Our first trip up the tram was in April during El Nino. At the base, we saw magnificent yellow flowers that only bloom during this time. As we ascend up the mountain, we passed through four or five different environments. It was absolutely a breathtaking experience. We started in the desert and at the top there were pine trees covered in snow. I think the temperature at the base was in the 80°F, and 40°F at the summit.
There are different lookout points overlooking the desert and the city of Palm Springs. You can hike through the San Jacinto Mountains. The trails are well marked. Cross country skiing is available at certain times of the year (usually winter). Check their web-site for more information: pstramway.com
Address: Tramway Rd., off Hwy. 111, Palm Springs
Phone:(888) 515-TRAM, (760) 325-1391
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat-Sun 8am-8pm
Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
October 26, 2004
The tram is an engineering marvel. Don't just take my word for it; it has actually been designated as an historical civil engineering landmark. The tram was opened in 1963 and still is a wonder. The tram takes a two-and-a-half mile ride up the canyon cliffs, which are steep and cover some very rugged terrain. When you ride up, you will be amazed and ask yourself, "How was this ever built?"
The location is just outside Palm Springs’s center, off Palm Canyon Drive (also known as Hwy 111). There is plenty of free parking and a large tram station. The cost is $21 for adults and $14 for kids. You can also do the Ride and Dine, which includes a tram ride and dinner at the top of the tram, after 3pm for $30 for adults and $19 for kids. The tram departs every half hour from the base of the mountain. The base building has a gift shop, snack bar, and a little history of the tram.
The ride up is breathtaking. There are little bumps when you pass each tower, and this gives way to a few gasps. The cars themselves rotate, so you have full views from every side.
On top, the mountain lodge has a bar, snack bar, and full sit-down restaurant. There is an adventure center that is open in the winter, where you can rent snow tubes, cross-country skis, and snowshoes. There are 54 miles of great hiking trails and even free nature hikes that are given by rangers. You can even camp in one of the camp sites on the top of the mountain.
This is one "must do" thing for your visit to Palm Springs. It's perfect for all ages. Those who want to relax can sit and have a beer on the top and marvel at the view, or those who wish to hike can find trails for all levels. The tram has something for everyone.
One Word of Caution - It can often be 100 degrees on the desert floor and 60 degrees at the top of the tram. Dress accordingly--bring a jacket, even if it's hot at the base!
From journal Dads and Hogs in the Desert
Prescott Valley, Arizona
August 18, 2004
The cafeteria at the top is mediocre at best, as is the service. We did not try the restaurant. I would recommend packing your own lunch or dinner so that you can experience more of the wonderful outdoors without being tied to having your meal at the tram station. Military discounts are offered on the full priced ticket (not discounted afternoon tickets). Make sure you dress appropriately...the temperature at the top of the tram is significantly colder that at the bottom (as mush as 30+ degrees).
From journal Vacation in Palm Desert
July 28, 2004
From journal Palm Springs: A Desert Oasis
October 11, 2003
The Tramway lies right outside Palm Springs, close to Indian Springs, where we were staying. We had to drive partway up the mountain, where there were large parking areas. Because the first snow had just fallen that week, it was crowded and we had to park far away and catch a bus to reach the tram terminal.
Once we got to the terminal, we had to wait in long lines to get tickets. Tickets cost $20.80 for adults and $13.80 for children. The tickets are good for a particular time -- about a 45-minute wait at the terminal.
The tram rotates as it goes up the mountain, so there's no use angling for a specific side of the tram -- you make a full revolution before you reach the top. The experience was very interesting, as you could see the Palm Springs development -- a weird patch of green in the middle of a vast brown desert surrounded by mountains. The ride can be a little scary if you are afraid of heights, but our kids took it all in stride.
When we got to the top, we were buffeted by 35-degree temperatures and cold, icy winds. But our kids made a beeline to the snow and started an impromptu snowball fight. The tramway was a great way to get to the snow without having to drive up the mountains and worry about ice and chains.
The area has play equipment for rental (snow tubes, etc.). There are also restaurants and snack bars where you can eat and warm up. The biggest drawback is that the trails are not very well marked. We had trouble finding where the various activities were.
Because it is not a built-up ski resort and there are plenty of trees, it's a great place for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. But it seemed like most of the folks up here were going sledding or snow-tubing.
Our kids soon found out that snow gets you wet, and wet shoes and socks are no fun in the snow. Within an hour, they were ready to rest, and we walked back to the terminal, got some hot chocolate, and headed back down to the warmth of the desert.
From journal Snow in the Desert
Fort Lee, Virginia
March 9, 2003
From journal Honeymoon in the Desert
albany, New York
December 30, 2002
At the top of the mountain you get absolutely wonderful views. Palm Springs is definitely a study of contrasts between mountain and sea level, snow and desert, lush vegetation and sparseness, etc. When you get off the tram, there are trails where you can do a fair amount of hiking. In colder months, I have heard that people actually cross-country ski and snowshoe. Apparently some people even camp in the winter months! As you can see from the pictures, the team had a lot of fun with the trees and rocks! In the past I have also eaten at the restaurant at the top (you can purchase a ride and dine ticket).
For more information on the tram, see the web site at:
From journal Palm Springs sightseeing in between championship tennis
December 16, 2002
From journal Indian Canyons/ Palm Springs
Long Beach, California
June 30, 2002
The views at the top (8,500 feet) were amazing. I would highly recommend the P.S. Tram.
From journal 24 Hours in Palm Springs
seal beach, California
January 5, 2001
From journal A Desert Oasis even in the Summer