“Go up there where it’s nice and cool” was the lifelong dream of the young electrical engineer, Francis F. Crocker. His dream was dubbed, ‘Crocker’s Folly’ . Almost 30 years later, in 1963, Crocker’s dream became a reality…
Known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram is a wonderful two and a half mile ride in the world’s largest rotating tram car. The 80-passenger cars revolve slowly from within, providing a spectacular 360 degree view of the Coachella Valley floor and surrounding area.
The Aerial Tramway makes its breathtaking ascent every 20 minutes as it glides high above the rugged, sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon on the north edge of Palm Springs California. Palm Springs is located about two hours by car from Los Angeles and San Diego. The Aerial Tram was the lifelong dream of Francis F. Crocker, and construction of the tram system began in 1935. It was completed almost thirty years later and was designated as an historical civil engineering landmark. The attraction opened in September of 1963 and since that time, over 12 million people have taken the tram.
The ride begins at the Valley Station which is in Chino Canyon near Palm Springs at an elevation of 2,643 feet. The tram takes passengers to Mountain Station on Mount San Jacinto at an elevation of 8,516 feet. This breathtaking 15 minute ride through five unique life zones from the hot Mexican Sonoran Desert to an Alpine wilderness is compared to taking a road trip from Mexico to Alaska.
The Mountain Station features viewpoints, two restaurants, a cocktail lounge, gift shop, museum and theatre which shows three films on the history of the Tramway. There are 14,000 acres of Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Areas to explore that features 54 miles of hiking trails that wind among primitive, lush pines and pristine mountain meadows.
There are campgrounds, picnic areas with barbecue stoves and restrooms, a ranger station, guided nature walks, a ski center, a self-guiding nature trail, and the Adventure Center. In winter, the snow is deep enough for skiing, cross-country, snowshoeing or snow tubing. Snow camping for the more adventurous and well-experienced is also available. The Adventure Center is open mid-November through mid-April, snow-conditions permitting, for snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals.
The tram is open 7 days a week, year-round, including holidays, and runs at least every half hour beginning at 10 a.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. weekends and holiday periods. The last car up is at 8 pm each evening with the last car down at 9:45 p.m. The restaurants are open daily for lunch and dinner. For additional information call: 760-325-1449. Ticket prices are: Adults: $21.00. Children: $14.00 (3-12). Seniors: $19.00 (60+).
A temperature change of about 30 degrees is seen between the Valley Station and The Mountain Station, and makes the Palm Springs Aerial Tram a particularly popular summertime destination for the residents of the Palm Springs area.