Sunset Canyon

Sunset Canyon is quite possibly my favorite mile of cycling in Albuquerque:

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If you like to climb (as I do) and you’re stuck in town either because of time constraints, or because it’s winter, there are a series of short, steep, lovely climbs on the neighborhood streets that make up the Sandia Mountain Foothills. Cyclists call them “the fingers”. My favorite finger has always been Sunset Canyon.

It’s a lovely old neighborhood that reminds me of the South Laguna beach neighborhoods of my childhood, draped on the cliffs between the Pacific Coast Highway and the ocean. Folks who live in the neighborhood are always out walking, and the climb is so steep (7 percent grade average) that I’m generally riding slowly enough for a “hello” and a second round of social exchange before you pass them.

For a bonus, a little street called Hidden Valley turns off in a southerly direction right as you’re starting up the climb. And if you’re a real beast (pardon the pun), Paseo del Puma one block to the north of Sunset Canyon is one of the steepest climbs you’ll find anywhere, a real leg-burner. I generally wait at the bottom while my more fit friends climb it.