Doing daybreak the Albuquerque way
Seeing Albuquerque for the first time is a revelation. The desert vistas under expansive skies, the rich history with roots in Native American and Spanish culture, and the beautiful, sunny weather all come together to create a truly unique destination, worth visiting again and again. Waking up with the sun on an Albuquerque visit means experiencing something really special, as the painted sky blooms in all its glory over the Sandia Crest and across the New Mexico desert.
Best time to watch the sunrise in Albuquerque
The time to see the sunrise depends on the season. In the winter, sunrises come pretty early, beginning when the clocks fall back in November, creating a 6:30 a.m. sunrise time. The time stays between 6:30 and 7:15 a.m. through the beginning of March, and then the clock shifts again and brings sunrise to a later 7:20 a.m. time frame. Sunrise soon arrives earlier again, though, and by the end of April, sunrise watchers are back to a 6:15 a.m. wake-up call.
The days of summer are long, and the sunrise comes before 6:00 a.m. through June and into July, at which point it begins a slow crawl back to 6:30 by the end of August. As September rolls into October, the sunrise creeps back to 7:00 a.m. and then moves even later by the beginning of November, when it’s at 7:30 a.m. before the clocks fall back again. Of course, to know the specific sunrise time for any given day, it’s a good idea to check online at weather.com or look in the local paper.
Weather and seasonal considerations
Albuquerque has 310 sunny days each year and experiences very low humidity. Even during the winter months of December and January, the coldest days rarely dip below freezing. This means that in winter – when the air is not as sluggish as in summer and the sunrises are at their most spectacular – it’s still a comfortable enough temperature to go outside to watch the sun rise. During the rainy months of July and August, clouds are more common in Albuquerque, but fog is a rarity.
Where to watch an Albuquerque sunrise
The best time of year for sunrise viewing may have less to do with the weather than it does with an annual event. Each October, Albuquerque hosts the world’s largest hot-air ballooning event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The sight of hundreds of balloons rising into the air as the sun rises is breathtaking and inspirational, and anyone fortunate enough to visit Albuquerque during the festival is in for an amazing spectacle. Can’t make it in October? Take a balloon ride on your own: Albuquerque has the most resident balloonists of anywhere in the United States, so it’s easy to take a ride year-round.
More of a hiking person than a ballooning person? Albuquerque has this too, and Petroglyph National Monument allows access to their trails at sunrise. Start at the parking lot of the Volcanoes Day Area section of the park, and hike up to the Albuquerque Overlook for an amazing view of the sunrise over the Sandia Crest. For a view of the sunset from a lower altitude, try watching from the Rio Grande River, either from a boat on the river or in one of the open space areas.