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Location and Hours

Address: 82 Carlito Springs Rd. (Tijeras Canyon in the East 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.

Carlito Springs is located on the southeast face of the Sandia Mountains near the village of Tijeras. It encompasses 179 acres and ranges in elevation from 6,300 feet to 7,000 feet.

It borders the Cibola National Forest to the north and northwest and private property on all other sides. Bernalillo County purchased the initial 177 acres in 2000 and later acquired an adjoining two-acre tract in 2008 that includes its namesake spring.   

Carlito Springs is named for the spring that flows from exposed bedrock in the north-central portion of the property. This spring once provided water to a residence and several cabins and continues to feed several ponds and a lush riparian environment that nourishes ornamental gardens and an orchard. This spring water also provide critical habitat for many species of birds and animals, including black bear, mountain lion, badger and mule deer.

Planning and Management    

Bernalillo County recently completed the Carlito Springs Open Space Cultural Landscape Report in the spring of 2012. The work upon which the report is based had two foci: 1) inventory Carlito Springs’ resources, including its landforms, history, cultural resources, water resources, architecture, circulation routes, and vegetation, and 2) develop a treatment plan that protects Carlito Springs’ resources while also providing public access and enrichment. 

Current Projects

The first phase of the treatment plan was completed in 2014 and included a new trailhead and sustainable natural surface trail system, allowing visitor parking and access. The property is now open from dawn to dusk to hikers. Future plans include the renovation of the built and natural features and will proceed as funds become available.


Learn more about the history of Carlito Springs from the Carlito Springs Open Space Cultural Landscape Report

You can also learn more about the management plan for this open space in the Carlito Springs Resource Management Plan.

For a property/trail map, please click here.

The hiking trail at Carlito Springs opened Aug. 9, 2014; however, building renovations near the spring (Phase 2) are not yet complete, and will not be open to the public at this time.

To get to Carlito Springs, travel east on Interstate 40 to Exit 175, then travel south towards Tijeras.Turn right onto N.M. 337/Historic Route 66. Turn right onto Public School Road under I-40 to Carlito Springs Road.Turn right on Carlito Springs Road. Turn left at the second driveway and follow the signs to Carlito Springs.

For additional information, contact the Open Space Coordinator at (505) 314-0400 or emailcalangan@bernco.gov.

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