America's Scenic Byways

Sandia Crest Byway

13.6 miles - 1 hour to drive the byway

Sandia Crest is a mile above the surrounding countryside and 2 miles above sea level. The all- weather, paved Sandia Crest Highway (NM 536) is the highest scenic drive in the southwest. The Sandia Mountains were created by an uplift, leaving the forested eastern slope you'll drive up, and a craggy, cliff-like western face. Part of the Cibola National Forest, the Sandias are home to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bear and many other mammals and birds -- including the golden eagles you may see soaring at the Crest. To experience some of the many moods of the Crest, we recommend an afternoon hike along the trails. Then relax awhile at the Sandia Crest House Gift Shop and Restaurant. Stay to enjoy the sunset -- sometimes spectacular! -- and the incredible night view of the city lights and starry skies.