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Friday, January 27, 2012

San Jacinto State Park Palm Springs CA

The first hike of my "12 in 2012"  hiking adventure is at the San Jacinto State Park in Palm Springs, CA.

When we asked residents of Palm Springs the best place to go, they responded San Jacinto Aerial Tramway.  So, that's where we decided to go.  This wasn't a strenuous hike since we used the tram to get to the trail.  You can choose to do the 4 mile round trip hike to Round Valley or the 11 mile round trip to San Jacinto Peak. We chose the 4 miler with an elevation gain of only 600ft.

Once you get to the parking lot, you will enter the tram terminal where you will pay $23.95 per adult and $16.95 per child.  Ouch, that's a bit steep, but this was our plan for the day, so we continued.

After you pay you will get in line to enter the tram (didn't take too long) and you are off.  The one thing that really threw me off was the fact that the inside of the tram was spinning the entire ride.  Very slowly, but in order for everyone to get a great view, the floor of the tram spun.  This was a bit off-putting especially if you were afraid of heights as you had to continue to change your grip on the handrails in order to hold on.  Also, if you are like me, this can cause a bit of motion sickness.  I actually took a half of a Dramamine just in case.

The aerial tram takes you up 2 1/2 miles to the Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness Park.  At the top there is a building with souvenirs, bathrooms and even a restaurant.  We decided to eat at the restaurant first to beat the lunch crowd.

Then we were finally off on our hiking adventure.  It was extremely hot while we were in Palm Springs, but by the time we got off the tram, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees due to the elevation.  So, we had to put our coats on.

The hike is fairly flat except for the steep cement walkway you encounter the first and last 1000 or so feet at the beginning and end of the hiking path.

The views were beautiful and the path was well maintained.  We came across a tiny stream and some huge and amazing rocks to climb on and see some beautiful mountain and valley views.  We completed the loop in about an hour and 15 minutes and had a great time.  We even saw a gray squirrel with the biggest, fluffiest tail you have ever seen.  We found out it was a gray squirrel because they had a tiny museum of stuffed native animals on display.  Pretty neat.

All in all a fun hike with great views.  The boys loved the tram and both got something fun in the souvenir shop.  The price tag was a bit steep for my blood, but it was a great experience so I guess it was worth it.

Our ride back down.
To get here from Interstate 10, exit on California Hwy 111 (the road to Palm Springs). Proceed nine miles to Tramway Road, turn right, and follow the road 3.5 miles to its end at Valley Station.

There are bathrooms at the parking lot station and at the top.  Bring a jacket since the temperature decreases quite a bit when you get to the top.


  1. Lovely views! Cable cars are great - I love the idea of a rotating one :)

  2. Great views. As a skier, I love riding anything that dangles from a cable :) Looks like a fun way to get to the top of a mountain! What's your next hike?

  3. I actually did this hike but to the peak 2 years ago. I totally plan to take my boyfriend back this summer as it was a great trip! We actually did this hike as a backpack and our total miles was over 18 when we were said and done. I loved it. The tram ride is pretty crazy, but as long as I watched one point I was okay.
    I would love to see what trips you have planned!

  4. Did you go to the top? With the sign?

    1. I guess not. I don't think we knew about it at the time. Plus I didn't have all my hiking gear since we were on vacation. Next time:)