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Whitewash Loop

  4.3 ( 7 ) Favorite


12.9 mile 20.7 kilometer loop
82% Runnable


Ascent: 2,910' 887 m
Descent: -2,910' -887 m
High: 8,531' 2,600 m
Low: 5,948' 1,813 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 55% (29°)


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Trail shared by Brian Pilgrim

This basic loop consists of runign the Whitewash Trail to Oso Pass then coming back down the Embudo Trail.

Brian Pilgrim

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views


This run is great training for steep climbing, with the tough uphill of Whitewash coupled with great views of the city and north Sandia Crest. Whitewash is little used so there is a long section of solitude before hitting the more frequently used trails. The approximate half-way point is Oso Pass, which is a nice spot for a picnic if you are hiking or just a rest and re-fuel break if running.

Need to Know

It's important to bring plenty of water as there is really no useful water on the trail. There is an occasional mud/water puddles from a seeping spring low on Embudo Trail, but it's really only good for wildlife. The Trail Run Project mobile app may be helpful for finding your way on Whitewash Trail.

Runner Notes

This run in either direction is good climbing training followed by a mix of easy to fairly technical downhill running. I prefer running it clockwise starting up Whitewash because I think that gives you more runnable downhill. There is really no water on the course, maybe a muddy water spot suitable for a dog or a brave person with a filter low on the Embudo Trail, but it's less reliable the more you run into summer.


There are many possible beginnings and ends to this loop but the basic loop consists of the Whitewash Trail which you'll take to Oso Pass, and then heading back down into the southern foothills using the Embudo Trail.

Whitewash Trail can be difficult to find and follow going up unless you already know it. This is mostly because of multiple user trails that cross it and split from it within the first mile. There is also the fact that it's completely unmarked at any point. It's easier to find the first time by doing this loop in reverse. Once you get to the Oso Pass intersection using the Embudo Trail you take a hard left onto Whitewash. It's unmarked but it is the only option for a hard left.

Once you get far enough down along Whitewash to where you have the multiple user trail it's not hard to find your way because you can see all the southern foothills, so you just keep heading down. The nice thing about Whitewash is that it's great climbing going up, it's scenic once you start getting higher up on the mountain, and it is little used. The largest number of people I've seen in a day on the trail is two.

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May 11, 2019
Jason R
Apr 20, 2019
Joe Fry
Out-back to the top of Whitewash - CCW. 12.2mi — 2h 25m
Jan 25, 2019
Renzo Pootnam
Deep snow for about 5 miles at the higher elevation. Not runnable at this time. 15.2mi
Aug 6, 2018
Andrew West
first tall run in a while. great training loop for any trail race. Will definitely do it again. 12.9mi
Sep 17, 2017
brutal. low on nutrition and electrolytes 12.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 7 votes


  4.3 from 7 votes
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in New Mexico


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A first look at the beginning of the Embudo Canyon trail!
May 9, 2019 near Carnuel, NM
This narrow section of the Lower Foothills Trail 365 wraps around the hillside overlooking the city.
Jun 7, 2017 near Carnuel, NM
Desert cacti give way to pine trees as Embudo Trail climbs the Sandia Mountains.
Feb 29, 2016 near Carnuel, NM
Barrel Cacti blossom in beautiful spring color.
Apr 18, 2017 near Carnuel, NM
A wooden bridge over an arroyo on the Lower Foothills Trail 365.
Jun 7, 2017 near Carnuel, NM
Admiring the giant rocks in the dry river bed.
May 9, 2019 near Carnuel, NM


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