So long as the weather looks promising, this route can be a pleasant run.
A popular east-west artery trail that can be taken as a round trip or a shuttle trip with good parking at both ends. The western end of the trail once extended to the Mitchell Trail #69
, but a housing subdivision was built that now interrupts the trail's continuity. Los Alamos County created the Perimeter Trail
that annexed the western end of Rendija Trail (so don't worry if you see some signs indicating you are on the Perimeter Trail
in this area).
There are several locations to access Rendija Trail in this area, but the following describes one that is adjacent to a paved road. Park along Maple Drive about 500 feet north of the intersection of Maple Drive and Sumac Lane in Ponderosa Estates. There is no trailhead signage at this location, so look carefully for the start of the trail heading east into the canyon at the bend in the road. The trail shortly crosses two gravel roads (Range Rd and Aspen Dr) as it skirts the back of Guaje Pines cemetery. Take a sharp left turn (east) where another access trail enters on the east side of the cemetery. The trail heads into a narrows created by cliffs (the Spanish translation of rendija is aperture). The trail follows the normally dry stream bed for awhile before becoming a clear, flat track. Safety Note: this is a flash-flooding zone. Do not take this trail when there are severe thunderstorms in the area or if there is significant water flowing in the stream.
About 600 feet past the narrows, a trail enters from the south and in another 300 feet the western trailhead for Cabra Loop Trail #279
departs on the right (north side). Enjoy the spring wildflowers or the fall colors as you run through this pleasant, flat canyon. Tuff cliffs (porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash) appear on the north side of the canyon. At about the 2-mile point, the trail intercepts Pajarito Trail #286
which is another popular north-south access trail.
The trail passes behind the Los Alamos Sportsman's Club gun range (this will be obvious by the noise). Stay on the trail for your safety and do not cross fences. The trail continues another mile down Rendija Canyon until it reaches the eastern trailhead that is well marked on Rendija Road (a gravel road).