I am open to natures visual bounty beyond the confines of the Pacific NW. I am particularly open to sunshine and warmth now that I am back from 75-100 degree days to rain all night and 48 degrees. In traveling to the Palm Springs area, I knew what I was getting into re desert and man’s irrigated efforts to conquer it and create pleasant surroundings.
So, in planning this getaway, I noticed the tram that scales the sides of Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 feet). The elevation and uniqueness of it sounded interesting: “Aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar, you will experience a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. Begin the 10 minute ride at the Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft. and end at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. No matter what the season, whether you are enjoying spectacular views or hiking in a pristine wilderness, a one-of-a-kind experience can be had by all.“
So, off we went doing the tourist thing. And, it was a very enjoyable ‘adventure’ into a realm that made me immediately comfortable and giddy. Jagged rock formations, Evergreen trees, some running water, snow, crisp air and spectacular views from high up.
I will add a few more pics here that really don’t do justice to the views. The ride up is unique in that you are jammed into the tram car, which is suspended from cables. The car rotates as you climb or descend. It is hard to capture a shot while the car is rotating. The diagonal angles of the mountain are just not easily captured.
Plus, at least on this trip, you are wedged in with others and the ride has a bit of a fun thrill ride feel: the cables sag between towers. The car climbs up that sagging cable and upon reaching the tower, the tram car immediately, slowly plunges down the cable toward the sagging portion. Everyone makes the appropriate sound of delight and a few are clinging to anything, anyone with their eyes closed. Really not that bad. My only advice is get near a window. The view will change as the car rotates so getting where you think will allow a view of the valley floor or the top of the mountain will not last as the car rotates to an ever changing view.
Once you are at the Tram Station on top, there are gift shops, available food, and a bar for fortification. You can hike around outside and depart when you want. Check the final departure. This is not just a mini thrill ride as you ride the tram up to access the wilderness areas beyond and go hiking and backpacking. A warning…the temperature difference is about 30-40 degrees difference from the valley floor to the top. You do the math and if you get cold easily, bring something for warmth. During our stay, the valley floor was 70 and rain for one day. When the clouds cleared the next day the mountains had new snow. Plan for a sunny day (the typical valley forecast) and enjoy.
So, this outing was a refreshing contrast to the visuals and weather below. Natural, rugged and well planned. It was a very enjoyable excursion and I highly recommend it.