Palm Springs aerial tram to resume mountain swoops

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway climbs Mt. San Jacinto from 2,643 feet above sea level to 8,516 feet.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, famed for carrying guests in a steel-and-glass bubble from a desert canyon to a mountaintop, will reopen Friday morning after a long COVID-19 closure. It will be operating at less than 25% capacity with many new restrictions.

As before, the journey will take about 10 minutes. In the Valley Station and Mountain Station and in transit, masks are required (not neck gaiters or masks with vents), distancing is mandatory and temperatures will be taken before boarding.

Management has promised touchless ticketing, increased cleaning and electrostatic sanitization, with antimicrobial tape on handrails and open windows.

The rotating tram cars, billed as the largest of their kind, date to 1963. Their prepandemic capacity was 80 passengers per car. For now, they will carry no more than 12 passengers each, a spokesman said.

Visitors (even those who are annual passholders) will need to book their trips in advance, the tram’s management said in a release. Adult fare is $26.95, the same as before the pandemic. The parking fee of $10 for most vehicles is a $2 increase from pre-COVID prices.


At the top of the tram route, about 8,500 feet above sea level, you can take a short hike in Long Valley or head 6 miles each way to Mount San Jacinto peak. Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness is open for day use.. The nearby San Bernardino National Forest partially reopened Friday.

At the Valley Station, management said, the Tramway History Museum, Cascade Patio and the Tram View patio will be open but the Valley Station Gift Shop and Cascade Cafe will remain closed for now.

At the top, the Mountain Station Gift Shop, Desert View Terrace, Santa Rosa Theater and the Natural History Museum will be open. Peaks Restaurant, Lookout Lounge and San Jacinto Theater will remain closed until further notice. (The Pines Cafe will be selling sandwiches, salads and drinks.)

The tram closed on March 13. It is set to resume at 8 a.m. Friday. The last car of the day goes up at 4:20 p.m. and comes down at 6 p.m.