The World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar – Palm Springs, California
One of the things that surprised us most about Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley was the size of the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains that rest on the eastern side of the valley.
The rugged mountain range reaches heights over 10,000 feet, which is almost 4-times the height of the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – 2,723 feet).
A popular way to experience the rocky desert mountains is to take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, proudly labeled as the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.
Feeling like we should peel ourselves from the poolside loungers for an afternoon adventure, we decided to take Baby B up the mountain tram to check out the desert views. Fortunately for us, the aerial tramway is located close to the apartment complex that we were staying at in Palm Springs.
Having never been on a “rotating aerial tramway”, we were curious to see what it was all about.
Basically, the tram car has a rotating floor that makes two complete revolutions during each trip, allowing passengers to soak up the views from every direction.
It’s an interesting ride that rewards visitors with outstanding views of the rocky Chino Canyon and the desert plains of the Coachella Valley (pictured above).
Baby B hiding from the sun on the ride up.
The trip takes about 10 minutes and ascends 2.5 miles from Valley Station to Mountain Station
The mountain station lookout point – elevation 8,516 ft
The Coachella Valley and Palm Springs
Mountain station lookout point – notice the snow under the platform.
The mountain station is also the entry point to Mt. San Jacinto State Park, offering hikers 54 miles of hiking trails and over 14,000 acres of wilderness to explore.
We had good intentions of going on a hike in the park but only got a couple hundred meters before Baby B decided he wasn’t having any of it and started screaming. We’re quickly learning that outdoor adventures are much different when you have a baby!
Needless to say, we turned around and decided to have lunch in the restaurant instead.
Family portrait at the mountain station lookout
The road to the Valley Station at the base of the magnificent Chino Canyon
Travel Tip – Bring a coat and dress warm, it’s cold and windy when you get to the top. It’s hard to imagine wearing jeans and sweaters when you’re sitting by the pool in the hot desert sun, but you will suffer if you don’t prepare for cold weather. The park boasts snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter, but there was very little snow at the time of our visit in early February.
Have you taken a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway?
Share your experience in the comments section below!