Welcome to Sandia Crest House!

Welcome to a place where you can enjoy breathtaking views of both east and west sides of the Sandia Mountains, venture into the wilderness on many beautiful hiking trails, and watch a variety of birds that flock to the area season after season. Kick back on the couch in our comfortable, relaxing indoor seating area while your spirit is refreshed at the summit.

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The Journey

As you turn onto the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway you suddenly enter a different world.  Here the road twists and turns, and it seems that with each change in direction you have a wonderful new view of the mountain and all that lives and thrives in it.  You may see wild turkeys or a doe and her fawn, native birds and hawks, and of course the little critters, chipmunks and squirrels.  The wildflowers will greet you and nod their heads as you pass, and all the while you are ascending to 10,678 feet above sea level, where the air is clear and the beauty is unmatched.

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The Destination

Here at Sandia Crest you really can see forever.  Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley stretch out below with majestic Mt. Taylor far in the distance.  Incredible rock formations jut up from the wild slopes, exploding with incredible metallic colors. The Ridge looks almost blue as it stretches to the south and out of view.  To the east the vista is equally impressive as nearby peaks give way to fertile plains that extend out to the far horizon.  Journey or Destination?  We say, “Yes!”

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The Hikes

Some of New Mexico’s best nature paths and hiking trails begin and end at Sandia Crest.  Casual day hikers as well as seasoned mountain climbers have many trails to choose from.  To the south is Crest Spur Trail, which leads you on an easy loop to the upper Tram Terminal, the historic Kiwanis Cabin and back.  Just north of the Crest House you’ll find North Crest Trail, which leads you to North 10K Trail, Osha Loop Trail and Penasco Blanco Trail.  For a more rugged adventure, the Chimney Canyon and La Luz Trails are easily accessed but not so easily mastered.

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The Birds

The Rosy Finch is an Audubon treasure that migrates to the Sandias.  From October through March all three varieties flock to the feeders on our balcony.  It so happens that this is the only spot where you can drive right up to the viewing location – no hiking required. 

During the warmer months, hummingbirds are everywhere, flitting about, diving, soaring, and humming.  Take a bird walk and see how many varieties you can spot, or relax inside and watch them from the windows.

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The House

Sometimes people wonder what that big building is near the Observation Deck.  That, my friend, is Sandia Crest House Gift Shop and Café. We invite you to come in, grab a bite to eat, browse in the gift shop or just relax on the couches and enjoy the view.  Really.  Come, hang out, relax.  We’ll have a jigsaw puzzle going, books about the mountains and all that can be found here, and incredible views that take your mind to a calmer place.  Even on a cloudy day there is something peaceful about the mist.  

The experience is worth the drive, and the drive is an experience in itself.

*Under Permit from Cibola National Forest
*Please bring $3 for the Forest Service Recreation Amenity Fee (required for parking – cash is easiest)
*SCH is an Equal Opportunity Recreation Provider and Employer