NM 536 / NM 165 : Sandia Park - Placitas ( Sandia Crest Road )

Star Ratings
4 star route rating
Corners : 4 star route rating Motorcycle Road4.5
Straights : 1 star route rating Motorcycle Road1.5
Scenery : 4 star route rating Motorcycle Road3.8
Road Surface : 2 star route rating Motorcycle Road2.0
Visibility : 2 star route rating Motorcycle Road1.8
Police Presence : green 3 Motorcycle Road2.8
Hazards : green 5 Motorcycle Road5.0

Route Added By : ssn696
Date : September 23, 2007
Length : 36 kms / 22.4 miles
Download GPX - ???
Road Type : Mountainous
Map Key : Red = Excellent | Blue = Good | Purple = Other Recommended
November 24, 2019 - 5 star route rating Motorcycle Road5.0

I went on a three week cross country trip (solo) in Aug 2019. I started on a 2016 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, and ended on a 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide. I mean isn't the ONLY way to fix a shift linkage bar to buy a new bike? :)

I saw this page last year and decided to make it part of my road trip this year. I came close to dropping my Street Bob. Definitely bottomed out a bunch of times. Even though I was negotiating my line fairly well. When I finished the stretch of rocky unpaved road, I realized I just had the time of my life! Thank you for your blog, happy to donate! Scroll through the August portion of my blog for this specific trip: https://donmontalvo.com/2019/08/18/short-day-but-technically-challenging/

PS, I was so goose-bump-y during the stretch I didn't take any GoPro footage, and only took a few pictures, hope to post them.

Don Montalvo

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January 21, 2018 - 1 star route rating Motorcycle Road1.0

Ab der Abzweigung zum Sandia Crest nicht befahrbar

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December 21, 2010 - 5 star route rating Motorcycle Road5.0

Sandia Crest road to the Crest is my preference, rather than the dirt route 165 to Placitas, which doesn suit my Ducatis. 8)

An excellent road with a passable surface, although expect some bumps. There are a few decreasing radius turns and several turounts for tourists, along with lots of deer and the occasional squirrel or elk, so always be on guard.

Also, the Bernalillo County Sheriffs Department occasionally sets up traffic stings just for bikes near the summit, so be careful and ask around at Coffee at Dawn in Cedar Crest (just south on 14, a local biker hangout, especially on the weekends) about road conditions and LEO disposition.....oh....and they have good coffee, too.

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  • Cloner
  • 1995 Ducati 900 SS/SP
  • score: 10
September 23, 2007 - 5 star route rating Motorcycle Road5.0

This is a must-not-miss side trip from the Turquoise Trail trip. This road rivals some of the best hairpins in Europe as it winds up the back of the Sandia where one can look over Albuquerque and about 100 miles of central NM. I had a friend who wore grooves in the sidewalls of his Yamaha on this road, but take it easy or well have to pull you r bike out of the top of a tree. It is also a decision point: its a round-trip to the top of the Sandia Mountain and back down to the Turquoise Trail, or a turnoff halfway back down takes you over to Placitas and connects you to the end of the Jemez Valley trip. A decent unpaved road (NM 165) will be no problem for dual-purpose bikes, but sketchy for Harleys and loaded tourers especially in the rainy season. About five miles north on NM14 from Tijeras, turn left on NM536, the Sandia Crest Road and wiggle your way up to the summit. If not continuing on to Santa Fe, on the way back down the Crest Road, turn off onto NM165, which winds down through the woods to the village of Placitas, where pavement resumes. This route takes you all the way to Bernalillo, where it becomes US 550. Food, fuel and lodging here. Forty miles west, you will find San Ysidro, and the bottom of the Jemez Valley route listed elsewhere on BBR. Or, you can bomb up Interstate 25 to Santa Fe and points north.

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