Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Visit to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

On our way to this year's Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival we stopped at the edge of town to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The tramway, which opened in 1963, is the second-highest vertical tram in the world and the largest rotating aerial tram in the world.

Passengers are carried roughly two and a half miles up into the San Jacinto Mountains, a journey which takes approximately ten minutes. The floor inside the tram rotates slowly so that everyone's view changes periodically as the car travels.

Click any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.

The mountain station, at 8516 feet, contains restaurants, a museum, movie viewing areas, a gift shop, and more. I enjoyed our lunch, as well as an interesting movie about the construction of the tram. Hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and guided nature walks are available seasonally.

I hadn't ridden the tram since my high school choir sang Christmas carols in the restaurant, a very memorable occasion! I especially remember singing carols riding the car as it descended, with the lights of Palm Springs in the distance. It was my husband's first time to ride it, and he really enjoyed the experience.

Palm Springs viewed from 8516 feet:

At the top of the mountain it was roughly 40 degrees cooler than in Palm Springs, in the low 50s, but while cool, it was also sunny and pleasant.

Food and supplies for the restaurant are delivered in the aerial cars, which also have water tanks to supply the station above.

Here's a view of the other car coming up as we were headed back down:

This is the view just as we began our descent down. The ride is a tiny bit nerve-wracking, especially as the car "flies" off each tower station it passes, but on the whole I enjoyed it and would do it again.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a unique experience I recommend to my fellow Southern Californians, as well as to future visitors to the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival.


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