Francis Crocker’s vision for the Aerial Tramway first came about in the mid-1930s, although construction didn’t commence until 1960. Helicopters undertook more than 20,000 missions to deposit materials and workers on the mountain during the 26 months of construction. Since then, this engineering wonder has carried over 12 million visitors to the lofty heights of San Jacinto Mountain.
Although the actual ride from the floor of the Coachella Valley to the San Jacinto Mountain Station lasts just over 10 minutes, exploring this area deserves at least a few hours: the many hikes and views waiting at the top are sublime.
As you make the 5,873-foot (1,790-meter) ascent, the tram car completes two slow revolutions, providing a 360-degree panoramic view of the area. To the east, you’ll see Palm Springs and the Joshua Tree National Park. To the north are San Bernardino National Park and the San Gorgonio Mountain.
When disembarking at the Mountain Station, a viewing platform provides further photo opportunities. On a clear day, you’ll see the Salton Sea to the southeast, and possibly as far as Las Vegas and Mount Charleston to the north.
For lunch or dinner, make a reservation at the Peaks Restaurant atop the mountain. There are spectacular views and the fine dining menu includes fresh produce sourced from the Coachella Valley below. There’s also a nice children’s menu. For something more informal, grab a coffee and snack in the adjoining Pines Café.
During the busy warmer months, it’s advisable to buy tickets for the tram in advance from the website. The downside is that tickets are for a specific day and non-transferable, which may not be ideal if the weather is disagreeable.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station is a four-mile (6.5-kilometer) drive west of central Palm Springs. Free parking is available. The attraction is open daily (including holidays), with a tram car departing every half-hour.
The Riviera Palm Springs, gives you easy access to many activities and things to do in Palm Springs, including magnificent hiking, unique jeep tours, museums and world-class shopping. While visiting, choose from many area Palm Springs attractions and shopping malls. Play golf on several nearby championship golf courses.
Situated near the airport, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Palm Springs Square Shopping Center and Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Palm Springs Visitor Center and Las Palmas are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in the heart of Palm Springs, this property is steps from Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Palm Springs Visitor Center.
Located in the heart of Palm Springs, this condo building is steps from Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Palm Springs Visitor Center.
The budget-friendly Ivy Palm Resort & Spa is within 2 miles of downtown Palm Springs and the convention center. The Palm Springs Aerial Tram is about 4 miles away, and 9 golf courses are within 5 miles.
Situated in Palm Springs, this property is steps from Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Palm Springs Visitor Center.
Situated in Palm Springs, this property is close to Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs Visitor Center, and Palm Springs Square Shopping Center. Also nearby are Desert Highland Park and Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway.
Situated in Palm Springs, this property is steps from Palm Springs Visitor Center and Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.