In the book “Walking Albuquerque” by Stephen Ausherman, the author writes, “Chances are you’ve never heard of North Albuquerque Acres, even if you live there. It’s one of those development names that only real estate agents and neighborhood associations find useful.”
That was in 2015, when the book was published. Nowadays, North Albuquerque Acres is high on the radar. Neighborhood Scout lists North Albuquerque Acres West as the most expensive neighborhood in Albuquerque and Albuquerque Acres as the second most expensive. The website areavibes.com lists North Albuquerque Acres as the second most expensive neighborhood in Albuquerque, behind Riverfronte, and homesnacks.com ranks North Albuquerque Acres as the fifth-richest neighborhood in Albuquerque for 2022.
So what’s changed about the far Northeast Heights neighborhood since Ausherman wrote his book? According to weichert.com, North Albuquerque Acres’ population grew by 348% since 2000, and realtor.com shows the median listing home price increased from $750,000 in April 2019 to $899,00 in March 2022. Besides there being more people and more expensive homes, traffic has also increased, making the walk a little noisier and more dangerous than it was seven years ago.
Still, the 4.5-mile moderate walk recommended by Ausherman offers plenty of attractions to soak in for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and horse enthusiasts. Ausherman suggests starting at Harrison H. Schmitt Big Sky Hang Glider Park, named after the former senator, geologist, pilot and astronaut who took the famous “Blue Marble” Earth photo during his 1972 Apollo 7 mission.
According to Mel Glantz, founder of High Desert Hang Gliding, the 11-acre park is regularly used by hang gliders and paragliders as a landing zone after launching from the Sandia Crest. When asked when a glider last landed there, he said, “Probably a couple days ago,” adding that the high winds make it difficult to soar this time of year.
Ausherman takes walkers from the hang-gliding park to Greiner Soccer Field to the southwest along one of the trails near the arroyo. From there, he suggests crossing Eubank at Corona Avenue before heading south past the Altamont Little League baseball fields. On the south side of Paseo Del Norte Boulevard, there is a paved trail that runs parallel to Eubank frequently used by walkers, joggers and bicyclists. Ausherman says, “In the course of this walk, you’ll pass within a half-mile of nine different churches,” including the massive Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the corner of San Francisco Road and Eubank Boulevard.
Ausherman recommends crossing Eubank at San Francisco before cutting through the Grace Lutheran Church of Albuquerque to get to Coronado Avenue. “Notable on the edifice is the bronze jumbo Jesus flattened against its west tower,” Ausherman writes of Grace Lutheran. To continue Ausherman’s route, head east on Coronado Avenue and then north along Lowell Drive.
At the intersection of Lowell and Pino Avenue, there is a small playground and entranceway along dirt trails into the Vista Sandia Equestrian Park. The 31-acre park offers a main arena, practice arena, dressage ring, day pens and a 25-space horse-trailer parking lot for equestrian lovers. Several properties in North Albuquerque Acres are well-suited for horses, with some trails offering direct access to the park from their neighborhood.
After zig-zagging across the park and past the South Domingo Baca Dam, walkers can find Lowell Drive once again, which they can use to cross Paseo Del Norte. Ausherman has walkers continuing north on Lowell Drive toward Patricia Cassidy Park, which offers walking paths of its own, and some unique playground equipment. From Patricia Cassidy Park, head west on Willshire Avenue to the hang-glider park. From Willshire there is access to the trails to take walkers back to the small parking lot on Signal Avenue, where the adventure began.
Zoom in on the map below to follow Ausherman’s route and click on the place markers to see images from around North Albuquerque Acres.