In one moment, you’re in a sweltering desert brimming with prickly cactuses and jagged sandstone rock formations. A few minutes later, you’re enjoying a cool breeze while standing in a field of lush grass surrounded by verdant pine trees.
This may sound hard to believe, but thanks to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, it is very much a reality. The tramway, one of Palm Springs’ most popular attractions, provides daily transportation to Mt. San Jacinto State Park, a 14,000-acre wilderness area that affords an abundance of scenic views and more than 50 miles of hiking trails to explore.
To get there, the tramway, which boasts the world’s largest rotating tramcars, embarks upon a nearly 6,000-foot 2.5-mile ascent that takes all of 10 minutes. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley and the transition of the flora from cactuses and desert shrubs to towering pine trees. Once you arrive at the top of the tramway, about 8,500 feet above sea level, you’ll discover a host of fun things to see and do regardless of the season.
In the winter, you can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and all the gear you’ll need is available for rent at the Winter Adventure Center. In the summer, traverse the many hiking trails in the area or go on a free guided nature walk, which is a great way to get to know the local flora and fauna.
All of this outdoor activity will probably help you work up quite the appetite. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far for a satisfying meal. There are two restaurants located at the top of the tramway: Peaks Restaurant and Pines Cafe. Peaks Restaurant offers dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients and an unbeatable view of the Coachella Valley, while Pines Cafe is a cafeteria-style eatery that is open for lunch and dinner. If you want get a drink, make sure to visit The Lookout Lounge, a cocktail bar located near the two restaurants.
No vacation to Palm Springs is complete without a visit to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a must do during your next stay at Cimarron Golf Resort. The tram is available year-round and tickets can be purchased online at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s website.