Photography by Jeff Caven, Caven Photography

Of all the states in America, New Mexico is one of the most breathtaking. Known as the Land of Enchantment, it features popular attractions such as Carlsbad Caverns National Park and White Sands National Park, both of which keep you grounded.

But if you want a truly uplifting experience that provides a bird’s-eye view of New Mexico’s natural beauty, then you need to travel just east of the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, and take a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway.

The History

The tram opened in May 1966, but the uphill climb to build it rivals the Sandia Mountains themselves. Inspired by a European trip, Robert Nordhaus, the cofounder of the Sandia Peak Ski Company, joined forces with partner Ben Abruzzo to make the idea come to life. After many government hearings, engineering studies, and helicopter lifts (more than 5,000) to build the tram and its towers, it was completed after two years.

The Heights

Today, the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is still the longest aerial tram ride in North America. It takes around fifteen breathtaking minutes to travel the 2.7-mile incline and reach the 10,378-foot-high peak. And be prepared: at that height, the temperatures can be 15 to 30 degrees cooler than at the base. Once you get to the top, you can do some hiking or skiing, visit the tram’s gift shop, and enjoy dinner with a view at TEN 3 restaurant.

The Horizons

Of course, the true appeal of this adventure is the tram’s jaw-dropping 11,000-square-foot panoramic view of the state. You’ll be amazed by all you can see and photograph from the cabin, from endless mountains, some more than one hundred miles away, to the Rio Grande to the capital city, Santa Fe.

With this much to offer, it’s no wonder that over twelve million visitors have ridden the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway since it opened over half a century ago. It’s one adventure that literally sweeps you off your feet and takes you to heights you could never imagine.

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