Located primarily in the Bernalillo and Sandoval counties of New Mexico, the Sandia mountain range is north of the city of Albuquerque.
Nearly encased and surrounded by the Cibola national forest it is also home to the Sandia mountain wilderness area. The highest point in the ranges is Sandia Crest, which rises nearly to a very impressive 11,000 feet.(actual measurements, 10,675)
The word Sandia is from Spanish, and means watermelon.
It was supposed that the reason for the naming of this mountain range was the impressive color of orange and gold that is seen when one views the range at sunset, and the pinkish tinge of the mountains themselves, which, when surrounded by the treeline, high up on the mountain, gives the impression of a watermelon, when combined with their long and rounded shape.
The Pueblo Indians of the area call the mountain Bien Mur, which means very simply. Big Mountains.
The Sandia Mountains also hold the distinction of being the home of one of the longest tramways in the world, with the tram itself attaining a height of 10,300 feet at its end stop.
Moving along on cables to reach the summit of the mountain the tram was designed by a Swiss engineering team, who had previously had experience designing them for the Alps.To their credit, in the history of the tramway, there has never been any type of accident or injury from riding it.
In comparison to others in the area, the Sandia mountains are a relatively small range, traveling north and south only about 18 miles and east and west, to about 8 miles. The westerly side is extremely rugged, and contains many sheer rock walls and high towers which are difficult and much in demand to climb.
The Sandias are separated from another range close to them by one single canyon, Tijeras, through which runs interstate highway 40, which follows the route of the now famous route 66.
The Sandias are the highest range in the immediate vicinity, and are what is known as a fault range, lying as they do on the far eastern aspect of the Rio Grande Rift. Some of the range consists of Sandia Granite, which has been proven to be over a billion years old.
The incredible color of the mountain range is the presence within its depths of crystals of potassium. This is what affords it the amazing pink tinge that is visible from a distance.Find out more about the Sandia Mountains over at Wikipedia »