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You’re sure to find that the beauty of the New Mexican landscape is rivaled by no other. The city of Albuquerque lies a mile above sea level and has a high-desert climate that allows you to experience the contrast between desert and forest—all under our vast blue skies.

Exploring Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains makes for a one-of-a-kind mountain vacation. You can hike in the foothills among prickly pear, cholla cactus and fragrant desert sage, or trek to the top of the mountains, where pine and fir trees line the ridges and valleys.

Sandia means "watermelon" in Spanish, and when you see the setting sun splash pink light over the rocky 10,600-foot peaks of the Sandia Mountains, you'll know exactly how they earned the name. To get a closer view of these spectacular mountains, ride the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway—the longest tramway in North America—to the crest, where you can look out over 11,000 square miles of magical New Mexican landscape. To the west, the majestic Rio Grande meanders through a cottonwood-lined valley, and dormant volcanoes are silhouetted against the brilliant sunset. As darkness blankets the city, thousands of lights below twinkle like diamonds, matching the stars scattered across the enormous sky.

To the west of Albuquerque, at Petroglyph National Monument, you can walk among ancient lava flows and see where Albuquerque's early residents carved drawings onto the rocks.

On New Mexico's hiking trails, you will find breathtaking views and fascinating geological formations. You may also discover fossils, petroglyphs, petrified wood or ancient ruins. With abundant New Mexico wildlife in the area, chances are that you'll see roadrunners, deer, hawks or other desert critters.

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