On a hot summer's day, one of the best things to do in Palm Springs is to take a ride from the dry desert floor with the Aerial Tramway, 5,873 feet up into the cool climate of the San Jacinto Mountains. Come and ascend into a pristine wilderness aboard the world's largest rotating tramcars! Truly one of the greatest experiences in Southern California!
The world's largest rotating tramcars carry visitors from an elevation of 2,643 feet to a Mountain Station located at the 8,516-foot level of Mt San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. It has the steepest vertical cable rise in the U.S. and the second steepest in the world. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is truly one of the greatest experiences in Southern California.
What is remarkable about the ride, aside from the breathtaking views of the valley, is the change in temperature. At the bottom of the tram route, the temperature on the desert floor can reach 120 degrees. Rising up through mountain canyons and chimneys, you arrive in an arctic-alpine forest with giant Ponderosa pines. The thrilling vertical ascent gives you views of the Chino Canyon and the San Jacinto Mountains from the front of the car, while the Sonoran Desert is splayed out below from the rear of the car. Look to the top of Chino Canyon, snap a few photos, then look behind and below as you move from one ecological zone to another.
At the Mountain Station, you can walk from the car into the large, 3-story facility which has a cocktail lounge, dining facilities, gift shop and observation decks. The station theater features "Building on a Dream", an 18-minute film on the history of the history and construction of the Tramway. At the top you can also explore the 14,000-acre Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area, which has 54 miles of hiking trails, rustic campgrounds, and granite outcroppings providing clear views of the cities below.
During the winter months “mid-November to mid-April” you can strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis and head into the packed powder of a winter wonderland at the Top of the Tram. There are so many ways to enjoy the snow in the San Jacinto Mountains but snowshoeing is perhaps the most exhilarating family adventure. The Tramway’s Adventure Center (snow conditions permitting) is open for snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals.