Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs | RTX Traveler Magazine

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway & Mt. San Jacinto State Park

One of the first tourist attractions in Palm Springs is still perhaps one of the most spectacular. Mt. San Jacinto towers over the desert town, its snowy peaks in the winter contrasting with the balmy weather below.

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Since 1963, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has taken visitors up the sheer cliffs of the Chino Canyon to the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet above sea level. Once you’ve driven up the curving inclines to the Valley Station from where the tram departs, you’ll already notice cooler temperatures compared to the desert’s floor. Shuttles are available from the parking lots to the Valley Station where you’ll purchase your tickets. You can also purchase tickets online and avoid the wait once you arrive. The Valley Station includes a gift shop, café and viewing decks so that you can watch the tram come and go before your adventure begins.

The tram holds up to 80 people and the tram floors rotate twice throughout the 10-minute, 2.5-mile trips up and down the cables. The sensation you feel while ascending is unlike anything else. It’s just a little bit scary but is extremely exhilarating, and once you see the views of the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountains, you’re likely to forget your fears. For a bit more background and history, and informational recording plays in the tram throughout the trip.

Aerial-Tram_GREATERwOnce you arrive at the Mountain Station, make your way to one of several viewing decks for panoramic vistas and crisp mountain air. In the winter, visit the Adventure Center to rent gear for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing so that you and your family can explore the trails of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. If you’d rather simply play in the snow, there’s plenty of space for snowball fights and snowman building against the stunning backdrop of the peaks.

When the winter fun gives way to growling bellies, The Peaks restaurant offers an exceptional culinary experience with as many fresh and local ingredients as possible. Pair your meal with a glass of wine and finish on a sweet note with a house-made dessert. For a more casual option, the Pines Café offers a wide variety of selections in a cafeteria-style setting. Check out the Ride-‘N-Dine combination ticket for a great deal for the whole family. Wherever you choose to dine, you’ll have a stunning view of the Valley below.

Heading down the valley in the tram is just as stunning as going up, as the floors continue to rotate and you’ll see the same stunning views from a slightly different perspective. There are a few bumps and shakes as the two trams pass one another and pass over each of four towers between the two stations, adding to the thrill of the ride, but the trams have an impeccable safety record and have safely transported millions of visitors to the top of the mountain and back.

For a truly memorable experience and to see Palm Springs from a different point of view, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mt. San Jacinto State Park make a perfect adventure.

Hours
Cars depart at least every half hour.
Mon – Fri: First tram up 10 a.m.
Sat, Sun & holidays: First tram up 8 a.m.
Last tram up 8 p.m. and last tram down at 9:45 p.m.
Tickets
Adults: $23.95
Children: $16.95 (ages 3-12)
Seniors: $21.95 (age 62+)
www.pstramway.com

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