Find Sites

Find your spot

Find other facilities on map

For more information on Forest
Safety click here



part ofCibola National Forest and Grasslands, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Wed Oct 14 2015   Season Dates


Capulin Picnic Area is a perfect location for birthday parties and family gatherings. It is located along the Sandia Crest section of the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. Visitors enjoy picnicking, bird watching and escaping from the sun in the shade of Capulin's evergreen forest canopy.

Natural Features:

The picnic area is located near the base of Sandia Peak Ski Area, about 23 miles from Albuquerque at an approximate elevation of 8,600 feet. The Sandias are home to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bear and many other species of wildlife and birds, including golden eagles often seen soaring overhead.


The Capulin Peak Trail leaves from the Capulin Snow Play Area parking lot and is a short 0.6-mile hike to the summit. Capulin Spring is also just a short walk down the hill on the service road, and is a popular location for bird watching.


Capulin Picnic Area was reconstructed in 2011 to include a reservable group picnic shelter with six accessible picnic tables, a food prep/serving table and two large pedestal charcoal grills.

Two new accessible vault toilets have been placed in convenient locations. Bear resistant trash cans are also provided. The picnic pad, pathways are parking area are paved.

Nearby Attractions:

Continue up the highway to the top of the Sandia Crest for a magnificent view of Albuquerque. Sandia Crest Recreation site, overlook, hiking trails and gift shop are nearby. Sandia Peak Ski Area and Tram are just southeast of the picnic area. Numerous trailheads and hiking opportunities are in the area.

Several additional picnic areas are located nearby, including Doc Long, Sulpher, Cienega, Balsam Glade, Nine Mile and Las Huertas.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Grills
  • Accessible Parking
  • Accessible Picnic Shelters
  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Accessible Walkways
  • Birding
  • Hiking
  • Paved Parking
  • Paved Pathways
  • Paved Roads
  • Paved Sites
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Shade
  • Trailhead Parking
Within 10 Miles
  • Scenic Drive
Know Before You Go
  • Day use area only; area is closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • No water available at the picnic area
  • Recreation passes must be displayed in each vehicle
  • Six passes come with each reservation and must be picked up at the Sandia Ranger District office before driving to the picnic site; if more passes are needed, they may be purchased at the site
  • Local and Inter-agency passes are honored, including annual, senior, access and volunteer passes
  • Click here to learn more about Cibola National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
35.21694, -106.41611
35°13'1"N, 106°24'58"W

From Albuquerque, drive east on I-40 for approximately 7 miles to exit 175. Proceed north on Highway 14 and continue 7 miles to Highway 536. Go west on Highway 536 for approximately 9.5 miles to Capulin Picnic Ground on the right. Proceed along the service road to the shelter parking spaces immediately adjacent to the shelter.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

11776 Hwy. 337
Tijeras  NM  87059

Phone Number:

Information:  (505)281-3304
Discover and reserve camping, lodging, permits, tours and more at America's parks, forests, monuments and other public lands with Recreation.gov. Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration