MetroABQ Blog

Public Art: The Aluminum Yucca On The Edge of Town...

The easiest way to see this scene is from your car, traveling west along the interstate...

The Aluminum Yucca is a public art installation that is exactly what it sounds like. Sitting halfway up a steep hill on the southern edge of the Foothills Open Space, you've probably passed the yucca made of aluminum dozens of times as you came through Tijeras Canyon on Interstate 40, heading west. It's on the north/right-hand side just after the Carnuel exit, & is different all times/angles of the day, especially as the solar panels help light it up into the night. Commissioned by the MetroABQ's One Percent For Art program, artist Gordon Huether created Aluminum Yucca in 2003. It is considered the "Route 66 Gateway to Albuquerque."

Another way to enjoy the sculpture is up close. There is a Foothills Open Space trail south of Embudito Canyon that takes you pretty close, but not to the sculpture. To get there, you need to find the Supper Rock Neighborhood, a limited-access community north of I-40 with only two ways in. It stretches from Tramway Blvd on the west & hugs the Open Space on the east. The twisting Foothills streets up to the trailhead pass expensive generally custom homes, most with extraordinary city/mesa/sunset views. When developed in the 1960's, some properties in the neighborhood started out with their own tennis courts on adjacent lots.

The trailhead starts along Camino de la Sierra NE, which runs alongside the Foothills Open Space. A few hundred yards from where the road dead-ends, there is parking along the road. It's maybe a twenty-minute hike: take trail #365 to it's eastern end. You will see a smaller trail cut off to the south--toward a hill overlooking Interstate 40. It wends along the hillside & takes you to the Aluminum Yucca, which is surrounded by a chainlink fence. Great photo opportunities on all sides of the sculpture.