Albuquerque should have the nickname “The Mile High City”, not Denver. Instead we are called The Duke City, and people are as confused about that as they are about the Big Apple. Things that make you go “huh?” So soon I digress. Now, back to the elevation of Albuquerque.
The elevation in the north valley at our Albuquerque bed and breakfast is 4,969′ above sea level, with the north valley being the lowest part of Albuquerque. In the foothills of our Sandia Mountains the elevations hover around 6,000′. At the top of our mountain, at the Sandia Peak Gift Shop, the elevation is 10,678′. I am pretty sure that the radio towers sit 100 or so feet higher, but I can’t get anyone to verify that.
What goes along with being a mile high city in the arid southwestern United States? Plenty that you should be aware of. First of all, the air is much thinner and people who live at sea level can often feel light headed until they have a chance to acclimate, which takes 24 to 48 hours. This is altitude sickness and it means you should NOT plan a trip up the Sandia Tram, or head right up to the Sandia Peak Ski Area right after landing if you travel here by plane. Even people in perfect health can be affected, so don’t chance ruining a good time by heading right for the hills.
The thin, dry air in NM is also a prescription for dehydration, so be sure to drink lots of water. Many of us don’t ever leave the house without a bottle of water. The elevation and lack of atmosphere is also a recipe for sunburn year round. Bring your sunscreen.
We are considered to be the high desert, and with that comes big temperature swings every day. It is not unusual for the high and low in a 24 hour period to stretch 30 to 40 degrees at any time of the year. This is especially nice in the summer, when we always experience a cool off after dark. I can’t tell you how many people think the weather in Albuquerque will be like in Phoenix. They are low desert and have humidity. We are high desert and don’t.
Be sure to check the weather forecast before you come to Albuquerque, as we have had guests show up here totally unprepared for our climate. It can get very cold here in the winter, but we can also have a week in the mild 50’s (F), so the best thing to do is plan to dress in layers. In the summer we sometimes have a few days over 100ºF, but is not the norm, and remember, the temperature will drop in the evening. All in all, I find the climate here to be nearly perfect, with a definite change of seasons, but nothing too extreme. I could do with a tiny bit more humidity too. Bring your moisturizer! You’ll need to lotion up.
Keeping all the safety recommendations mentioned here in mind, you will have an excellent time in Albuquerque. Have you planned your trip yet?
Next – I will tell you why we are called The Duke City!
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!