No one told us that Albuquerque was so beautiful. Located in a flat valley, the city is surrounded by pristine, white capped mountains, and the best view is from 10,380 feet atop the Sandia Mountain Range east of town.
And the only way to get to the crest is a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. The tram is known as a “double reversible jigback arial tramway,” but more simply, it means one tram ascends while the other simultaneously descends. In 15 minutes you reach the peak elevation of 10,378 feet with up to 50 of your closest friends. The tramway has the single longest cable section and is the third longest span in the world.
But all that means is that the ride to the top is completely awe-inspiring. The tram takes you up the steepest side of the mountain past amazing cliffs and spectacular pinnacles. The guide pointed out many named outcroppings – fish rock, cannon rock and Elvis – The King of Rock. At times, the ride felt a bit like a roller coaster.
When we arrived at the top, we had planned to do some hiking. From our experience on Mt. Washington (which is the highest peak on the East coast, but still 300 feet lower than Sandia base camp), we knew it would be cold up there so I had gloves and Kimmer had on his Randy Quaid hat. We had planned to do some hiking but the wind was so brutal we decided on a beer at the only restaurant at the top – High Finance.
The view was great on the way up, the beautiful sunset was extraordinary through the mountain haze at the top, and the city lights on the ride down made the day complete.
For only $20 each, we’d do it again… this time maybe in the summer. If you are a skier, this looks like a great mountain for it.