Day Trip to Sandia Peak

What do you do when you get bored?

Most people pick up the computer, plug themselves in to some form of social media or another, and unplug many hours later with a faint and foggy feeling like something important must have happened in those hours.

I have been guilty of spending my time in such a way. The endless scrolling, in search of some semblance of meaning, or better, hope, that all this searching will finally land you on the exact post that will make all the time searching seem worth it.

But let’s face it: it’s usually never worth it.

Tired of checking out, tired of feeling like I was trying to escape from feeling anything, and suddenly realizing that I live in an amazing state that is full of natural beauty,  I set out in the hopes of an adventure.

And adventure I found.

Sandia Cave, from the road.

I did a little research (on the computer of course – it can be used for good) and found a mountain road that would lead me to a tramway called Sandia Tram Peak. As I was driving up this paved mountain road I kept seeing signs telling me that somewhere up ahead, the road stopped being so paved, and became a slippery mess that wasn’t maintained.

Did I stop? Would you?

The signs were correct. About 3 miles up the road it turned into a snow covered, narrow passage. Yet, the road did have tire tracks, signifying that someone had been up or down it sometime within the last 1 to 2 days. My car has all-wheel drive – it’s no truck or anything – but I figured, I was here, I’d give it a shot.


I was so glad I did. I got about 8 miles up this slippery road – past low hanging branches buckling under the pressure of fresh snow, over narrow, one lane bridges – and finally my tires started spinning in place. I was stuck.

I pulled off to the side of the road as best as I could, and decided to get out to take a look around. Up ahead on the left was what must have been a parking lot in the warmer months, but was now just an open area of snow. After some initial investigation, I saw a sign with big golden letters reading, “Sandia Cave,” and underneath, “1/2 mile.”


What an interesting place to get stuck in the snow. 1/2 mile did not seem that bad, so I trudged through the snow along a path that already had footprints. I eventually came to a set of spiral stairs in the cliff face and had no other direction but to climb up.


Alone and without a flashlight nor headlamp, I didn’t spend much time in the creepy cave. I used my camera as best as I could to light up the inside, but it eventually got too deep and dark to stomach. I get the eeby-jeebies very easily these days, and it didn’t take much to have me back down the stairs and on the path back to the car.


By the time I was back to the car and back onto the paved road, it was only 10:00 a.m. and I still had the adventure spirit. I hadn’t made it to the Tram yet, so I thought I’d try another route on more paved roads.

Eventually I made it to the parking lot at the Albuquerque side of the mountain, where the tram is located. I payed the parking attendant the dollar it cost to park in all pennies, nickels and dimes from the car change drawer. It was that or use the credit card, and that seemed like it would have pained me more than the handful of change.


The Tram is a $20, 15 minute ride up the mountain. We started up (there were about 10 of us, some with skis and snowboards ready to ride the backside of the mountain) and were instantly engulfed in a snowy fog that left zero visibility. It was very unnerving, knowing you were moving through space but not being able to reference yourself to any outside objects.

Halfway up the mountain, a massive image peeked through the fog of a snowy mountainside. The immensity of the structure and the suddenness of its appearance left us all with an eerie feeling of beauty.


Once we reached the top the fog had cleared a bit, and I was able to marvel at the snow covered trees. There really wasn’t much to do up top. They had a bar and restaurant up there to take all your money, but I wasn’t interested – although the warmth of the place was calling to me for sure.

The trees were what called to me the most; frozen in time, motionless; like sugar-coated popsicles.


All in all the day trip to Sandia Peak was a success. On the return trip down the mountain the fog had cleared almost entirely and we were awarded a beautiful aerial view of Albuquerque and the ridge extending north, towards Santa Fe – my direction home.


I was glad to get a fresh perspective of New Mexico, and especially glad to see the beautiful snowy scenery. I spent the good amount of 6 hours on this little adventure, and brought home a lot more than if I had spent this time plugged in to some electronic device. Go love nature.

One thought on “Day Trip to Sandia Peak

  • January 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Tom, I think you are waking from your “coma.” Keep your eyes and heart open. Beauty surrounds us . Let it nourish your soul!


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