Popular hiking spot reopens this weekend after five years

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A popular hiking spot in Tijeras is reopening this weekend after being shut down for nearly five years.

Carlito Springs is a recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Officials shut down the area in 2018 so Bernalillo County could work on preserving and improving the grounds.

Whether it’s a hike along one of the two tree-lined trails at the Carlito Springs Open Space, or alongside one of the three rock-lined pools, visitors will have a new place to beat the heat.

“This is one area where we actually have a natural spring, fed by snow melt from the Sandia Mountains, so this is really a unique place and that we have fresh water flowing year-round,” said Eric Olivas, the Bernalillo County commissioner for District 5.

Bernalillo County invested more than $3.5 million in improvements, thanks to different grants and bonds.

“Parking renovations, installing some fire suppression systems, fire hydrants, vehicle access, improving roads, and then of course, restoration of the main house,” Commissioner Olivas said.

The main house was built in 1880 as a tuberculosis ward. Then, it became home to the owner of the Albuquerque Journal.

Now, it has turned into meeting and exhibit spaces and a caretaker residence.

“Really focusing on keeping the historic stone structure and bringing it back, but bringing it back to kind of modern standards,” the commissioner said.

Looking ahead, Bernalillo County plans to renovate the historic cabins and hosting summer camps.

“This is a gem in our open space system and it’s exciting to be opening this and getting people out here,” the commissioner said.

Bernalillo County officials will hold a reception Saturday at 10 a.m. to celebrate its reopening.