The village of Tijeras ("scissors" in Spanish) lies just east of Albuquerque and sits in Tijeras Canyon, which divides the Sandia and Manzano mountain ranges. Driving out to Tijeras on a weekend or just for a getaway isn't unusual, and there are lots of draws. Tijeras' mountains feature a number of recreational areas, such as Cedro Peak, where hiking, biking, and camping make it a one-stop destination for many.
Some of the fun things to see on the way to Tijeras, or in Tijeras, or include:
The Musical Highway
In 2014, the National Geographic Channel paid for a portion of Route 66 in Tijeras to be made into a singing road. The National Geographic Channel series Crowd Control creates fun experiments to change social behavior. The permanent rumble strips along Route 66 play "America the Beautiful" when driven over at 45 m.p.h. The goal of the road is to help drivers stay focused on the road. The road, at 364 Highway 66 East near Tijeras, was made with metal plates placed in the pavement that were covered in asphalt and then rumble strips.
Those who drive over it going 45 can hear the road "sing." There are only a few singing roads in the world. The singing road makes driving from Albuquerque to Tijeras a lot of fun.
Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site
The Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site has a museum and interpretation about the people who lived at Tijeras Pueblo from 1313-1425. The remains of the adobe buildings of these Tiwa speaking people are outside where paths allow visitors to get a sense of the place. The pueblo is considered an ancestral site by some of the Isleta Pueblo families. The museum contains archaeological finds such as pottery and other artifacts that have helped researchers construct a picture of what life was like for this pueblo long ago.
Tijeras Open-Air Arts Market
The Tijeras Open-Air Arts Market is in a shady location seven miles east of Albuquerque in Tijeras. Over 40 vendor booths set up and sell arts and crafts at the market, which is on old Route 66 just west of highway 337 (488 East Highway 33). The market has been open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for many years. Enjoy the arts, crafts, live music and food as well as the people.
Big Block Rock Climbing Area
Rock climbing is a popular pastime in Albuquerque and those who enjoy learning how to climb at Stone Age Climbing Gym soon make their way to the Sandia Mountains to climb there. But there is a climbing area just east and south of Albuquerque in Tijeras, at the Big Rock Climbing Area. The climbing area is part of the U.S. Forest Service. Take I-40 east and take exit 175 into Tijeras. Go south on highway 337 for about 5.5 miles. Between mile markers 25 and 24, there is parking on the south side of the road beside a road cut.
Hike around the road cut and in the valley, you'll see the large block and wall. Follow the trail down about 100 yards, crossing a stream. The rock wall is open year round and there are no fees. Be sure to take water. There are no restroom facilities.
Tijeras is in the mountains, and the Carolino Canyon is just south of I-40 on NM Highway 337. If driving from Albuquerque, take exit 175 and go south on 337. A little under 10 miles south are signs directing you to the canyon's facilities. Carolino Canyon is a great gathering place for family picnics. There is a paved hiking trail that is wheelchair accessible. There are two large picnic shelters with electrical outlets, so large gatherings of up to 250 people can take place there. Just be sure to make a reservation.
There are small picnic areas as well, with charcoal grills and a fire pit. The canyon facilities contain tetherball, horseshoe pits, and volleyball facilities. he beautiful mountain forest consists of ponderosa pines, pinon, juniper, scrub oak, and yucca. Carolino Canyon is part of the East Mountain Open Space series of parks and spaces.