Sandia Peak Tramway is the world's longest aerial tram ride. The 2.7-mile ride takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the top of Sandia Peak. What a lovely ride it is. It takes you 4,000 feet up to the top. Depending of the time of year, you can see miles of snow or miles of trees. Your tram operator/guide will tell you that a small plane crashed into the mountain in the 1970s, but I've been riding the tram since the '70s and have never seen any wreckage.
The Tramway was the brainchild of Robert Nordhaus, one of the founders and owners of the Sandia Peak Ski Company. On a trip to Europe in the early 1960s, he got the idea from riding similar trams over there. What a great idea, so skiers could avoid the half-hour or longer drive to the top of the mountain on icy roads.
After a long 2 years in the planning stages, the tram took 24 months to build. The first ride was on May 7, 1966. Thirty-nine years later, it’s still a major attraction for New Mexico.
There’s a wonderful restaurant at the top called High Finance, and they’re known for their prime rib and seafood dishes, not to mention the view. You still have to pay full price for the ride up, but dinner is definitely worth it, especially at sunset. Reservations should be made, just in case.
Each spring and fall, the tramway closes for 2- week period for maintenance. You can go to their website for the info. www.sandiapeak.com. Rates are $15 for adults and $9 with a ski lift ticket. Closing hours vary from summer to winter, but it opens at 9am every day. You can ride the ski lift all year-round for another nominal fee. Sandia Peak has great hiking and mountain biking as well.