Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of the world
One of my favorite things to do in Albuquerque is to ride the Sandia Peak Tramway. Visitors and locals alike enjoy breathtaking views of the Sandia Mountains as the tram makes its 15 minute ascent to 10,378 feet.
Along the way passengers will be treated to exclusive arial views of deep canyons and massive rock walls that can only be seen from the Tram.
About the Sandia Peak Tramway
The Sandia Peak Tramway is an arial tramway, which is an enclosed car that rides on a cable. It stretches from the northeast edge of Albuquerque to Sandia Peak on the ridge line of the Sandia Mountains and boasts the world’s third longest single span.
The entire length of the tram is supported by only two towers. The materials needed for the construction of the towers had to be transported to the worksite by helicopter. It took over 5,000 helicopter trips to build both of the towers that support the cables for the Sandia Peak Tramway.
While the Tram has an excellent safety record, it may still be a harrowing experience for those with a fear of heights. I am afraid of heights but found that, as long I kept taking pictures, it was easy to stay calm. If heights really bother you, Sandia Peak can also be reached by driving to Sandia Crest and making the 1.5 mile hike to Sandia Peak.
Tickets for the Sandia Peak Tramway
To ride the Sandia Peak Tramway, it is necessary to purchase tickets online in advance. I also recommend checking the weather forecast prior to purchasing tickets. The tram’s availability is subject to weather conditions. If the weather is bad (wind, rain, snow, ice), pick a different day!
Most people will want to purchase a round trip ticket but for the extra adventurous soul, a one way ticket is also available. Now, you may ask yourself why in the world someone would buy a one way ticket? Are they planning to take a flying leap off the top? No, the reason why someone would purchase a one way ticket is because hikers will traverse the LaLuz trail to Sandia Peak and then ride the Tram down.
Visiting Sandia Peak
Once the Sandia Peak Tramway reaches the top of the mountain, passengers exit the car and find themselves looking out over Albuquerque from an elevation of 10,378 feet. A look to the east reveals spectacular views of a vast wilderness.
The tiny stone structure at the top right of the photo below is the Kiwanis Cabin.
Visitors to Sandia Peak will find numerous hiking trails but come prepared. Whatever the temperature is in Albuquerque, plan on it being at least 20 degrees cooler at Sandia Peak.
Ten 3 Restaurant is up here but it is not open on Tuesday and Wednesday and it is also not the kind of place you just pop in to use the bathroom and buy a granola bar. There is no gift shop or other amenities at the Peak so bring appropriate clothing, hiking gear, snacks and water. The closest gift shop and public restrooms are 1.5 miles away at Sandia Crest.
Sandia Ski Area
Sandia Peak is located at the top of the Sandia Ski Area. Another way to get there would be to drive to the Ski Lodge and then ride the ski lift up to the peak. The only problem with that plan is that the lift does not run in all seasons and this year it’s not running at all.
Ten 3 Restaurant at Sandia Peak
An elevated dining experience
Accessible only by riding the Sandia Peak Tramway, Ten 3 offers a unique dining experience with a one of a kind view. The name Ten 3 is a nod to the elevation of 10,378 feet.
Ten 3 is open Thursday through Monday and offers both casual and fine dining experiences. For more information about hours, menus and reservations please plan ahead by visiting their website.
If you happen to be there for lunch, I highly recommend the Green Chile Mac N Cheese.
As one of the more noteworthy places to eat in Albuquerque, Ten 3 is situated along the ridge at the top of the Sandia Mountains and offers incredible views in all directions.
Last call for the Sandia Peak Tramway
Please be advised that the tram does not run all night long. The last ride down Thursday – Monday is 10pm and on Wednesday it’s at 9:00pm. At this altitude, the temperature plunges once the sun goes down. Don’t get yourself stranded up here!