Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Palm Springs Tram: World's Largest Rotating Tram Car

Riding the world's largest rotating tram car is quite an experience. I couldn't help but admire the snowy rocky cliffs of the Chino Canyon as we ascend to 8516 feet and how the Palm Springs Tram was able to transport towers into those cliffs to support cables of the tram. It's quite an engineering feat!

If you're looking for fun things to do in Southern California this Holiday, I would suggest visiting the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. We went on a Sunday after another great brunch at Shields Date Garden Cafe and the kids got to experience snow for the very first time.

Valley Station Waiting Area

Valley Station

Palm Spring Tram Ticket Prices

Coffee Shop

Valley Station: Observation Deck and Patio

Valley Station: Pre-departure area
Falls at Valley Station

Valley Station Ticket Counter & Restaurant Menu

The Palm Springs Tram travels over two-and-one-half miles along cliffs of the Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During the approximately ten-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering spectacular vistas of the valley floor below and cliffs up above. Once you reach the Mountain Station, you can enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails. Make sure to enjoy some hot chocolate before heading down, it was yummy.

I do want to be up front and say there were some slightly scary moments while riding the Palm Spring Tram as it swings whenever it passes one of the towers that changes its escalation angle but overall I marveled both at the view and the engineering feat on putting the whole tram together that I look forward to going again next week.

Palm Springs Tramway opened in 1963 but the rotating tramcars only began in September 2000 after going through modernization programs. The original tram cars are now on static display at the grounds of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Palm Springs Aerial Tram way is located at 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262. You will drive a few miles before reaching the parking lot. There are a few parking lots available but the closest to the Valley Station where you'll be purchasing your tickets and ride the tram is parking A. If you were instructed to park elsewhere, don't worry as you will be shuttled in.

Snow at Mt. San Jacinto State Park after riding the tram

Giant Pine Cone

Palm Springs Tram Weather:

The weather at the Mountain Station is typically 30-40 degrees cooler than on the desert floor. To make sure you get to enjoy snow when visiting the Palm Springs Tram, be sure to check the weather beforehand.

Palm Springs Tram Tickets:

You can purchase tickets online 24 hours prior to visiting to book your exact time but we found it easy to just purchase on-site as well. The tram leaves every 10 minutes. We got to the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway at 2:30PM and boarded at 3:00PM, it enabled us to check the facility and use the restroom first before riding the tram.

Adults: $25.95
Children: $16.95 (2 and under FREE)
Seniors: $23.96 (65+)

Palm Springs Tram Hours:
  • Monday - Friday - First Tram up 10:00am
  • Saturday, Sunday and Holidays - First Tram up 8:00am
  • Daily - Last Tram up at 8:00pm, Last Tram down at 9:45pm

The Valley Station, the tramcar and the Mountain Station are all fully wheelchair accessible and A.D.A. compliant.



Departure area: The view at Mountain Station overlooking the Coachella Valley while waiting for the tram to arrive.
Mountain Station Terrace overlooking the Coachella Valley at 8516 feet elevation.
Biggest Tip when going to Palm Springs Tram is to bundle up. We didn't prepare and got really cold. Make sure to bring your snow gear with you. It's already cold at the Valley Station below all the more at the snowy Mountain Station above. Also be careful as the terrace just outside the cafeteria, you could be walking on icy floors.

We didn't trek the whole trail down the Mt. San Jacinto State Park but other people brought snow sled for their kids. Even going a few ramps down was actually quite a trek back up the mountain station. This was an impromptu trip, maybe on the next visit, I'll be more fit and prepared.

Have fun and let us know what you think!

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  1. We did this in December. It was absolutely gorgeous up there. It was so peaceful and the views!!!

  2. This looks like a great outing!

  3. WOW I never knew about this. Looks like a very fun activity to do with the family. Thank you for sharing.

  4. The Palm Springs Aerial Tram looks like a lot of fun and that's so cool it takes you to experience snow at the top. Thanks for the post with all the info and photos!


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