Palm Springs Aerial Tram – The Best View of the Desert

Our only Saturday morning goal in Palm Springs, CA was to rise 8,516 feet aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and take in the breathtaking journey above the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon.

We begin the 12 minute ride at the Valley Station, elevation 2,643 feet, by way of the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. The tram swayed when we passed over each tower and it was fun… at first. It took about four minutes of  spectacular 360 degree views and the floor spinning slowly to remind me that morning sickness and motion sickness are not a thing of the past. As the spinning quickened and excessive heat flushed over my face and body, I knew that I either needed to proudly sit down and announce that I’m pregnant or pass out and chance getting hurt. Well… the view from the floor was just as breathtaking and others not only seemed to understand but offered their sympathies.


Rising up through mountain canyons and chimneys, we arrived in an arctic-alpine forest with giant Ponderosa pines.

There was a whole other world once we arrived: alpine scenery, a ski-lodge-flavored restaurant and gift shop, and temperatures typically 40° Fahrenheit cooler than the desert floor.

At the Mountain Station, we walked from the tram to the observation decks.  There are 14,000 acres and 54 miles of hiking trails and rustic campgrounds for guests to explore. Although we only uncovered a small portion of the trails, we enjoyed the spectacular views of the scenic wilderness and surrounding wonderland.

Just off the Cascade Patio, we followed stairs to the Tram View Patio, with inviting picnic benches along the way. The unique view of the Tram cars and Chino Canyon was superior to any other mountain view in California. It offered an expansive glimpse of the beautiful San Jacinto State Park.

Our tram ride down was much less unsettling and I was able to take pictures, stand up, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

I’d love to return with my family and spend the evening camping in any of the primitive campsites designated throughout the park. The nature, adventure, and beauty are well worth the $5 camping fee. Whether simply enjoying the breathtaking view, relaxing over a delicious meal, taking a leisurely nature walk, or camping under the stars, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram is an ideal getaway any time of year.

Advertisements

60 thoughts on “Palm Springs Aerial Tram – The Best View of the Desert

    • It was my favorite part of Palm Springs. Although the heat was excessive at the base of the tram, it was cool and refreshing to hike around at the top.

      Where did you stay when you were in Palm Springs? There certainly is a variety of accommodations.

      Thanks for reading; keep the comments coming,

      Lesley

      Like

    • There is an unimaginable amount of spectacular things to do in California. We’ve lived here for a year and still can’t believe that a whole world of adventure surrounds us.

      What are some of your favorite things to do in California? Maybe we missed a few great opportunities.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • It moves rather quickly as well. It’s definitively not for those suffering from Acrophobia.

      With your photography skills, it’s too bad that heights are not your thing.

      Thanks for reading,

      Lesley

      Like

    • WOW! Table Mountain is impressive! Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

      Thanks for recognizing the T-shirt too. My husband gave it to me for my birthday. I found it frustrating to constantly be looked at as fat rather than pregnant. Besides, people have a lot of sympathy for those who are pregnant. While I was wearing the shirt, I didn’t need to wait in line once 😉

      Keep posting; I love your writing.

      Lesley

      Like

  1. Spent my time in Palm Springs, but didn’t make it to the mountains.
    If you get a chance, go to Gatineau park in Ottowa. The view along the road is long enough to see the curve of the earth in the distance. And a small farm outpost. Very picaresque…

    It’s as beautiful as the pictures you have here.

    Like

    • I’ve toured a lot of Canada during my 30 years of living there, but I, unfortunately, never made it to Gatineau Park. Now that it’s on the other side of the continent, I’m not sure I’ll travel there anytime soon. It’s hard to justify flying across the country and not spending all of my time in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with my family. Do you have a post dedicated to Gatineau Park?

      Have you been to Nova Scotia? We have the Cabot Trail, which is one of the top trails in the world.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

      • Aside from a Blame Canada post after the Halloween snow, no, no Canada posts yet..
        But I’m thinking of doing a short series on my adventure trips.
        Especially this time of year in the east, where the summer stuff is shut down, and the winter stuff hasn’t started up yet…

        Like

    • Do you have family there? March must be a great time to be in Palm Springs, but it is rare to hear about yearly travel there.

      It was still a little too hot during the day but at the top of the tram, the weather was perfect!

      Thanks for reading,

      Lesley

      Like

  2. Lesley – beautiful images and description of your trip. You make me want to head there now. Great adventure and I fell you will be returning for more. Thanks for taking me there. I hope you are having a wonderful day and week.
    Best Regards
    Jim

    Like

      • Lesley – I’m in Chesapeake at home presently and will be back to work for 12 hr shifts on the waterfront for Sat and Sun and Mon nights. I would rather be in the mountains. It is a beautiful time of year here. I hope you are having a great day and enjoy the weekend. Hope you are feeling well.
        Best Regards
        Jim

        Like

  3. For Palm Springs locals, the P.S. Aerial Tramway is the most wonderful gift. A $60 Summer Pass, good from the end of May to the end of August, gives us unlimited relief from the challenging desert summers and an opportunity to meet other locals as well as many European visitors. We ride up the mountain at the end of a workday, feel the air cool by about 40 degrees as we ascend, follow the creek to the Round Valley meadow to watch the deer graze while we munch on our own snacks, hike back to the Tram station by dusk, enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets, then enjoy the city lights as we glide back to sea level and cooler, evening temperatures. (This year my friends and I may buy a year-round pass for about $150 to enjoy snow shoeing and cross-country skiing!) Without flying half way round the world to Dubai, where can you go from your pool float to a mountain top in 30 minutes? Palm Springs is truly our own little corner of paradise. Come back soon, Lesley, and live like the locals!

    Like

    • “Without flying half way round the world to Dubai, where can you go from your pool float to a mountain top in 30 minutes?” These are the reasons why we chose to live in California.

      🙂

      Like

  4. This looks idyllic! Hopefully you can return when you’ve had your baby and do some hiking and camping… at that age, you’ll have no complaints from the child!!

    Like

    • With parents that love camping and the outdoors, I’m hoping we never have complaints when it comes to getting out the camping gear.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

  5. My sister’s boyfriend lived in Palm Springs and he took us up here back in 2009. It was around December so it was freezing at the time, but we still enjoyed ourselves 😀 The view was lovely indeed.

    Like

    • I can’t fathom putting the words freezing and Palm Springs in the same sentence 😉

      The temperatures are well worth the view but it helps to be prepared with a sweater or even a jacket just in case.

      🙂

      Like

    • Normally I love rides and any type of adventure, but my stomach belongs to someone else, almost literally, since I’ve been pregnant. Even the motion in the car gets to me sometimes.

      Once we reached the top, it was well worth the few minutes of nausea. The view was breathtaking and there was a high contrast between the mountains behind the tram and the desert in front.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • Thanks! If you’re looking for advice or suggestions, please let me know. If I haven’t been there, I’ll certainly take the time to research it for you. I love to travel and explore new places.

      Lesley

      Like

  6. I have been there many times but never took the tram. Great pictures!

    I think I will, however, bog about my most memorable trip to Las Vegas. Think: freak snowstorm, peeing in cups, stranded . . . that sort of thing. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  7. I’ve been up there once and felt unforgettable ever since. The white snow like cream power spread over the mountain cliff and fresh air hugged the enormous dessert. Glad you wrote about the it, what a trip.

    Like

  8. One of my fav experiences on that tram was when a whole family (age 2 to age 80) got on the tram together. Each was carrying one part of a birthday party i.e. balloons, gifts, casserole dishes, cooler with ice cream, bags of ice. And two women where carefully carrying a large birthday cake between them.

    Well, on the ride up the tram jolted a bit unexpectedly and the entire family of 15+ people jumped toward the women with the cake to steady them. The tram actually leaned in the direction of the cake ladies + family members until everyone repositioned themselves evenly on board.

    The cake was saved and we, the passengers, had the biggest laugh of our day. It was hilarious.

    Like

  9. My cousins and relatives live in Palm Springs and my last visit was November 1996. These are great photos you have in here. With this post I recalled my ride in the Aerial Tramway. It was really fun. Awesome Post, Thanks 🙂
    Dolly

    Like

  10. my brother who lives in Rancho Mirage took us there. ’twas one of the most awesome part of our US vacation.
    you have great adventure posts Lesley.

    Like

  11. I have to agree. This tram is amazing. My wife I and went to Palm Desert for a married couples retreat with a group from First Baptist Church of Long Beach, and went on the tram ride while we were there. Living most of our lives at or below sea level in South Louisiana, we were very short of breath until we got acclimated, but it was well worth it! Thanks for the pictures that brought back some great memories.

    Like

  12. Pingback: 5 Totally Cool Spots to Visit During Your Trek to Coachella | Story by ModCloth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s