The Sandia Mountains seem to embrace Albuquerque. They remind me of the Andes Mountains in Chile for they seem to follow wherever one travels!
Here are some interesting facts about the Sandias:
*While Albuquerque sits at the center of the Rio Grande Rift area, the Sandia Mountains are located on the east edge of this zone.
*Some say when the Sandias were formed by uplift, they rose vertically more than 5 miles.
*The west side of the mountains is very rocky, while the east side has a gentle slope.
*37, 232 acres have been designated a wilderness on the western slope
*The Sandias have been deemed a sacred place by the Pueblo People of the area, who were granted most of the west side by a Spanish land grand in 1748.
(For more information see: www.cybergata.com/sandia.htm)
- Albuquerque is loaded with trails, which is good. However, these are largely bike trails and really not good for walkers as they are long and the desert sun is very unforgiving.
If you do venture upon the trails take A LOT of drinking water, a compass, sun block, sunglasses, a watch, etc. A bike will not only get you places faster but keep you cooler too as breezes in late August seem to be obsolete. Desert creatures are abundant and I was pleasently surprised at the amount of roadrunners (Albuquerques state bird) and hummingbirds. A pocket camera might be a good idea to take along on the walk as well.
-Albuquerque airport is nice, older, and seemingly uncrowded. Not a lot of shops available there, but they do a great job at displaying some of their Native & Spanish cultures in murals, paintings, and glass displays.
-Beauty & photography in the strangest of places... Some shots I took because they were a little off the wall, no real focal point in the picture. But they turned out the best, simply because of the shadows the sun plays on odd curves, like this picture I took at the botanical garden maze. It's a picture of nothing, but I thought it looked kind of interesting!
Favorite thing: The Sandia Pueblo is on the north boundary of Albuquerque. Although they are small in population, they own a large amount of land with spectacular geography. Their casino has been hugely successful for them (but maybe not for the people who lose money there). They have started to raise buffalo on their grasslands. The buffalo would not let me get very close. I hope you can see them in the picture. BTW, it is NOT "gaming;" it is GAMBLING.
- In Albuquerque itself
- Half days out of Albuquerque
- Day trips out of Albuquerque
- Overnight trips
- Long trips
Note! Original image was high resolution and very readable. I believe that it is still readable in the new VT picture format. However, the picture title sometimes covers part of the left side of the Overnight Trips Section. It should read:
Chaco Culture National Historical Park/Suenos Encantados B&B, Cuba, NM;
Carlsbad Caverns/Living Desert Museum/Sitting Bull Falls;
Abiquiu/Ghost Ranch/Echo Amphitheater/Chama/Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
Favorite thing: There are lots of trails for hiking, and unfortunately, the visitor center does not provide any hand out maps. You can take a look at their map in the center, and decide from there which trail to take. The trail we took started behind the observatory deck, winding our ways through the mountain. The trail was unmarked and narrow, be careful.
Favorite thing: The aerial tramway to Sandía Peak is a beautiful and spectacular trip. Also, you can drive up the east side of the mountain to Sandía Crest. The tram ride is most enjoyable in daylight, but I think the view from the top is best at night when you can see the lights of Albuquerque, and sometimes Santa Fe and Los Alamos, spread out below.
Take a ride up the Sandia Peak Tramway! This site is located in the Cibola National Forest and escalates up through the Sandia Mountain Wilderness! Head north out of Albuquerque to find this great spot!
***This is the third longest clear span in the world!***
Fondest memory: My daughter is attempting to look through the viewer in this photo! Ifyou can see...each tube reveals another spot to observe! There is a bar/cafe,gift shop, and skiing in the winter at the top!
I liked how pretty the sunsets were here. There were different shades of orange, yellows, purples. The clouds looked cool. Bring your camera if you go out around dusk.
Fondest memory: The air felt clean and crisp compared to LA. It was funny to hear how the locals did complain about how the pollution would settle up against the Sandias. I guess L.A. air must be really bad.
Take the tram to the top of the Sandia Mountain, or if you're adventurous, hike the La Luz trail to the top and enjoy the view of Albuquerque below.
Fondest memory: Southwestern/Mexican food!!! There is a serious lack of good Southwestern/Mexican food in Boston/Cambridge. Tex/Mex is a poor imitation and is too Americanized. I wish I had more picture of Albuquerque to show, but I just got my digital camera last Nov. and I've only been home for a few days since.
Climb to the top of a mountain or high place and sit there for at least an hour and contemplate all you see
Fondest memory: the orange light of a sunset reflected on a near by mountain
Favorite thing: Sandia Crest is 16 miles east of Albuquerque (I-40, 6 miles north on SR-14, 14 miles NW on SR536). There is an observation deck and various hiking trails.