“A moderate trail leading up Three Gun Springs Canyon to the Ponderosa Trees and the Embudo Trail.”
— Noah Patterson
Start off in the Monticello Subdivision following signs to the trailhead. This trail has parking for 10 cars but you can probably squeeze more along the road. Running early is a must here (as it is in most of the Sandia foothills) as the beginning offers little shade.
The first third of the trail is Easy/Intermediate
through the high desert foothills with many different kinds of cacti (prickly pear, barrel, cholla). You'll meander on, passing decent sized boulders and juniper. This part is sun-exposed but you'll get a great feel for the canyon and higher mountains around.
You'll eventually start to hit some switchbacks and a solid Intermediate
section. At the start, you'll see a signpost trail marker as the trail turns left. Here to your right you see some different trees growing. This is likely the namesake Three Gun Springs as it allows different types of trees to grow lower than normal. This section is steep, loose, and tough. Power through and you come out of the canyon on the ridge and into the ponderosa pines. Here you'll intersect with the Embudo Trail
. Continue up and to the right on the Three Gun Springs Trail.
The final third is Easy/Intermediate
as you weave along ridge lines going higher and higher. Pause to take a few views of the Albuquerque to your left as you go. Eventually you'll come to intersection of 2 trails, Embudito Trail (192) and Whitewash Loop
, at Oso Pass. Taking a right on Embudito you'll eventually intersect with the South Sandia Crest Trail (#130) close to South Sandia Peak. Taking a left on either Embudito or Whitewash will lead you back to the Albuquerque Heights.