From balmy 64 degrees in Palm Springs to a chilly 31 degrees (20 degrees, if you include the wind chill factor) in the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, the Palm Springs tram climbs a heart-stopping 8,516 feet. For my hometown friends, remember White Pass over the Cascade Mountains is 4,000 feet. Puts the trip into perspective.
The tram is the largest rotating tram car in the world. I am emphasizing rotating, I am also noting rocking, and add a little bobbing up and down as the car transitions over each tower. All the while traversing sheer granite cliff columns. The ride up was packed with people. My cheeks were darn near smashed on the glass smearing the surface as the thing spun around. Not quite accurate, but you get the picture. The trip up was stressful, but the less crowded ride down allowed us to see the change from pine to cactus.
Once at the top, it was all worthwhile. The massive rocks and cliffs had a skiff of snow all sparkling under a bright, blue sky. And you can see for miles down the desert valley. Fun to pick out all the green golf courses.
We had a wonderful steak dinner at Peaks Restaurant—every seat has a view—hard to take your eyes off of it. Amazing considering all the food and drink is hauled up on the tram cars.