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EDITOR: Andrea Kirk
Michele Hunter
Mark Share
Matt Share
Josh Herz

By Eye Spy LA Editor


One of the things I've always wanted to do is ride the tram from Palm Springs to the snow covered peaks above. The idea of sitting around a pool in the hot desert until baked well done (about 5 minutes) and then heading up a mountain in a matter of minutes and throwing a snowball to cool off was quite compelling.

But when planning the occasional trip to Palm Springs I'd always forget about including the tram in the schedule. I always remembered of course as I passed the road leading up to it at the Palm Springs Visitor's Center on the way into town. By then it was too late to mush the schedule around to accommodate.

Finally I took a trip with a friend and we had nothing in particular scheduled except fun and relaxation. On the way into town we saw the sign and off we went.

We were so excited. We bought the tickets, got on board, waited for take off admiring all the granite and the views at the bottom. The tram starts going up, we are on our way. We both looked at each other: OMG we forgot we are AFRAID of heights. What were we thinking! What are we doing! We ran to the door... too late. We didn't just leave our fingerprints on the steel handrail, we left impressions.

Then we started to calm down. The gondola is completely enclosed. There is plenty to cling to (for sissies like us) and plenty of windows for people who want to actually see the view they're paying for. Did I mention the tram car rotates? Sigh of relief, we could hide and not look. To further enhance our illusion, the gondola seemed to be hardly moving, in fact it really felt almost like standing still (smooth, silky, stillness). A standard elevator seems like a herky jerky rocket to Mars in comparison. We felt less doomed.

We continued up the mountain. Gee it doesn't look very high up. We relaxed and started enjoying the view. We were almost half way up at this point and it was FANTASTIC!

When we were almost at the midpoint we spotted the downward tram. Cool, we'll wave as they go by!

The downward craft passed us before we could raise a hand. It was zip lining to hell! We tried to remain calm.

At the top we stepped off and went immediately to the bar. Drinks in hand we spoke the unspeakable. We had to go down. Did you see how fast that thing was going!!!

So we did the only thing we could do. We walked around on some of the trails, had a snack, took in the views and finally set our jaws, squared our shoulders and boarded the down tram. It felt just as slow going down as it had going up - until that blasted rocket to Mars zipped by!

Hot or cold, warm or cool, this is a very fun thing to do if you are in the Palm Springs area. Don't miss it.

Story & photos - Andrea Kirk

Palm Springs elev approx 500'
Mountain Station elev 8516'
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
WARNING! No matter how hot the desert is, it will be much cooler or even cold at the top!
San Jacinto peak is more than 10,000 ft above sea level
Mount San Jacinto State Park and MORE about the park and the tram
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument .

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