While not the capital of New Mexico, Albuquerque is the Zia State’s biggest city. The desert metropolis has a population of just over 500,000 and at 200 square miles within the city proper, is very spread out. The city is framed by the Rio Grande River downtown, and the gorgeous Sandia mountains to the east, where timing some runs to enjoy the unique colors of desert mountains can be a special treat. Note that downtown Albuquerque sits at about 5,200 feet: like Denver or Salt Lake City, running at altitude is a particular running challenge, or training opportunity, depending on your perspective.
The centerpiece of central Albuquerque running is the 16 miles of trails along the Rio Grande River. We’ve also included some of the more accessible and pretty runs in the Sandia Mountains, where there are some 150 miles of trails to hike, run and explore. There’s also some nice running near the University of New Mexico. Albuquerque has recently hosted the NCAA Indoor DI and DII National Championships for collegiate competitions and the USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships for elites at the indoor track facility at the Convention Center.
Albuquerque has no subway, but does have an extensive bus system that takes passengers throughout the city. ABQ RIDE offers a free ride for those flying into Sunport International Airport to Downtown. The Route 66 line takes passengers up and down famous Route 66 through Downtown, up to the University of New Mexico, the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood and beyond to The Heights.