By Kristine Hansen
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Many people come to Palm Springs to see the midcentury modern architecture, but the best view is from above via the Palm Springs Tramway.
That’s because the tram travels to an elevation of 8,516 feet above sea level in Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness, ascending above this desert city two hours east of downtown Los Angeles.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway uses the world’s largest rotating tramcars. Its first ride up the mountain was in 1963.
Each trip begins at the Valley Station, at an elevation of 2,643 feet above sea level.
“We’re the most visited attraction in the Coachella Valley,” said Greg Purdy, who handles the tramway’s communications. “Where else can you go from the desert to the alpine in 12 minutes and experience a 33-degree temperature shift?”
At the top of Mount San Jacinto State Park are 54 miles of hiking trails as well as picnic areas. While a permit is needed, this can be obtained from the Long Valley Ranger Station at the top of the tramway.
In addition to riding the tram, groups can browse in two gift shops (one in the Valley Station and another in the Mountain Station), and also explore the Natural History Museum and view a documentary film (both are at Mountain Station). Both stations have observation points with telescopes to further take in the view.
A ride-and-dine group package includes dinner in Pines Café, served cafeteria-style. The lunch option is only available to groups of 25 or more. Peaks Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant at the summit.
Motorcoaches can easily park in the front lot after dropping off passengers. Groups of 10 or more receive a special rate. The tramway is closed each year between Sept. 15 and Oct. 2 for annual maintenance.
For more information, call 760-325-1449 or visit pstramway.com.