Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you are visiting Palm Springs for the first time or the 10th time, I highly recommend experiencing the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

It is an attraction that I would visit again and again.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is not only fun to ride but the views from it are also simply stunning. 

I was blown away by the views from the higher elevations as you get closer to Mount San Jacinto. 

We were lucky to ride the tramcar during sunset and the way that the colors from the sun reflected on the different canyon surfaces was truly magical. 

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know for visiting the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

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What is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway?

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating tramcar in the world that transports you up to an elevation of 8,516 feet in about 10 minutes. 

You start at Valley Station which is where you go through security, buy your tickets if you haven’t already, and load the tramcar.

Once you get to the top, also called Mountain Station, you will exit the tramcar, and you are at Mount San Jacinto State Park.

When you are ready to leave Mountain Station, just go back to the waiting area for the next tramcar and take the 10 minute ride back down to the valley. 

How to get to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway?

You will need to drive to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. 

Google maps can give you precise directions there. From wherever you are coming from, you will eventually turn up Tramway Road. 

Parking is $12 unless you live locally in the Coachella Valley. 

There are a number of different parking lots. Next to each lot, it will let you know if parking is full or not. 

I would try to park in the closest parking lot to Valley Station that you can. 

There are shuttles available from the further parking lots to the tram station although I am not sure of the hours. 

When we departed from our tram after getting back to Valley Station, there were some people that had parked one of the far parking lots, and no shuttle seemed to be running anymore. 

If you do have to park in a further lot, I would inquire about the shuttle schedule if you want to make sure you have a ride back to your car. 

People walking up and down the stairs at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station

How much does it cost to go on the tram?

Adults cost $29.95 while children ages 3-10 are $17.95. There is a discount for senior citizens.

Additionally, there is a ride and dine option which includes a meal in the Pines Cafe up at the Mountain Station. 

I would only do the ride and dine option if you know you want the exact meal that is on the menu. You can see the menu here.

What is the weather like?

Mountain Station is at an elevation of 8,516 feet so the weather is always cooler than down in the valley.

Make sure you check the weather at Mountain Station before you get into your car to head to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Also, think about what shoes you are wearing because when we visited, it was 100 degrees in the valley and Mountain Station had snow. 

Everything You Need to Know about the Tramcar and Ride

The ride is 10 minutes each way. 

Additionally, the tramcar rotates continuously as you are transported up and down the canyon. You will want to hold onto the handles in the tramcar.

The tramcar is standing room only. This was a surprise to me. For some reason I assumed we would get to sit.

It is wheelchair accessible, and you could bring a stroller as well!

There is no heat or air conditioning in the tramcar. They did have the windows cracked open for good airflow. It was actually a very comfortable temperature in the tramcar.

When in the tramcar, be ready for a fun ride with out of this world views! The tramcar guide plays really great music that you can sing-a-long too, and everyone enjoyed doing just that.  

When riding in the tramcar, you definitely have the feeling that you are flying although I do not expect that anyone would get motion sickness if you have someone in your group susceptible to that. 

I am one that can get motion sickness fairly easily, and I did not have a problem at all!

Palms Springs tramcar

Mountain Station: Things To Do and Dining

At Mountain Station there are a number of great observation areas. 

Additionally, once at Mountain Station, there are plenty of hiking trails although we did not do any hiking on our visit.

In the winter, when there is snow, the Adventure Center rents snowshoes and cross country skis. You do need to be there earlier in the day in order to rent these. You can also bring a plastic sled or buy one in the gift shop. 

Also, at Mountain Station there is a super small natural history museum along with a couple of theaters showing videos about the State Park.

There is also a gift shop.

Finally, there are two restaurants and a bar area. One of the restaurants is more formal while the other is a grab and go restaurant. 

We ate at the grab and go restaurant and sat in the beautiful seating area with large windows. They have a variety of food including pizza, nachos, fries, vegetarian lasagna, mashed potatoes, corn, baked chicken, BBQ pork ribs, and so much more.

The grab and go is great especially with kids because everyone can easily get what they want to eat, and it is super quick. 

You could even eat at a picnic table outside if you wanted!

I recommend planning your visit around a meal so you can enjoy lunch or dinner or at least a snack. 

If you want to enjoy a cocktail at Mountain Station you definitely can do that too!

What should I bring to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway?

– Coat, jacket, or sweatshirt if the temperature at Mountain Station requires that

– Any winter gear you will want to wear–hats, gloves, boots, etc. if it is cold and snowy

Hiking or athletic shoes if you want to do some hiking or walking the trails

– Plastic sled if you want to do some sledding

Water bottle

Tips for Visiting the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

  • Make sure you check the tram’s hours on the website. They can change based on time of year and whether it’s a weekday or weekend.
  • Parking can be hectic so plan to visit early or later in the day. I would probably avoid mid-day. We went at the end of April on a weekday around 5pm. We parked in the closest lot and had to wait in a very short line to get a ticket.
  • Tickets can be purchased online if they are available. When I had checked online the day we went, there were no times available to purchase a ticket. We just went on our own and were easily able to buy a ticket at the Valley Station and get on a tramcar right away. During busy times the wait may be longer.  
  • You will need to go through security before entering Valley Station. 
  • Remember to wear proper shoes for hiking and/or being at a cooler temperature.
  • If you want to spend some time outside at Mountain Station, make sure you are dressed for it!
  • Savor being up at Mountain Station–enjoy a meal,  a short nature hike, or simply soak in the views. 
Picnic tables overlooking mountains and evergreens with paved paths and some snow on the ground

Visit Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Your family is going to LOVE the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

It is definitely one of the most unique attractions in Palm Springs. Click here to discover more family friendly attractions in Palm Springs.

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May you LOVE your adventure. KW

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