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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Sandia Peak and the World’s Longest Tram

This has been a tough month for getting anything done, including writing. My knee is gone so I’m not walking until it gets fixed, our beloved dog died, We went on a trying vacation, blah, blah, blah. So, finally I am putting my mind to work and I am back on track. Our Albuquerque bed and breakfast is officially in the “slow season”, and I am looking forward to some time off and a new knee! We will be busy for the holidays, though, so I want to give our guests some more food for travel planning. Sandia Peak is today’s topic.

Our Adobe Nido B&B guests often ask the question, “Should we take a ride up the Tram?” My answer is yes!…but with a few questions and disclaimers. The Sandia Peak Tram is a hoot and it is a fantastic view, but these questions need to be addressed before heading up, and they are pretty much ignored by the Tram brochures and website.

Do you have any respiratory issues?
The elevation in Albuquerque ( a mile high, plus or minus a little depending where you are in the city), and we will encourage people to not hit the ground and run to the top or our mountain, Sandia Peak. The elevation is about 10,600′ and this can be a challenge for folks who are used to living at sea level or below 1,000′. It is best to wait a day.

Are you afraid of heights?
If you are afraid of heights the tram isn’t your best way to get to the top of the mountain. Perhaps a drive up is in order. The view is just as good and you have the benefit of the beautiful drive on the east side of out mountains and up through the Cibola National Forest. It’s a very nice drive if the weather will allow it. If there is too much snow, the last bit of the road will be closed to those who don’t have chains for their tires, (naturally – that is everyone who doesn’t have a real reason to be up there).

The Sandia Peak Aerial Tram ride is only about a 15 in duration, one way, but it has the distinction of being the World’s Longest Aerial Tram. The views are breathtaking. I remember taking my dad up there about 20 years ago. It was an incredibly clear day, and besides seeing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe and in Taos, which is one hellava long view! The view of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley is no eye sore either. You can also see the Jemez Mountains, Mount Taylor in Grants, The Magdelena Mountains to the southwest, all beautiful sights.

At the foot of the tram is a great New Mexican Restaurant that has it’s own nice view of the city, being at the edge of the foothills. It’s called Sandiagos Mexican Grill. At the top of the tram ride is High Finance, another family owned dining establishment that has been up there for as long as I can remember. Their cuisine is American, and is good food but a little higher priced due to the fact that everything in the restaurant, including the employees, gets there via the tram. The only way unto it is by tram. You can’t drive there. But you are dining at 10,368 feet and the view is spectacular. Plan on hitting it at sunset and you will be well rewarded. The tram ride rate is significantly reduced at both restaurants if you have reservations there.

No matter which way you go, yes – it is worth it to head to Sandia Peak. But if you can’t see the mountain top from down here, don’t bother going up. It will be just like standing around in the fog, and you won’t see a thing. Also – it will ALWAYS be about 20˚ cooler up there, or colder – so always bring an appropriate jacket, sweater or coat.

One of the Sandia Peak claims to fame is the Rosy Finch, which resides there in the winter and is a “must see”  for birders to get on their life list There are bird feeders all around the gift shop/snack bar, so if the Rosy Finch is on your agenda, I guarantee you will see one up there. In fact, three sub species of the Rosy Finch – Gray-crowned, Brown-capped and Black Rosy Finches can all be seen feeding together up there on Sandia Peak.

The rates change and the hours are seasonal…so be sure to visit the Sandia Peak website to get the most up to date information about the Trtam and about Sandia Peak Skiing. Enjoy these images of the views from Sandia Peak, summer and winter.


I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

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copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net