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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Sandia Peak Tramway and Mountains - Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Sandia Peak Tramway is an aerial tramway located adjacent to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It stretches from the northeast edge of the city to Sandia Peak on the ridge line of the Sandia Mountains and has the world's third longest single span. It is the longest aerial tram in the Americas, and was the longest in the world from 1966 until being surpassed in 2010.

The tramway ascends the steep western side of the highest portion of the Sandia Mountains, from a base elevation of 6,559 feet to a top elevation of 10,378 feet. A trip up the mountain takes 15 minutes to ascend 3,819 ft, and the normal operating speed of the tram is 20 feet per second (13.6 mph). Approximately four "flights" leave every hour from the base and top terminal. The viewshed from the tram includes all of Albuquerque and roughly 11,000 square miles of the New Mexico countryside.

The tramway has only two support towers. The first tower, which is 232 feet tall, is situated at an elevation of 7,010 feet above sea level and built as an inclined tower with an inclination angle of 18 degrees. The second, just 80 feet tall, is situated at the end of a major spur of the mountains at an elevation of 8,750 ft and was built by the aid of over 2,000 helicopter trips, with support rods driven up to 40 feet into the granite.

The Sandia Mountains are a mountain range located in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, immediately to the east of the city of Albuquerque in New Mexico in the southwestern United States. The mountains are just due south of the southern terminus of the Rocky Mountains, and are part of the Sandia–Manzano Mountains. This is largely within the Cibola National Forest and protected as the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. The highest point is Sandia Crest, 10,678 feet.

Our experience is riding the tram is a must-do thing if you are in the region of New Mexico. This is a destination we would recommend you go out of the way to see. The hiking trails are absolutely spectacular but two trails are rigorous and not for those out of shape: the La Luz Trail and Domingo Baca Trail. Both take you from the foothills of Albuquerque to the top of the mountain. These trails require you to have water and plenty of respect for the mountain. Expect a minimum of 6 hours of hiking for each trail.

Wildlife to expect include 60 species of birds, plus bear, cougar, fox, coyote, raccoon, ringtail, bobcat, deer, skunk and the ubiquitous squirrels, chip- munk and rabbits

Things to do and see:

As their website suggests, you can take the tram to the top of the Sandia Crest and back, you can eat at the restaurant at the top, you can hike the numerous trails in the Cibola National Forrest, and finally there is skiing.

Contact information:

30 Tramway Road

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87122

505-856-7325 or 505-856-1532

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