Definitely on the top five MUST see/do in Palm Spring list, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway isn’t merely a fantastic ride. It’s also a portal to a whole different world.
In fact, it’s like from Mexico to Alaska in ten minutes, as the tram ascends through four life zones — like a road trip from the Sonora Desert to Alaska!
The world’s second steepest ascending tram (inaugurated in 1963) departs the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet) and travels 2.5 miles at 21 mph to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet), where the air is 30 or 40 degrees cooler than the desert below.
Each tram car holds 80 passengers. The floor rotates 360 degrees as the trams ascend and descend and cause squeals of trepidation and delight as they pass over five support towers, causing a stomach-lifting rise, dip, and sway.
A recorded narration gives a great purview on local ecology as you pass from desert to cool alpine terrain.
Killer views down over the Coachella Valley await at the Mountain Station, which has a cafeteria and gourmet restaurant.
Bring hiking gear to explore Mount San Jacinto State Park. Warm clothing is a must in winter, when the snow is sometimes feet deep.