salton sea

Wild Sides

See an inland sea, play in the snow, encounter one-of-a-kind critters, and experience other outdoor wonders in and around the Coachella Valley.

Derrik J. Lang Attractions, Current Guide

salton sea
The Salton Sea.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER
The Big Blue

A stunning sight to behold, the Salton Sea is one of the world’s largest inland seas and lowest spots on Earth. Located southeast from Indio, the 343-square-mile body of saline water was originally envisioned as a desert resort. Today, decades of unfortunate decay have left it in a state of ecological disarray, aka look don’t swim. saltonsea.ca.gov

ask a local

Marjorie De La Cruz
Vice President of Human Resources & Risk Management, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

A Palm Springs native, de la Cruz has been with the tramway for 17 years and has overseen operations in her current role for the past nine years.

What’s different about the tramway experience since you’ve reopened?

“Though we have implemented new procedures in response to COVID-19, what has made the tramway an unforgettable experience since the day we opened in 1963 remains the same — breathtaking views, fresh mountain air, the thrill of the tram ride. While our guests will notice the health and safety protocols we’ve instituted, such as reduced tram car capacities, we believe the tramway experience continues to be as magical as ever.

marjoriedelacruztrampalmsprings

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MARJORIE DE LA CRUZ

Marjorie De La Cruz

Out of This World

While humanity itself hasn’t made the trek to Mars, a hike amongst the Indio Hills badlands will make you feel as if you’ve stepped onto the red planet. The trail traverses twisted rocks and slot canyons along the San Andreas Fault that have formed over millions of years — and look like something out of a Star Wars movie. parks.ca.gov

PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE GERBER

Snow Day

While powder is never guaranteed, temperatures are about 30 degrees lower after taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway two-and-one-half miles up from the desert floor to Mt. San Jacinto State Park, a forest wonderland where snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available in the right conditions. pstramway.com

Desert Oasis

At the Coachella Valley Preserve near Thousand Palms, there are more than 25 miles of hiking trails, but the mirage-like Simone Pond and rarer-than-rare wildlife make this 20,000-acre sanctuary feel magical. coachellavalleypreserve.org

Animal Crossing

A trip to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is like journeying to Australia, Africa, Mexico, and the Colorado Desert all in one. The 1,800-acre Palm Desert institution features flora and fauna from the world’s deserts, including the opportunity to feed giraffes and mingle with wallabies. livingdesert.org

thelivingdesertcalifornia

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTINA FRARY