We checked the weather, we wanted an almost wind free day to take the tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains. Chilly, with next to no wind, sounded good to us, so off we went. Especially as strong winds were forecast to hit Albuquerque over the following days. Imagine being in a tram dangling on a wire half way up a mountain if the winds really started to blow, scary thought!
From Bernalillo it’s an easy drive, we just hopped back on I25 took exit 234 and literally followed the road. Our timing was good, as we arrived just in time to pay for our tickets and board the tram.
Arriving at the top
While chairlifts scare me to death, trams are just fine. I know, it’s totally illogical but just being inside something reassures me, although my heart still skips a beat as they cross the pylons!
Visibility was reasonably good and we could see for miles. Right across Albuquerque, over to Santa Fe and out towards Shiprock, which we thought, we could just about make out through the binoculars.
The tram climbs up 2 miles above sea level, when we reached the top we were at 10,687 ft and despite our trousers and fleeces it was absolutely, flippin’ freezing! Even though there was a little snow in places, the ski runs were closed (I am still catching up as this was at the end of April) and there was an extremely cold breeze. Sadly for us we were too early for the restaurant and the visitor centre was closed for renovation!
I walked along a short trail behind the restaurant and found the Crest Trail, which is only 1½ miles long, but it was so cold, that we didn’t consider hiking even part of it. Besides which some people returning told us it was very muddy and slippery in places.
We admired the views and then decided that as there was no escape from the freezing wind we’d head back down.
Approaching the first pylon
On the way to the next pylon
Still a long way to go
The end is in sight
Almost back on the ground
As it was still early we decided we’d drive up The Sandia Crest Scenic Byway. So we followed the road out of Albuquerque and took I40 to exit 175 to highway 14, known at the Turquoise Trail that eventually leads to Santa Fe.
Looking towards Shiprock from Sandia Crest
Albuquerque from Sandia Crest
The drive up the scenic byway was very picturesque, but once again when we arrived at the top it was absolutely freezing so, pretty as it was we didn’t stay long.
Have fun, we are!