ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a popular trail in the Sandia Mountains that even some experienced hikers cannot conquer. After an unusually busy year for rescue crews saving people on the La Luz Trail, the Albuquerque Police Department is calling for the trail to be shut down for the season.
“I would think this year in particular with the amount of rescues we’ve had it should either be closed or there needs to be signage telling people,” said Officer Brian Shannon, with APD’s Open Space Unit.
In the last two weeks alone, Shannon has helped rescue seven different groups of people off the La Luz. “When you have multiple patients on the mountain we have to split up and that lessens the resources we have,” said Shannon.
APD is urging everyone to stop hiking the trail for the winter due to slick icy paths and deep snow that hides thousand-foot drops. “About halfway up you get snow and ice on the trail and they think, ‘Oh, I’ll just keep going it’s not going to get worse,'” said Shannon.
It does get worse. APD says most people get stuck about a mile away from the tram.
“People either slip on the ice on the trail or you think you’re on the trail and you’re not. The snowdrift appears like it’s part of the trail and they’ll step off into the snowdrift and that can cause a lot of problems,” said Shannon.
Closing the trail is actually up to the U.S. Forest Service. KRQE News 13 asked if they’re considering a seasonal closure but did not hear back.
APD says if the trail won’t be shut down, the Forest Service should at least install signage along the trail warning people of the conditions.