Photo Credit: sandiapeak.com
If you find yourself visiting Albuquerque during the winter, or are planning a trip there specifically to escape the plummeting temperatures where you live, it’s important to note that even though Albuquerque is in the southwestern corner of the U.S., there are still plenty of fun winter activities to enjoy during your stay. Sandia Peak, for instance, provides the perfect setting for skiing or snowboarding. But beyond that, let’s check out some of the things you can do during your trip.
Snowshoeing is a sport that doesn’t require lessons, a lot of expensive equipment, or much practice at all. It’s basically the same as walking, just with larger shoes, and can provide you and your family with a unique way to traverse and explore the wilderness.
The Sandia Mountains have several trails specifically for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, including short ones such as the Kiwanis Cabin trail, which is half a mile long, and the Capulin Snow trail, which is 0.9 miles long. There are also longer trails, including the 10k Snow Trail, which is only 4.9 miles (not the 6.2 that 10k would have you think) and the Crest Snow Trail, which is 26.5 miles long.
Believe it or not, sleigh rides in Albuquerque aren’t limited to just around Christmas. Sleigh rides are available at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, where the sleighs are pulled by draft horses. When there isn’t snow on the ground, these tours are offered in a horse-drawn wagon instead.
This is perfect for nature watching, as there are no souvenir shops or crowds at this location. The wildlife preserve is comprised of 89,000 acres, and winter wildlife sightings include coyotes and hunting birds. The tour pulls a 12-person sleigh or wagon through the preserve, providing you with history and lore of the preserve during the ride. It’s a great family-friendly activity, and lasts approximately 60 minutes.
What’s more quintessentially winter than going ice skating and drinking hot cocoa? Albuquerque offers residents and visitors the Outpost Ice Area, on Tramway Blvd. This arena is located in the Sandia foothills, and is open year round. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy the rink, and public sessions are open to anyone. The arena also offers public and private skating lessons, hockey programs, birthday parties, and more.
Finally, the aforementioned Sandia Peak. The Sandia Peak ski area is a quick drive from Albuquerque—only about 45 minutes—and goes as high as 10,378 feet with a base elevation of 8,610 feet. There is a snow sports school, a rental shop, and a ski shop, and the Scrapyard Terrain Park offers beginner to intermediate hills and jumps. It is open January 8 to March 16, Wednesdays through Sundays, and rates are affordable, making this a perfect outing for you and your family.