40 % descending, 11.2% average
Duration: 2:22

GPS Track Files for Download
If you haven’t explored these hiking tracks with Google Earth, I urge you to try it. With the virtual 3-dimensional presentation, achieved by panning and tilting the view, you can get a much better idea of the hikes and terrain than you can get from the screenshot above. For some ideas, check out  Using Google Earth Track Files.

Related Posts

NoName Hikes
Quartz Outcrop Hikes
Placitas Area Hikes

References and Resources

Not much to be found related to these cañons, but here are references about trails in the area.

USDA Forest Service: Placitas Area Trail System (pdf map)
                                         Sandia Mountain Trails (pdf map)
AllTrails: Best Trails in Placitas
Hiking Project: Placitas – a good directory and map
Trailforks: Placitas Mountain Biking Trails – a good map of the trails thereabouts

This entry was posted in 2023, Hiking, Placitas, Years and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NoName-Quartz Outcrop Trails Hike – 05/10/2023

  1. Vincent H Humann says:

    Big chunks of quartz! I wish I had known about this place when I lived in New Mexico. For some reason I didn’t think to hike in the Placitas area, so I really enjoy your blogs of hikes in that area.

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