The Sandia Mountains are a mountain range located in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, immediately to the east of the city of Albuquerque in New Mexico in the southwestern United States. The range is largely within the Cibola National Forest, and part of the range is protected as the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. It is home to the Sandia Peak Ski Area. Its highest point is Sandia Crest, 10,678 feet (3,255 m).
Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset. Also, when viewed from the west, the profile of the mountains is a long ridge, with a thin zone of green conifers near the top, suggesting the “rind” of the watermelon. However, as Robert Julyan notes, “the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo.” He also notes that the Sandia Pueblo Indians call the mountain Bien Mur, “big mountain”.