I rode an aerial tramway 2.5 miles up into the San Jacinto Mountains in about 12 minutes. Me, who got sick twice on the drive up Haleakala on Maui, actually had fun on this trip up the mountain in California. It really was exhilarating and I took these pictures on the ride up. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has the largest rotating tram cars in the world, built by Von Roll Tramways in Olten, Switzerland. The cars can each hold 80 people, but there were less than half that on our trip up. So as the floor slowly rotated, we all had window views. (The tram car picture is from a brochure, the others taken with my Samsung Galaxy 6.)
The trip begins at the Valley Station at 2,643 feet elevation, middle row picture on the left. When you reach the Mountain Station (middle row, right) you’re at 8,516 feet. It was 92 degrees at the start and a refreshingly brisk 54 degrees at the tram station up top.
The mountain views and the bottom picture showing some of the Coachella Valley were taken as we travelled beginning in the Sonora Desert through five distinct life zones ending in Alpine wilderness.
The mountains are home to bighorn sheep, mountain lions, coyote, raccoons, foxes — but we were lucky to see a bushy tailed gray squirrel. When you reach the top, you’ve arrived at Mt. San Jacinto State Park, with a ranger station, campgrounds and 54 miles of hiking trails for everyone from novices to experts, which some of our group tried out. My right knee was still bothering me so I only hiked as far as the gift shop 😉