Chill Out

Explore the wintry wonders at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

It’s easy to forget about snow while basking poolside in the mild desert climate. But frostier temperatures — and even snow — are just minutes away at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

December is the perfect time to experience the spectacular vistas and jaw-dropping ascent on one of the world’s largest rotating tramcars. The 10-minute ride showcases the jagged, inhospitable Chino Canyon from the Valley Station — elevation 2,643 feet — to the Mountain Station, at elevation 8,516 feet. Count on at least a 30-degree drop in temps at the top, so bundle up. You can build a snowman or have a snowball fight — and then descend to the valley for a quick round of golf the same day.

The tram kicks off its holiday celebrations with the annual tree lighting Dec. 1, with author and Bionic Woman star Lindsay Wagner flipping the switch. The event, held at the Mountain Station, starts at 5:30 p.m. and features a performance by the Palm Springs High School Choir. The tram also offers holiday concerts by local choirs each weekend from Dec. 6  to Dec. 21, with shows at 5 and 7 p.m. Grab the youngsters — and the young at heart — and head up the mountain to meet Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 21.

Extended holiday hours run from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5, with the first car traveling up at 8 a.m. and last car down at 9:45 p.m. For a full-on winter wonderland experience, spend the day exploring the snow-mantled woods at the adjacent 14,000-acre Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. Relax amid the hushed splendor of 54 miles of hiking trails framed by majestic Ponderosa pines.

After getting in touch with your inner Lewis and Clark, feed your growling tummy at one of the two eateries, open for lunch and dinner, located at the top of the tram. Peaks Restaurant offers sumptuous cuisine coupled with magnificent views. Reservations are recommended. For more casual fare, the Pines Café cafeteria-style restaurant serves delicious edibles in a more informal setting; no reservations are needed. One Tram Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-1391. Grab a sneak peek of weather conditions via the Tram Cams at

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

The Colbert Report

Now 74, Bighorn resident Jim Colbert has played nearly every Coachella Valley course of note, and he has favorite holes on all of them. Asked to narrow them down, he short-listed these six.

Call of the Wild

The release of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling book,Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was made into a movie, has broughts lots of hikers to the Pacific Crest Trail's run through Palm Desert.

Golf Club Restoration Gives New Life to College of the Desert Golf Center

Rod Collins has helped transform a once-cluttered space at the College of the Desert Golf Center in Palm Desert into an active retail showroom and workshop for golf club restoration and customized design.

Coachella Valley Golf Courses Challenge All Levels of Players

Coachella Valley Golf Courses present an opportunity to enjoy the sport regardless of your level of play.

Where to Play Tennis in Greater Palm Springs

Grab your racquet and head for one of these public tennis courts in the Greater Palm Springs area.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the four 2015-2016 Broadway Blockbusters Series shows.
Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags