Two Bizarre Experiences on the Sandia Peak Tram

view of Albuquerque from the Sandia Peak Tram

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One of the most popular things for tourists to do in Albuquerque is to take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tram. Floating up the side of a mountain in a gravity-defying tramcar to a height of over 10,000 feet is thrilling and rewarding. Throw in a beautiful fine-dining experience, hiking, and skiing, and the Peak Tram really sells itself.

For starters, the views are amazing.

view from the Sandia Peak tram of the granite mountains covered in green and yellow trees
See, told you.
the wires from the Sandia Peak tram descend down the mountainside, with a hazy sky in the background and an incredible aerial view of Albuquerque from the tram
Incredible views!

The restaurant at the top, Ten3, is tasty and it’s nice to have a warm place to sit and enjoy the views without gale force winds attempting to send you flying off the top of the mountain. 

the author's mom and dad smile while seated at a table at the Ten 3 restaurant, with an incredible view of Albuquerque behind them out the beautiful floor to ceiling windows in the restaurant
My parents enjoying the endless views from the dining room
the author and her parents sit at a table at Ten3 restaurant, with the view from the mountaintop behind them
Waiting for our food and drinks
a delicious piece of cheesecake topped with pecans sits atop a plate drizzled with a caramel and chocolate sauce spiderweb design. Three spoons rest on the plate
I think this was pinon cheesecake? Very good.

Ok, yes the food is good, the views are beautiful, but here it is. I think you should ride the Sandia Peak Tram because some crazy shit can happen to you and who doesn’t love a good story. Please enjoy two bizarre experiences on the Sandia Peak Tram

Passing Out on the Tram

The very first time I rode the tram, as we swung gracefully through the air one thousand feet above sheer granite rocks, a small, elderly-ish woman decided that now was the opportune time to briefly go unconscious, just to spice things up. One minute her sweet little hands were gripping the handrail as she took in the sweeping panoramic views, and the next she had keeled over, stiff as a board, like a cartoon, her hands frozen in front of her like she had just been turned to stone.

Fortunately, she landed in the outstretched arms of someone nearby, who was able to lower her gently to the floor, while her presumed husband shouted “Peggy! Peggy!” in a very dramatic fashion.  The rest of us stood around bug-eyed while the prepubescent tram employee calmly retrieved an oxygen tank from some secret compartment somewhere, and hooked the newly-conscious Peggy up to it before restarting our ascent to the top.

Anyways, this story ends in a very anticlimactic way, fortunately for Peggy. We reached the mountaintop, Peggy was able to walk off the tram, and we all went our separate ways. And now every time I take the tram, I feel slightly disappointed (even though I know it’s wrong) when we make it to the top and no one has hit the deck from vertigo.

a close-up view of the inside of the tram as riders hold onto the poles and are packed shoulder to shoulder inside the tram
RIding the tram to the top of the mountain when mask mandates were a thing

Getting Stuck on the Sandia Peak Tram

Maybe you aren’t lucky enough to have your own exciting story on the way to the top of the mountains, but there is always the potential for something exciting to happen on the way down. On Dec 31, 2021, twenty-one tram and restaurant employees were making their way down after work on the last ride of the year when the tram got stuck due to severe ice and winds from a winter storm.

I guess twenty of them were stuck all together in one car close to one of the towers, and another person was all by themself in the other car, dangling way above ground and swaying in the wind. Although rescue efforts were delayed several times over the course of the night and next day, everyone eventually made it safely out of the tram by 4pm. Even though it was a year ago and I have had some time to think about it, I still don’t know what would be worse 1)being stuck all alone but at least having privacy if you have to pee in a bucket, or 2) having company but potentially having to pee into a bucket in a crowded tramcar full of people with whom you work. I guess I have my answer; I pick neither of these options.

Book your trip!

So, have I sold you on the experience yet? Food, views and a potential side of terror. You can go here to book tickets and get general information, or you can go here to read more about the tram that got stuck last year. I would also like to add that I do, in fact, recommend the tram, and have done it safely 3-4 times.

Like this post? Read more:

Best Breakfast Spots in Albuquerque for more Albuquerque food ideas

Indoor Rock Climbing in Albuquerque for more adventure in ABQ

Take a ride on The Banff Gondola if you need more gravity-defying adventures

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