La Luz Trailhead lot to close Monday for parking lot expansion | KOB 4
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La Luz Trailhead lot to close Monday for parking lot expansion

Casey Torres
October 18, 2018 06:40 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The La Luz Trail is arguably the most popular trail winding through the Sandia Mountains, making it difficult at times for hikers to find a parking spot.

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“They park off the side of the pavement all the way back down from this trailhead," said Bernall Rice, a bicyclist who frequents the nearby trails. "And on the weekends, there’s a lot of people parking in the sand, off the asphalt."

That's why the trailhead's parking lot – currently offering 23 marked spots – is expected to undergo construction beginning Monday to add about 20 more spots. The project is expected to last through February or March, depending on how much weather cooperates.

Kerry Wood, the wilderness and trails program manager for the Sandia Ranger District, said the project is a long time coming, with overcapacity at the lot a common issue.

“We have emergency vehicles or other law enforcement services that have to come up here sometimes. They actually can’t access the trailhead and get in because of the way that the trailhead is arranged,” he said.

Wood said the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Transportation Program contributed between $800,000 and $1 million for the project.

Once construction is underway, the La Luz Trailhead, along with a portion of the road leading to it, will be closed. Violators could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

Officials say hikers who want to utilize the trail – which will remain open – in the meantime can park at the Juan Tabo picnic area, the Piedra Lisa Trailhead or at the Sandia Peak Tramway parking lot.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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