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Location and Hours

Address: 34 Forest Road 252 (Manzano Mountains)

Hours of Operation: The trail is open from dawn to dusk throughout the year.

Contact: Bernalillo County Open Space staff, 505-314-0400 or calangan@bernco.gov

Sabino Canyon contains 117 acres of piñon juniper forest and upland meadows and was purchased by the county in October, 1999.  Elevations range from 7000-7200 feet. The area is directly south of the Cedro Peak campground, and borders Cibola National Forest land on the north, south and west.  

Vegetation is piñon-juniper and upland meadows.  Mule deer, black bear, piñon deermouse, black-tailed jackrabbit, porcupine, diamond back rattlesnakes and the canyon wren have been seen on the property.  The area has a large meadow with blue grama, pine dropseed and other grass species. 

In wet years, the area has a seasonal spring and riparian area.  The seasonal spring is located near the road on the southern section of the property.  Two wells were drilled on the property prior to acquisition; one was a dry well, and the other produces less than one gallon per minute.

sabino mesa

Property History

Signs of habitation in the area date back to 5500 B.C., and from the early 1600s until the late 1800s, the land was farmed for pinto beans and potatoes. The Riedmont Fur Farm was constructed in the early 1920s by the Riedling musical instrument family. Between 300 and 500 silver foxes were raised for their furs, as well as mink and rabbit. The economic depression and crash of fur markets caused the family to abandon the farm in the late 1930s. Between the 1930s to the 1960s, little is known about the old settlement of Sabino. In 1971, it was sold to Dr. Sterling Edwards.  Bernalillo County purchased the property in October 1999 as open space.  

Remnants of the property’s past can still be seen on top of the meadow. Structures from the old Riedmont Fur Farm include a small cabin, two wooden sheds, an old water tank, two old wooden buildings and an old outhouse.

sabino stables

Planning and Management

With technical assistance from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program and in collaboration with the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and the U.S. Forest Service, an extensive, 3-year community planning process for nine East Mountain open space properties, including Sabino Canyon, was completed.  On October 27, 2004, a public open house was held at Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras with approximately 150 community participants in attendance. Draft resource management plans for Sabino Canyon and the other East Mountain Open Space properties were available for public inspection and comment. Steering committee members and technical team members, including BCPR staff, were in attendance to answer questions and address community concerns.


In February 2005, the final draft Sabino Canyon resource management plan was submitted to the Bernalillo County Planning Commission and to the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners.  The CPC formally accepted the submission during its March meeting. Formal approval by the BCC was received on April 26, 2005. Transitioning to implementation of plan objectives and community-based site stewardship is the next challenge in effective administration at Sabino Canyon and at all of the East Mountain Open Space properties.

Current Projects

Bernalillo County has completed a two-mile, single-track trail that extends to the east and west side of the property. General improvements have been made to the parking area and road. The County and East Mountain Historical Society have developed a “Sabino Canyon Open Space: An Interpretive Guide” as part of the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Grant (see link at the top of the page).

Bernalillo County also worked with the N.M. State Forestry Division and Cuidad Soil and Water Conservation District to complete a fuel wood thinning throughout the entire property in 2010 to prevent forest fires and improve forest health. After the thinning, the trail was enhanced and outdoor furnishings and interpretive wayside signs were installed.  The furnishings include benches and a shade structure on the east side of the property, as well as a recently installed log seating area on the west side of the property as part of Cole Milhollin's Eagle Scout project.  

Resources

Learn about the history of this property through this publication developed in coordination with the East Mountain Historical Society and the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance Program by clicking on the title, Sabino Canyon Intrepretive Guide.

Sabino Area Map

Sabino Trails Map

 

For additional information or questions about this Open Space property, contact Colleen Langan at (505) 314-0398 or email calangan@bernco.gov.

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