Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Flowers Explore - Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto State Park

Another fun thing to do in Palm Springs is the Aerial Tramway! This sky bucket tramway takes us from the steamy hot Coachella Valley all the way up to the cool and comfortable San Jacinto Peak! Let's go!

Theresa and I have visited Palm Springs a few times, but this is a first for us. The promise of cooler weather at the top, plus the fun ride to get us there sounded great!

After turning off Highway 111, there was quite a climb in the truck to get to the base of the mountains. We started at around 500 feet elevation and drove up to 2600 feet to the Valley station. 

Passing one of the original tramway cars from the 1960s. There was plenty of parking in the lots nearby, and I was able to fit the Beast without going into someone else's spot. 

The AAA discount for tickets put us at $24.95 for adults and $15.35 for the kids. Not super cheap, but it doesn't break the bank either. The tickets have different pictures of the latest tram design, updated in 2000. 

At 1:45pm, the call was given for us to board. 

While we waited we could look at a few interesting tidbits about the gondolas. Here's a look at the steel cables that are keeping us safe. There were also posters from different movies and TV shows that have used the tramway, but most were from older movies or obscure shows that we didn't recognize.  

Time to board! These new trams have a higher capacity than the old ones, plus one other feature that I'll show shortly. 

We've got a spot right at the front, getting a good view as we climb up the mountain. 

Ah, but here's a special feature of this new tram. It's not just the people in the front that get the best view. The floor rotates!

During the entire 12 minute ascent, the whole thing makes 2 revolutions. That way you get a look up the mountain, and down the mountain back towards Palm Springs. 

Passing the other tram that is on its way down. 
On the way up, we passed through 5 different life biomes. 

At the Mountain Station, we are now at 8516 feet in elevation, having gained 5900 feet in just a few minutes. 

The air up top was wonderfully cool. We had packed jackets just in case it was too cold, but it was quite pleasant. 

And from the top, you can see for hundreds of miles. 

Just behind the mountain station are trails leading off through Mount San Jacinto. Let's go explore!

The kids probably do 2 miles for every one that we do, with all the running back and forth that they end up doing. 

Meet Jeff!
Jeff is a Jeffrey pine, and is the most common tree to this valley. And he smells so good!
Ian - He smells like butterscotch!
Theresa - Now I want a butterscotch candy!
Ian - I want a Jeffrey pine. 

They found a large pinecone, one of the biggest they have ever seen!
Ian - Daddy, if these were worth $1 each, we could be rich!

It was a good hike of over 2 miles with some great views! 

Once we arrived back at the mountain station, we all checked out the cafe. Alli, would you like some water? (she hasn't had good luck with water so far. It tastes weird.)

Nope, this one isn't good either. 
Alli - The water is like popsicle stick water but a whole new level. 
Jacob - Literally.

Back inside, there is a State Park visitors center with displays of all sorts of different animals you can find around here. 

Including snakes!

A bobcat. None of the animals on display here were hunted for these purposes. They came here either as a result of accidental death or poaching. 

Aww, what a cute baby bear cub. 

This hawk has found a tasty ground squirrel to eat. 

Ian - Can't the hawk eat something that's less cute? 
Along with the displays, we also enjoyed a movie showing the history of the tramway. 

After a little over 2 hours, we hopped in a line to head back down. While the ride up was informative, the ride down reminded me a lot of the Finding Nemo submarines with peppy music playing and everyone singing along. Sweet Caroline, with everyone singing the "Bom bom bom" parts loud together, and My Girl. 

Going over the supporting towers was a little like Mickey's Fun Wheel when it swings. 
Theresa - That was not fun. I should have taken medicine. 

I loved the views from the top. 
Alli - I love this place. I like the rocks. The trail area was nice. The ride is fun. 

It was a fun afternoon hanging out together! 
One last picture at the base next to the other original tramway cart. 

1 comment:

  1. Fun adventure going on the Palm Springs Tramway...gorgeous aerial views...especially like the one w/ the deep blue sky, towering mountain rock on the right forefront, and the city below to the background left. Like those different Tramway tickets w/ the various views of the tram...makes them more interesting than plain ones. Couple of great group shots on the hiking trail, beautifully capturing the height of where everyone stood on the mountain. Don't think I'd want to tangle w/ some of those animals represented in the Visitors' Center. What a great afternoon outing! EOM