Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque

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Swiss engineering, above Albuquerque
The Sandía Mountains rise to over 10,000 feet behind Albuquerque. From the top, the view over New Mexico is unparalleled: on a clear day, your eyes can take in eleven thousand square miles--almost one-tenth of the state! The quickest way up is the fifteen-minute 'flight' on the Sandia Peak Tramway, ascending from high desert to alpine evergreen forest. Swiss-designed, this aerial tramway has one of the longest spans in the world.

Hiking, winter skiing and mountain biking are all available at the top, as well as a restaurant--a steakhouse two miles above sea level. (Prices are what you'd imagine at this altitude.)

In case you're wondering why this mountain range is called "Sandía," which means 'watermelon' in Spanish--at sunset, the mineral content of the granite crags glows pinkish-red; along with the green of the conifers, the profile is reminiscent of a cut watermelon...
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