The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. It was opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon. The tram travels through four temperate zones which is the equivalent of traveling from Africa to Alaska. The floor of the 18-foot-diameter (5.5 m) aerial tram cars rotates constantly, making two complete revolutions throughout the duration of the journey so that the passengers can see in all directions without moving. With a maximum capacity of 80 passengers, it is the largest of the four rotating aerial trams in the world. Passengers disembark at the Mountain Station in the alpine wilderness of Long Valley and Mount San Jacinto State Park. The air can be as much as 40 °F (22 °C) cooler at the top than in the desert. Visitors can walk along nature trails or play in the snow in the winter months. There are two restaurants at the summit, one of which specializes in fine dining. Both stations have gift shops specializing in Aerial Tramway-related merchandise as well as educational toys. A video presentation of the history of the attraction plays continuously in a theater at the Mountain Station. It was produced by Palm Springs television station KESQ-TV with voiceovers provided by Palm Springs radio personalities. The view at the top can stretch northward for more than 200 mi (320 km) on a clear day, all the way to Mount Charleston north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Views to the east and west can stretch as far as 75 mi (121 km). California’s Salton Sea is plainly visible to the southeast.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car—travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your approximately ten-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. Once you reach the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet—enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails.