The western side of the Sandia Mountains shields the city of Albuquerque from the early morning sun. To view that early morning sunrise, you could climb to the top of the 10,378 foot summit. Or you could ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. You’ll be elevated over 4000 feet to the top in about 15 minutes with only the effort of purchasing a ticket and stepping carefully into the waiting car. A page on the tramway website here features the history and capabilities of the tram.
The terrain is steep and rocky on the west side of the mountains, but on the east side, the terrain is much more gentile. Skiing is a popular sport on the east side of the mountains. Skiers can ride the tram to the top, or take a ski lift from the bottom of the ski area on the east side of the mountain.
On our trip upward, there were a few wispy clouds near the peak, so we had a spectacularly clear view of Albuquerque to the west and south. While we were at the top, we stopped for coffee at High Finance, a restaurant with a view from the top. A large viewing area gives the tourist plenty of opportunity to gaze at the city below. Looking east, the ski area with its much more gentle slopes beckons. On our visit, clouds below us obscured the view of the eastern slopes except at the very top. In the distance, we could see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains rising through the cloud layer. By the time we were ready to leave, the cloud layer enveloped the entire mountain below us and we watched a tram car emerge from the cloud layer into the bright, sunny skies above. We would eventually descend through that layer to view the city completely overcast.
You can check their website here for information on the tramway, and for winter and summer sports information. I submit for your approval, a gallery of images taken at Sandia Peak Ski and Tramway. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.