The Palm Springs Tramway takes visitors from the hot desert floor to the cool San Jacinto mountains. Take an exciting trip on the world’s largest rotating tramcars that hold up to eighty passengers.
The adventure starts as you drive up the steep road to the Palm Springs Tram Base Station. While waiting for your tram to depart, you can grab a snack or browse through the gift shop or watch a movie that details how the tramway was built.
Tram Ride to Mountian Station
Once onboard the tram, the fun begins. Palm Springs Tramway climbs 8,563 feet in about 15 minutes, rotating 360 degrees several times during the ascent. Each time the tram passes over one of the towers, there is a slight drop which usually gets a few screams from fellow riders.
Tramcars depart about every thirty minutes. The ride to the top takes about 12 minutes. At the halfway point, you will pass by the descending gondola.
If you’re afraid of heights, you can sit in the center of the gondola, and before you know it, you will be at the top of the mountain. Be sure to bring along several layers of clothing, especially in the winter. It can be 90 degrees at Valley station and quite cool when you arrive at the mountain station.
Things to do Mountain Station
Upon arrival at Mountain Station, visitors will be greeted by the snap of crisp cool mountain air along with the award-winning Peaks Restaurant with is with its floor-to-ceiling windows and rustic mountain decor, a gift shop, snack bar, and the state park visitor center.
You will find the top of the Tram Restaurant and a fantastic view of Palm Springs in the valley below at the mountain station. After taking in the view, there are miles of trails to explore in Long Valley. Some folks like to relax and enjoy the cool mountain air.
Palm Springs Tram Trails
Long Valley Discovery Trail is an easy short loop trail that starts just outside of Mountain stations ( down the stairway.) Another popular trail is the Desert View Trail which offers some amazing views of the Coachella Valley below.
More experienced hikers can tackle the Mount San Jacinto Peak Trail, an 11-mile round trip to the second-highest point in Southern California. Check at the Valley Ranger Station for maps and trail conditions before attempting any longer hikes.
If you visit during the winter, cross-country, ski, and snowshoe rental equipment are available at the winter adventure center. Bring along warm clothing for your trip up the mountain, winters are frigid, and it can be quite cool even in the summer.
Plan on spending a half-day at the Palm Springs Tramway. After your ride, there are plenty of activities to fill out your day trip.
Nearby things to do in Palm Springs
Your trip to the top of Mount San Jacinto will fill up about half a day. Palm Springs offers numerous attractions to complete your trip. There are so many things to do in the area you might consider spending at least one night in town. Here is a list of our favorite activities in and around Palm Springs.
- Living Desert Zoo – This family-friendly attraction is a breathtaking experience nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains and is a worthwhile destination for any weekend day trip.
- Palm Canyon Drive – Offers a fantastic selection of dining, shopping options. Palm Canyon Drive also has its own “Walk of Stars” 329, to be exact. Who says you need to go to Hollywood?
- Moorten Botanical Gardens – A little-known secret of visitors to Palm Springs, the gardens allow guests to view a vast and amazing collection of desert plants.
- Indian Canyons – Just a short drive from downtown Palm Springs, the Indian Canyons are four canyons preserved by the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians
- Shields Date Garden – A historic landmark that has been at the same location since 1924. Quality date, citrus, and organic food products to customers all over the world.
- Desert Hills Outlets – Anchored by Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth, Desert Hills is the perfect place to find upscale merchandise at affordable prices.
Getting to the Palm Springs Tramway
The Palm Springs Tramway is located minutes from downtown Palm Springs and about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles or San Diego.
Tramcars depart about every half hour from 10 a.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. weekends and holiday periods. The last car up is 8 p.m., with the last car down at 9:45 p.m.
Directions Palm Springs Tramway. Turn off Highway 111 onto Tramway Road. (look for the Palm Springs Visitor Center) From there, it’s a steep 4-mile drive up Tramway Road to Valley Station, where you board the tram. Address: 1 Tramway Rd, Palm Springs, CA