9 Reasons to Visit Sandia Peak Tramway This 2024 Year

The Sandia Peak Tramway is an incredible destination that offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of New Mexico from a unique perspective. Located just outside Albuquerque, the tramway provides breathtaking views and access to a variety of outdoor activities.

As one of the longest aerial tramways in the world, it takes passengers on a scenic journey to the top of Sandia Peak. Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist, there are plenty of reasons to include a visit to Sandia Peak Tramway in your plans this year.

From stunning vistas to exciting recreational opportunities, the tramway has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore why the Sandia Peak Tramway should be on your must-visit list.

Spectacular Views

One of the main attractions of the Sandia Peak Tramway is the stunning panoramic views it offers. As you ascend to the top, you’ll be treated to breathtaking sights of the Rio Grande Valley, the city of Albuquerque, and the surrounding desert landscape. The tramway rises over 10,000 feet, providing a bird’s-eye view that is both thrilling and serene.

 The changing colors of the landscape, especially during sunrise and sunset, create a mesmerizing experience. On a clear day, you can see over 11,000 square miles of New Mexico’s diverse terrain. The views alone make the tramway a worthwhile visit, but there’s much more to explore once you reach the top. 

Dining with a View

After a day of exploring, visitors can enjoy a meal with a view at the High Finance Restaurant, located at the top of Sandia Peak. The restaurant offers a variety of dining options, from casual snacks to gourmet meals, all while providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Dining at such an elevation is a unique experience, allowing you to relax and take in the beauty of New Mexico from a different perspective. The combination of delicious food and breathtaking scenery makes for a memorable dining experience.

High Finance Restaurant

High Finance Restaurant, located atop Sandia Peak, offers an unparalleled dining experience. Accessible via a scenic 2.7-mile tram ride, the restaurant sits at an elevation of 10,378 feet, providing breathtaking views of over 11,000 square miles.

The restaurant, established in 1979 by Doug Smith and Russ Zeigler, boasts a rich history. Both owners have extensive experience in the restaurant industry, having started their careers in 1971 and later founding other successful ventures before opening High Finance.

High Finance Restaurant

Reservations and Service

Reservations are highly recommended, especially for sunset views, as these slots are popular. It is also advisable to get tram passes in advance and arrive an hour early. The service generally receives positive feedback, although some reviews mention lapses in drink refills.

Menu Highlights

  • Green Chile Margaritas: Noted for their unique flavor, recommended for those who enjoy a bit of spice.
  • Bison Steak and Filet Mignon: Praised for being cooked to perfection, with sides like mushroom butter and broccolini enhancing the meal.
  • Truffle Fries: Frequently mentioned as a highlight.
  • Caprese and Oyster Mushrooms: Appreciated for their freshness and taste.
  • Desserts: The Smoked Chocolate Cake is particularly noted for its rich, moist flavor.

Customer Feedback

  • Positive:
    • High marks for food quality, atmosphere, and the unique experience of dining at such an elevation.
    • Excellent service from staff, with special mentions of attentive and knowledgeable waiters.
    • The ambiance is described as fresh and relaxing, suitable for both special occasions and casual visits.
  • Constructive Criticism:
    • Some issues with service, particularly in drink refills and waiter availability.
    • Food is generally well-received, though a few reviews note that while good, it may not always be exceptional for the price point.

Hiking Opportunities

Hiking Opportunities when visiting Sandia Peak Tramway

Sandia Peak is a hiker’s paradise, offering a range of trails for all skill levels. The Sandia Mountain Wilderness, accessible from the top of the tramway, features well-maintained paths that lead through diverse environments, from dense forests to open meadows.

Popular trails include the La Luz Trail, known for its challenging terrain and stunning views, and the Crest Trail, which offers a more leisurely hike along the ridge. Hiking in this area allows you to experience the rich biodiversity and enjoy the fresh mountain air. The Friends of the Sandia Mountains organization provides valuable resources and information for hikers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable adventure.

3. La Luz Trail

The La Luz Trail is a renowned 24.5 km (15.2 mile) out-and-back hike in the Sandia Mountains near Placitas, New Mexico. Considered one of the most challenging trails in the area, it features an impressive 3,200 ft (975 m) elevation gain as it ascends from the hot, desert landscape to the cool, forested slopes near Sandia Crest.

The strenuous 8-hour hike is not recommended for inexperienced adventurers. However, those up for the challenge are rewarded with stunning mountain views along the way. The trail is popular for hiking, running, and mountain biking, so you’ll likely encounter other outdoor enthusiasts. The best times to attempt the La Luz are from April to November.

Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Proper preparation, including sturdy footwear, ample food/water, and a map, is essential as cell service is not guaranteed. Whether you hike the full route or just a portion, the La Luz Trail offers an unforgettable wilderness experience in the beautiful Sandia Mountains. Just be sure to stay on the trail and only attempt what you can safely handle.

2. The South Piedra Lisa Trail

The South Piedra Lisa Trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico, receives high praise from hikers, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 based on 3024 reviews. Here is a summary of their experiences:

Positive Highlights:

  • Scenic Beauty: Hikers frequently mention the stunning views, particularly at the top of the trail. The trail weaves through lush forests and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Well-Maintained: Many reviewers appreciate the well-defined and maintained trail, although they note some gravelly and slick spots that require careful footing.
  • Shady Sections: Early morning hikers enjoy the shade provided by the trees, making the hike more comfortable.
  • Wildlife and Flora: Hikers encounter various birds and enjoy the wildflowers, particularly in the spring.


  • Steep Incline: The trail has a steep ascent that some find challenging, especially near the top. Hiking poles are recommended for these sections.
  • Loose Gravel: Several hikers caution about the loose and slick gravel, which can be tricky, particularly on the descent.
  • Parking Issues: The parking lot fills up quickly, so early arrival is advised to secure a spot.

Practical Tips:

  • Early Start: To avoid the heat and crowds, it’s best to start early in the day.
  • Footwear: Good treads and hiking boots are recommended due to the steep and gravelly terrain.
  • Hydration: Bringing plenty of water is essential, especially in warmer months.
  • Hiking Poles: Many reviewers suggest using hiking poles for better stability on the steep sections.

General Impressions:

  • Moderate Difficulty: Most agree that the trail is moderately challenging, suitable for those with some hiking experience.
  • Popular Trail: It’s a well-trafficked trail, so hikers should expect to encounter others along the way.

Overall, the South Piedra Lisa Trail is praised for its breathtaking views, well-maintained path, and the rewarding experience despite its moderate difficulty and some challenging terrain.

1. The Rincon Spur Peak trail

Hikers who have tackled the Rincon Spur Peak trail near Albuquerque, New Mexico, share a range of experiences highlighting the trail’s scenic beauty and moderate challenges. Here are some key insights from their reviews:

  1. Scenic Beauty and Views: Many hikers praise the trail for its spectacular views. Once you reach the top, the panoramic vistas of the surrounding area are a significant reward. This aspect is consistently noted as a highlight.
  2. Trail Conditions: The trail is generally in good condition, but the latter parts can be more challenging. Some hikers mention that the trail can be difficult to follow towards the end, especially when covered in snow. The last quarter mile requires steep climbing and some bouldering, which can be tricky.
  3. Seasonal Challenges: The trail can present different challenges depending on the season. In winter and early spring, snow and icy conditions make the hike more difficult. Hikers recommend having good traction on shoes and being prepared for snowy conditions. In warmer months, loose sand and gravel can make the descent slippery.
  4. Wildlife and Flora: The trail offers opportunities for bird watching and enjoying wildflowers. Hikers frequently mention the rich wildlife and the pleasant forest scenery.
  5. Crowd Levels: This trail is popular, so hikers can expect to encounter others, especially during peak times. However, some reviews note that the trail can be less crowded in certain sections.
  6. Accessibility and Parking: Parking is generally sufficient, but it can fill up quickly on weekends. It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot.
  7. Difficulty Level: While generally considered a moderate hike, the trail’s difficulty can vary. The first part of the trail is easier, making it accessible to a wide range of hikers. However, the final sections, particularly in winter, require more effort and experience.
  8. Overall Experience: Despite the challenges, hikers often recommend the trail for its rewarding views and the overall hiking experience. Preparedness is key, particularly in dealing with snow and navigating the less clear parts of the trail.

Overall, Rincon Spur Peak offers a blend of beautiful scenery, moderate challenges, and the opportunity for wildlife encounters, making it a worthwhile hike for those prepared for its conditions.

Accessibility and Convenience

The Sandia Peak Tramway is easily accessible from Albuquerque, making it a convenient destination for both locals and tourists. The base of the tramway is just a short drive from the city, with ample parking available. The tramway itself is designed to accommodate visitors of all ages and abilities, including those with mobility challenges. The tram cars are spacious and equipped with large windows, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the spectacular views.

The cost to visit Sandia Peak Tramway depends on your age and whether you want a round-trip or one-way ticket. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

Ticket Type: Price:
Round-trip Adult (21-61 years old): $34
Round-trip Child (2-12 years old): $24
Round-trip Young Adult (13-20 years old): $29
Round-trip Senior (62 years and over): $29
Round-trip Military (with valid ID): $29
One-way Adult (21-61 years old): $23
One-way Child (2-12 years old): $23
One-way Young Adult (13-20 years old): $23
One-way Senior (62 years and over): $23
One-way Military (with valid ID): $23

There is also a $3.50 grounds fee that is added to each ticket purchase. In addition to the tram ticket price, there is also a $3.50 grounds fee that is added to each ticket purchase. For more information check the official Sandia Peak Tramway website.

Year-Round Activities

The Sandia Peak Tramway is not just for summer. It offers fun activities all year long. In the winter, it’s perfect for snow sports fans. At the top, you can find the Sandia Peak Ski Area, where you can go skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. There are also nearby fishing spots where you can relax and where you can cast your fishing rod. The tramway makes it easy to get to the slopes, so you don’t have to drive far.

The tramway ride itself is amazing. It’s 2.7 miles long and takes about 15 minutes to go from the bottom to the top. During the ride, you go up over 4,000 feet, and you can see the landscape change from desert to mountains. In the warmer months, you can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.

There are many trails for all levels of mountain bikers. Bird watchers can see different kinds of birds, including the golden eagle. There are picnic spots along the trails where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The tramway also gives you a chance to see stunning views of New Mexico from high up.

The ride offers breathtaking sights of the Rio Grande Valley and the horizon. This scenic ride is a favorite for photographers and nature lovers who want to capture the beauty of the area. The variety of activities available all year round makes the tramway a great place for outdoor fun.

Educational Experiences

Educational Experiences Sandia Peak Tramway

The Sandia Peak Tramway is just the coolest. The views from the top are unreal – you can see for miles! But it’s not just about the scenery. There’s so much to do and learn at the tramway too. The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center right by the base has awesome exhibits and programs to teach you about the local plants, animals, and geology.

The staff there really know their stuff and can tell you all kinds of interesting facts. You can even go on guided tours if you are interested in more about it.

Whether you’re looking to have some fun outdoors or get an education, the tramway has it all. It’s the perfect place to spend a day exploring and taking in the beauty of the Sandia Mountains. I highly recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance – it’s an experience you won’t forget!


The Sandia Peak Tramway is an amazing place to visit in New Mexico. The views from the top are breathtaking and there are lots of fun things to do. Whether you want to go hiking, learn about nature, or just enjoy the scenery, the tramway has something for everyone.

The tramway takes you up the Sandia Mountains, giving you incredible panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. There are hiking trails at the top where you can explore the beautiful mountain environment. You can also visit the education center to learn about the local plants and animals. The tramway is open year-round, so you can enjoy it in any season.

In the winter, you can even play in the snow at the top. It’s really convenient to get to as well, making it a great option for a day trip or part of a longer New Mexico adventure. To sum up, the Sandia Peak Tramway is an awesome place to visit. I definitely recommend checking it out if you have the chance!