Sandia Peak Tramway


With a total diagonal length of 14,657 feet, the Sandia Peak Tramway is the world's longest single-section cable aerial tramway. Built 1964-66, it is a double-reversible jigback, meaning that one car is pulled up as the other is pulled down. The tram cable is suspended from two towers. Tower One is 232 feet tall and leans 18 degrees, to match the diagonal of the lift line from the lower to the upper terminals. Tower Two, located at 8,750 feet, was constructed using helicopters, because no roads ascend this high into the national forest wilderness areas. When construction was done, the line from bottom to top was off by only 3/8 of an inch.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Stringing the 2.7 miles of cable for the tramway took five months to complete. When one of the cars is at mid-span, it is approximately 900 feet above the ground. The normal speed is 12 mph, or 20 feet per second; maximum is 22 mph. On average, the tram makes 10,500 trips per year.