Beat the Heat in Palm Springs – Take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Here’s a secret not many people know about…the temperature at the top of the San Jacinto mountains is 30 – 40 degrees cooler than the floor of the desert here in Palm Springs. So, what better way to enjoy the best of both worlds (desert heat and cool mountain temperatures within a span of 10 minutes), than to experience the beauty of Palm Springs from 8,500 feet up! 

round yellow tram car and view of the mountains and blue sky beyond

Photo Credit: Palm Springs Aerial Tram

canyon view from the tram car with mountains on the sides and green trees below

The view of the mountain canyon below the tram car

Take a ride up on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car—travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your ten-minute journey, the tram car rotates slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below.  (Warning:  there’s a slight “bump” when you pass by the towers, but it’s fun!)

Pack a picnic or enjoy the restaurants up at the top.  There are observation decks with telescopes and for those that like a good walk in the woods, take an easy 1.5 mile hiking loop with 5 expansive vista look-out points.  For the avid and adventurous hikers, consider a hike all the way to the top which is at an elevation of 10,834.  (I was told by a ranger that this hike is approximately 6 hours round trip for this adventure so plan accordingly with food and water and clothing.)   If you are looking for something in between, just ask one of the park rangers and they can give you a map for a hike that is perfect for you.  There are over 50 miles of hiking trails at the top of the tram station!

sign indicating a view point vista at the top of the mountain with pine trees in the distance

Look for the notch signs along the 1.5 mile loop for best vantage points

man leaning on a rock looking out at pine trees and the town below

The view from Notch 1 with Palm Springs down below

two men overlooking the vista below with pine trees and mountains in the distance

Take a moment to enjoy these amazing vistas from the top of the tram!

The tram was the vision of Francis Crocker in 1935 who wanted to make the top of the mountain easily accessible for all to enjoy.  In 1945 construction began.  There were various delays along the way to due budgets and funding and wars (WWII as well as the Korean War), but in 1963 the tram was finally completed and the vision realized.  In 2000 the new rotating cars were included!

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the station. 

The tram runs every 30 minutes. 

Parking costs $8 per car and the standard admission for an adult is $26.

Summer Hours (May 24 – September 1, 2019)

Monday – Thursday – First Tram up 10:00am

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays – First Tram up 8:00am

Sunday – Thursday – Last Tram up at 8:00pm, Last Tram down 9:45pm

Friday & Saturday – Last Tram up 9:00pm and last Tram down at 10:30pm

Check out the “tram cam” for the most up to date weather conditions.

The Monkey Tree Hotel is just a 10 minute drive from the Palm Springs Aerial Tram station.  Stay here with us and beat the heat with this little hidden secret side trip.  Don’t forget to check out the summer specials!

lounge chairs and yellow umbrellas around the pool with mountain view and palm trees in the distance

Poolside View at The Monkey Tree Hotel

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