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.
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
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
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.