This was maybe one of the scariest things I've ever done for a blog post, and I never saw it coming. I'm not scared of heights, so the 8k foot ascension above the Sonoran Desert on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram sounded like a great idea when they invited Sallie and I aboard. Then suddenly, I was in a glass bubble that was slowly rotating up a cable into the San Jacinto mountains, and....it was incredible.
Somewhere along the way up, the terrain changes from dusty desert to a heavily wooded forest, closely resembling those where I live, far in the north of the state. It was an oasis unlike what you'd typically expect in a place where average temperatures can, and regularly do, reach 116 degrees fahrenheit. An alpine forest, the state park is significantly cooler than the land below it. Walking into the ground lobby, where you board your tram, and then the lodge at the top of the mountains, I almost forgot where I was. It reminded me of lodges in Europe, with their rickety wood paneling and dark restaurants. Outside, you feel like you're in a National Park ad, with the few tourists who found this gem, and the regulars who know where to locate a good hike meandering among the meticulously maintained paths.
According to the guide, you pass through five different biomes on the way up, and it's easy to believe. The landscapes change drastically. Or maybe it just looks like that because they're getting smaller and smaller.
10/10 would recommend taking a bit of a hike up to the Tramway if you're looking for something different to do - or even just the slightest bit of a cool breeze in Southern California.
ps. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway runs year round, minus holidays, and tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance.
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