Albuquerque, a city nestled at the base of the Sandia Mountains, is built on a slope that stretches toward the desert floor. With volcanos visible on the horizon, you probably wonder, ‘Does it snow in Albuquerque?’
Yes, it snows in Albuquerque, with an average snowfall of 10.6 inches. The snowiest and coldest month is December, but the coldest nights are in January.
Read on to learn what winters are like in Albuquerque. We also compiled the best winter destinations and activities that make Albuquerque a unique snowy experience for you, your friends, and your family.
How Often Does It Snow in Albuquerque?
There are Albuquerque winters when it doesn’t snow at all, but a few inches of snow may fall the following year. The snow also doesn’t last long because the sun melts it away quickly. However, the city has an elevation of over 5,200 feet, where snowstorms are pretty common.
While it’s considered rare to have snow throughout the entire town of Albuquerque, it can snow up on the West Mesa but not in the northeast or southeast valleys.
How Much Does It Snow in Albuquerque?
The amount of snow in Albuquerque is dependent on the Pacific Ocean’s temperature, averaging an annual snowfall of nearly 10 inches. The southwestern region can experience more snow and rain when the water is warmer. On average, several major snowstorms hit Albuquerque each winter.
In 1993, over three feet of snow blanketed the city. Similarly, one of Albuquerque’s worst snowstorms happened in 2006. Thanksgiving 2019 recorded six inches of snowfall, while in January 2020, snow barely drizzled.
It’s also not unusual for parts of the city to experience snow while other areas are dry. Generally, though, the mountains like the Sandia Mountains get the most whipping from winter storms, and the city only gets a dusting. Snow in Albuquerque is also wet and heavy but is usually gone the following day.
What Are Winters Like in Albuquerque?
Thirty years ago, an Albuquerque winter meant a couple of snowstorms and about five inches of snow in the city. Establishments would shut down, and most locals went cross-country skiing. However, snowfall in the city has mellowed in recent years.
Albuquerque is in a valley, planked by mountains in the east and a high mesa in the west. As a desert environment, significant winter weather may occur in city areas. Albuquerque winters are also typically dry, so it doesn’t usually render roads unusable. Also, the city actively plows and sands slick areas.
How Cold Does It Get in Albuquerque?
Low temperature during snow in Albuquerque averages from 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but it could floor to about zero degrees. Around 2010, the city experienced a cold spell that lasted for about two days and registered a record low of 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
Year-round, the temperature could swing between 20 and 30 degrees. In extreme scenarios, you can experience 40 to 50 degrees during the day and hit 20 degrees at night.
Albuquerque is a low-pressure point, getting some of the Canadian air that comes down through Colorado. Without the humidity brought by the famous ‘dry heat,’ 90 degrees feels cooler. So, from November to March, middays could be chilly enough, while from May to September, when days are warm, the nights could be tricky.
Albuquerque Weather at A Glance
If you wonder what the coldest month in Albuquerque is or when it’s most comfortable to visit the city, here’s a quick look at Albuquerque’s weather all year round:
|January to June and October to December
|November (3.3 rainy days)
|July (91.8 degrees)
|December (46 degrees)
|August (8.6 rainy days)
|December (3.2 inches)
|April (10 mph)
|Most Pleasant Months
|April, May, and September
|Least Comfortable Months
|December and January
|January (23.5 degrees)
Winter Destinations in Albuquerque
Now that you know the answer to the question, ‘Does it snow in Albuquerque?’, here are the best winter spots to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities while lounging in the uniquely beautiful weather of Albuquerque.
Experience history and art from 1700 to the present day at the Albuquerque Museum, with permanent collections from the works of Luis Jimenez and Georgie O’Keeffe. If you’re tech-savvy, check out the Bill Gates exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
Taste Albuquerque’s signature red & green chili, a cuisine perfected by cooks for 500 years. The city is also famous for the New Mexican Cuisine, blending Native American food like blue corn and squash with chili peppers, wheat flour, and pork, which you can sample at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Head to brick-oven pizzerias, prime steakhouses, or Vietnamese cafes for less-spicy treats. You also get dining options like Mediterranean, Greek, or Chinese.
Canteen Brewhouse, an award-winning craft brewery with two taprooms, has served locals and tourists for more than two decades. Marble Brewery has three locations across Albuquerque and is famous for its hoppy IPA, red ale, and Wildflower Wheat.
Albuquerque is the perfect hub to ski anywhere in New Mexico because of its centralized location, but what makes it ideal for winter activities is its Sandia Peak, a 10,678-foot summit. Sandia Peak has one of the longest cruising terrains in the state, with a large trail network for cross-country skiing.
Albuquerque Snow Activities
Enjoy all that Albuquerque offers with relatively mild winter weather, whether you enjoy the snow outside or keep warm indoors.
Winter season or not, the streets of Old Town Albuquerque are a place to beat. There are fewer crowds in this historic heart of the city, and near the holidays, you’ll witness festive transformations of galleries, shops, and businesses.
Eat your way into diverse cultures at the Indian Pueblo Kitchen, where indigenous cuisine mingles with contemporary dishes.
Get Close to Nature
Albuquerque BioPark is home to an aquarium, zoo, and botanical garden. There also is a beach that runs along the Rio Grande River, a popular destination in the entire state of New Mexico.
Watch performances at the Casa Flamenca, National Flamenco Institute, or Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque to take part in a tradition in Albuquerque, the Flamenco capital of North America.
Cruise down the 17 miles of the historic Route 66, popularly known as Central Avenue. If it’s your first time, there are neon signs along the route to guide you.
Sandia Peak has 25 miles of trails to enjoy the activity. Get on the famous Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway to take in the scenic views.
Hot Air Ballooning
This activity is one of the most popular go-to experiences in the city. And you can enjoy it all year round! Check out the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum or be among the thrilled spectators of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every fall.
Is Albuquerque Warm in Winter?
Few people realize that in Albuquerque, warmth and winter go hand-in-hand. The city’s unique weather allows you to experience sunny days and chilly nights that you can ski and tee on the same day!
You can ski at Sandia Peak, a certified ski school and a top-notch rental shop in the morning, then head to award-winning golf courses like the Twin Warriors Golf Club in the afternoon.
Conclusion: Does It Snow in Albuquerque, NM?
Whether it’s snowing or not in Albuquerque, there’s a mountain of reasons for you to visit the city. Apart from its rich history of over 11,000 years and probably the best 4-season weather in the US, things to do in Albuquerque abound.
Indoors, you can explore ancient cultures, eat an array of fantastic food, or choose among deliciously crafted beer, cider, and spirits.
With the pleasant Albuquerque snow, you get to enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking and hot air ballooning amidst a backdrop of abundant wildlife and sceneries.
So, does it snow in Albuquerque, New Mexico? Yes, and it’s the icing on top of your exciting visit to the city.