Any Midwestern transplant can tell you that hiking in New Mexico is worlds away from strolling through a suburban forest preserve. Hiking here is rugged, mountainous, and studded with surprises. For instance, an intense descent down a series of switchbacks can drop you in a tranquil field of wildflowers. And you might encounter a mountain lion. To stay safe, it’s important to always bring enough bottled water, sunscreen, and a guide book — the last of which can prevent you from getting lost and help you choose a hike suited to your fitness and experience levels. The revised and expanded edition of Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide, by Mike Coltrin, and the third edition of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque, by David Ryan and Stephen Ausherman, present a microcosm and macrocosm of hiking in the Albuquerque area.
Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide offers detailed information about trails in the Sandias, in the Albuquerque metro area, whereas 60 Hikes within 60 Miles branches into other mountain ranges, including Santa Fe National Forest. Both are written in a conversational voice that presents hiking as an activity for everyone, while also acknowledging that it is important to know what you are getting yourself into once you leave the safety of the parking lot. The authors emphasize the difficulty rating of the trails and point out what makes them challenging. The guides also provide information about local flora and fauna and general advice and counsel. — J.L.
Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide, revised and expanded edition, by Mike Coltrin, University of New Mexico Press, 237 pages, $24.95; unmpress.com/books
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque, 3rd edition, by David Ryan and Stephen Ausherman, Menasha Ridge Press, 327 pages, $14.95; menasharidge.com