Looking to beat the California desert heat? The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the best way to do so!

How can you beat that?

Being from the Rocky Mountain region, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this area of the California desert. Needless to say we were not at all disappointed by our experience on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway or the natural environment it led to.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets from Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and extend our thanks to them!

Not only does a trip up the tram offer a major temperature reduction, but it also offers a great change of scenery and pace.

Because we visited Palm Springs in the middle of summer, we were able to enjoy the smaller off-season crowds. Our trip up the tram was at the tail end of a busy holiday weekend. However, the lines were still manageable and service was friendly and prompt.

The trams move quickly up the face of the mountain, taking just 10 minutes to reach the top. The coolest thing is that the trams continually rotate 360 degrees during 2.5 mile journey. This super smooth movement allows for amazing views of the Coachella valley and mountainside.

Love mountains? Take the @pstramway where you can literally revolve around them! The world's largest rotating tramway transports you to a whole other level! @palmspringsCA @visitCA Click To Tweet
Get ready to be transported to a beautiful mountain spot!

Feeling the temperature drop is one thing, but the view from the top is out of this world!

The first thing greeting you when you arrive at the Mountain Station are the impressive views and cool mountain air. Equally impressive are the height of the trees making up the San Jacinto Forest. This is a great change of scenery from the barren desert landscape below.

Concrete ramps give way to earthy trails, taking visitors out into the woods. Moderate walking throughout these various nature trails provides great outdoor activity and exercise.

The trails are clearly marked. Be sure to stay on them to help protect the natural area!

The trails also take you to 5 notches which provide amazing views, but number 3 was definitely our favorite. What a beautiful spot to sit and ponder for a bit!

What a beautiful spot to look out over California’s Coachella Valley!

This area is the perfect place to connect with nature for a few hours. During our hike, we saw plenty of people practicing yoga, working on art, or getting ready to rock climb. They also offer guided nature walks twice daily.

Photo opps are abundant on the top of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Did I mention you can cap off your adventure with everything the stations have to offer?

If all that walking causes you to work up an appetite, there are dining and beverage services at both tram stations. But really the view from the top is the best to enjoy a little drink followed by some souvenir shopping.

The Mountain Station is a great place to eat, drink, shop and rest!

What to wear

I was surprised at some of the attire I saw at the top of the mountain, particularly flip flops and high heels. If you are planning on going on one of the nature trails, I recommend shoes with decent traction. Be sure to wear dark colors as the trails and many of the perches with sweeping views are dusty spots. We did fine in short sleeve tops, you may want to also bring a light jacket as it can be about 20 to 30 degrees colder or more at the top of the mountain. Be sure to check the forecast. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are also highly recommended.

So what are you waiting for?

Now is the perfect time to add the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to your travel itinerary. With close proximity to so many major cities in the desert Southwest, a trip to Palm Springs is the perfect getaway for a long weekend!

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  1. Wow!! Amazing pictures. . . .makes one feel as though they are on the tramway. Flip flops and high heels at the top of the mountain. . .really????!!!! That seems a little scary – but each to their own. Thank you for all the beautiful pictures.

  2. What a fun place to explore! Perhaps it’s because I live in the Midwest where the humidity in the summer feels like it’s crushing your lungs, but the desert heat never seems to bother me!

  3. We stayed in Palm Springs last year for a week and this is one of the things we did not get to do! I want to go back as I love it there and I will definitely make it happen this time. This post has motivated me to return!

  4. I did this years ago and loved the hike that we found at the top of the tramway. What a smart thing to do in summer! It is so hot in Palm desert and heading up into the mountains would be the perfect thing to do on a hot summer day.

    1. It was a great way to experience some cooler temperatures! So glad to hear you were able to enjoy the mountains too!

  5. Palm Springs is currently on my list of trips for next year! I’ll definitely be taking the tramway to the top – those views are gorgeous!

    1. Oh that is great! I hope you make it up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – you won’t regret it! Let me know if you need any other suggestions! It is such a fun city!!

    1. The movement of the tramway is incredibly smooth! I didn’t know there is something similar in Banff too!?

  6. It’s so cool that the temperatures are way lower once you get to the top because that definitely makes it a lucrative place to escape to during the hot desert summer. And I know what desert heat is because I live in a desert too (Dubai). I would love to take the cable car to the top for the cooler weather as well the views of the Coachella valley and mountainside, which look amazing!

  7. This looks just wonderful! I can imagine the views are just spectacular here. I’m bookmarking this for the next time I’m back in the US!

  8. So I have never had a desire to experience Cochella but have been to Palm Springs back in the day and just hung out in some snooty country club resort. I had no idea there was an Aerial Tramway that would take you to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains. I am definitely going to have to share this with my friends whom live in san diego and weekend in Palm Springs. How cool would it be to hang out at that station!

    1. I agree – Coachella isn’t super appealing to me. But, Palm Springs is a perfect city for a weekend getaway and this is such a great activity!

  9. Wow! Very cool to learn about this beautiful spot! I love getting out into nature whenever I can – and recently go to ride on the world’s largest 2-direction aerial tramway in Armenia!

  10. We had a weekend house in Palm Springs for many years, and anytime we had visitors come to stay, we took them up the tramway. It’s great in summer, but beautiful in winter too. And at that time of the year, it can be a little chilly in Palm Springs, but there’s snow on the ground at the top of the tramway. The hiking up there is fabulous and it’s well worth exploring. I don’t get seasick etc usually, but I did get a bit queasy with the tram car rotating as it climbed the hill. It was ok coming down, but going up, I didn’t expect it, and it was a little unnerving … thanks for the memories, I loved Palm Springs. Bring on the Sun!!

    1. Oh wow! That must have been so awesome to have had a house there. I loved Palm Springs and would jump at the chance to go back!

  11. Ah, what a lovely way to beat the heat. I can picture myself chilling at the view point absorbing the natural beauty.
    My mother is one of those people who wears heels always, even on a hike. It’s astounding to watch her clamber over rocks as nimbly as a deer. 😀

  12. The aerial tramway in Palm Springs seems to be a great experience with lower temperatures and awesome views! Your photos look really beautiful. Nothing like having good eating and drinking options after the tramway ride. 🙂

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