Are you thinking about heading up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to do some hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains? You should! It’s beautiful and amazing, perhaps more importantly, during the summer it can be up to 40 degrees cooler up there!
Here are some tips for when you head up to 8,516 feet (the elevation of the Mountain Station) for a hike:
This should go without saying anytime you hike. If you are looking for an easier way than lugging a bottle around with you, invest in a good Camelbak. You should also be sure to be fully hydrated before you even head up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, so maybe lay off the coffee that morning and the booze the night before. While you are at it, bring food with you (for the trail and for after your hike…more on that below).
Related: Headed up the Palm Springs Tram? Here’s how to get tickets at a discount.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
The views are absolutely incredible. Don’t be in a rush. Enjoy it. Get there early though, as if you miss the last tram down, you are camping out for the night ????.
Wear Good Shoes
It’s amazing to see how many people head up the Tram wearing flip flops. DON’T DO THIS. Even if you are just going up to chill and not looking for a hardcore hike, you are still going to want to at least check out the short 1.5 mile Desert View Trail loop that gives you some amazing views of the Coachella Valley. So get some good hiking boots or shoes.
Bring a Picnic Basket / Cooler
The food at the Mountain Station is…well…um…it’s not exactly French Laundry and everything is pretty pricey (one bottle of CVB beer goes for $15 ????). But, that doesn’t matter since you can bring grub and a couple of beers up with you and put it in a locker ($1.25 in quarters) while you go do your thing on the mountain.
Get a Hiking Permit
If you are going on a trail other than the Desert View Loop, you are going to pass by a ranger station. Fill out a permit here before you go any further. For one, they are required (and free!) – and two, the rangers will have your info should you end up getting lost and not returning to drop off your copy of the permit.
Bring Imodium A.D.
Not everyone suffers from bowel issues at high elevations – but some people do. Might one of those people be you? You won’t find out until you get up there, so you might just wanna be prepared with some pills.
Stay on the Trails
There are plenty of amazing, well marked trails on top of the mountain. Stay on them!!!
Yes, it is cooler up on the mountain – but that sun will burn you up just like it does in the desert. Put on the sunscreen and bring extra to put more on later.
Don’t be a Jerk
Be cool to others you see on the trails. Give them room to pass, be sure to give those going uphill the right of way, and don’t blast music on anything other than your headphones.
Get a Season Pass
If you are planning on going up the Tram a few times during the summer, buy a summer season pass for $80. A pass will basically pay for itself once you have gone up three or more times. Plus you can get a 10% discount for friends.
The Ramp is Hell
No matter how long your hike, save some energy for the end because the ramp back up from the valley to the Mountain Station is PURE HELL!!! I can think of no worse way to end an 11-mile round-trip hike to San Jacinto Peak than to have to ascend the path from hell, but that’s what happens.
Enjoy your hike at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway!
Have a tip that should be added? Add it in the comments. And check out our tips for riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway here.