The most visible and dramatic defining geographical feature of Albuquerque, the Sandia mountain range
is actually part of the Sandia-Manzano Mountains, and this singularly huge, jagged ridge rises to 10,678 feet above sea level (and about a mile above Albuquerque, which has an elevation of 5,200 feet). The range, pictured here following a night of snow, is named for the watermelon hue cast over the mountains at sunset (sandia is the Spanish word for watermelon). This photo is taken from Forest Road 333
, just off Tramway Rd., which leads to the Juan Tabo Basin Picnic Area
. The most interesting way to explore the Sandia is to ride to the top on the Sandia Peak Tramway
- the base of the tram is near this spot. Those are radio, TV, and other antennae atop the mountain, if you're wondering.