A lovely hike from the tram, North to Sandia Peak (radio towers...gift shop), you can take a side trail to Kiwanis Cabin, built by the conservation corps in the 1930's...there are signs along Crest Trail, showing you the turn off to Kiwanis cabin. An easy hike, a great place to take the kids. 4 miles round trip from the tram to Kiwanis cabin, on to the gift shop to enjoy the hummingbirds on the patio..and back to the tram.
The Sandia Peak Tramway bills itself as the "world's longest" and, for all I know, it may be...from my perspective, it felt like the world's longest wait to get back down once we'd seen the sunset from atop Sandia Peak. But that's just being crabby. Actually, except for the lame jokes our tram operator insisted on telling (the same ones both going up and coming down!), I found the ride up the mountain quite interesting, even exhilarating. The ride down was made in almost total darkness; I'm sure those in the front of the car were able to see the lights of Albuquerque twinkling below, but we were all so crammed in that most people had a view of their neighbors' backs. The trip takes close to 30 minutes, during which you travel 2.7 miles and pass through several different climate zones. At the top, you can visit the Four Seasons Visitor Center, which has a lot of interesting information.
The peak is 10,378 feet high, so if you get altitude sickness, you might want to reconsider taking the tram up.
Hiking, skiing and mountain biking are all available from the summit.
The tram runs from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, except during the fall and winter seasons when the last tram is at 8:00 PM and on Tuesdays when it runs just 5:00-8:00 PM. Adult tickets are $20.00; children aged 5-12 are $12.00 and there is a senior/military/teen rate of $17.00. If you have reservations at High Finance, you are entitled to a discounted ticket.
For $20, you can take the tram to the top of Sandia. The tram operators are funny and will tell you a little history of the tram, the area and wildlife. At the top there's a restaurant and lots of nice hikes. Beware of bears. You can even hike to the top; they said it would take about 6 hours. The tram takes about 15 minutes to take you up about 4,000 feet.
It's the world’s longest passenger aerial tramway. The views from the top are spectacular and you can see past the edges of Albuquerque. At the top, the environment does not look at all like the desert below. There's lots of plants and trees and wild life. Be careful about leaving trash and food around in consideration of the animals and plants.
Sandia Crest stands above Albuqueque to the east. It is host to a ski resort, radio and TV broadcasting, and a overlook from the Sandia Tram. Sandia is Spanish for 'watermelon'. It is said that it gets it's name from the green tree covered skin covering the red barren rock slopes. This is also a story that the local pueblos raised squash in gardens along the bottom slopes, where rain water would gather. The Spanish have no name for squash called it watermelon! I'd go with the first idea, not the second.
The Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest in the WORLD! And, it feels like it! It's an amazing experience. Getting up to the peak isn't difficult but coming back down (for some reason) takes a while. Maybe it was the time of day that we went (close to 5pm). There is a restaurant at the peak if you think you might like to get something to eat. I was feeling a little "ill" as we were going up. I think the ascent was quick and the altitude made my stomach feel queasy. I didn't get sick. I felt fine once I was at the top. A definite must do in Albuquerque!
See my Albuquerque Travelogue for views from the peak!
The Sandia Peak Tramway, scales the Sandia Mountains as it takes visitors nearly three miles to the top on a long line of cables, making it the longest tramway in the world.
This ride zips to the top in fifteen minutes. Although the tram is convenient for accessing the ski areas in winter, it runs all year round.
We didn't have time to take this thrilling trip on the tram, but we certainly drove past it enough times on our way to the balloon fiesta, watching it climb to the heights.
Sandiago's, a Mexican restaurant, offers a scenic dining experience from the top of the peak. We've heard several friends say that the vista spread out before them was fantastic. For hours of operation and rates see website below.
Sandia Mountain, also known as Sandia Peak was created by a fault with raised up with the floor dropping. The Rio Grande River flows along the valley. If you view the picture below you can see the layers of rock.
There is a trail which goes from the bottom all the way to the top.
There is also a trail which goes along the top.
There is a tram that is used year round to the top. There is a ski area on the back side of Sandia Mountain. (East)
You can drive to the top on the east side of the mountain. There is a restaurant near the tram exit and the view is quite spectacular.
The Sandia Mountains lie to the east of Albuquerque. The tallest peak is 10,678 feet above sea level, which is about a mile above Albuquerque itself. Some homes are located in the foothills. You may take the Tramway up the west side or walk the difficult La Luz trail. You may drive up the east side (access from State Highway 14) to the Crest. For a really good website on Sandia hiking trails, try Mike Coltrin's geocaching and Sandia hiking site.
The world's longest tramway(cablecar) rises from the desert just outside of Albuquerque to the Sandia Peak at the height of 10, 378ft. The vertical ascent is about 4000 feet and one stretch of the trip is 1.7 miles between towers!.....the longest cable stretch in the world. A rider asked the attendant how high up we were and he responded that " We are 1000 feet up and 7 seconds to down!"
One of the first things you should do, unless you're scared of heights, is go up to Sandia Crest. You can ride the tram or drive. If you take the tram, beware, it's pricey, but it's a pretty cool ride, and you can look down into Pan Am Canyon and see the remains of the crashed plane that gave the canyon its name. But the drive is nice too and only costs the price of gas (which, okay, is also pretty bad), and $3 per car for parking.
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