Palm Springs Aerial Tramway


The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a great way to beat the heat of Palm Springs and spend time in the mountains. The tram takes you up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park (8,516 feet), where there are plenty of hiking trails and campgrounds you can enjoy. It makes a great place for any van or RV nomad to spend the day exploring the wilderness. 


The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is your ticket to another side of Palm Springs that most tourists don’t see. It’s the world’s largest rotating tram and transports riders 2.5 miles to the pristine wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your approximately ten-minute journey the tram car will rotate slowly offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. 

Once you reach the top you will arrive at Mountain Station. From there you can spend the day hiking, bird watching, or finding a great place to camp. If you want a more leisurely experience you can enjoy the restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, a gift shop at the mountain station. 


Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking trails.  All trails are accessed by exiting the Mountain Station and descending a concrete pathway to Long Valley. There you will find picnic tables, the ranger station, flush toilets, and several easy trails.

Map: Mt San Jacinto State Park Trail Map

The most popular hiking trails are:

  • Long Valley Discovery Trail (1.5 Miles Easy)
  • Roud Valley Trail (2.5 Miles Easy)
  • San Jacinto Peak (5.5 MIles Moderate)


There are six primitive campgrounds within the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area. You must camp within the designated campgrounds and get a camping permit. The closest campground to the Tram is picturesque Round Valley.

Application: Mt San Jacinto Camping Wilderness Permit Application

Camping permits may be obtained in advance by mail or in-person and cost $5. Mount San Jacinto State Park accepts up to 56 days in advance. You can also get them on the day of your trip, if any are available at that time. Send your application with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness
P.O. Box 308
(25905 Highway 243)
Idyllwild, CA 92549
(951) 659-2607


There is RV and large van parking available at the tram station. The parking fee is $10.

References and Links


Indian Canyons

Indian Canyons makes a wonderful adventure for any van or RV nomad who wants to hike and learn more about the Indian culture surrounding Palm Springs. It’s comprised of Palm, Andreas, and Murry Canyons. Each canyon offers trails that take you back into these vast canyons with their towering walls. During the winter and spring months, the river will be flowing, and the wildlife will be on display.

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Whitewater Preserve

The Whitewater Preserve is a great place to visit if you are traveling through the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree areas. The preserve has the Whitewater River which runs year-round going through it which supplies water to its pools. The canyon has a robust population of bighorn sheep, deer, bears, and is an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

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