I think I’ve already established here on the blog that weekends must be spent outdoors. Roan and I just couldn’t let weekends go to waste by simply hanging on the couch, watching Netflix. No, that’s not how we roll. The weekend following the Fourth of July, Roan took me to Palm Springs, CA. Here are some quick facts about the city you might be interested to know:
- Palm Springs is 123 miles northeast of San Diego, and is located in the Coachella Valley.
- Its original name was Agua Caliente, which means “hot water.”
- Palm Springs has a hot desert climate with over 300 days of sunshine year-round.
- Palm Springs has one of the highest concentration of same-sex couples of any community in the United States.
- Palm Springs has the largest concentration of mid-century modern residential architecture in the world, showcased every February during the 11-day Modernism Week celebration.
Roan and I failed to set our alarm clock, hence we left San Diego three hours than we had originally planned. It was kind of annoying at first, but we eventually laughed it off because there’s really not much we could do. Fortunately, our drive up north was a breeze because everyone else was going the opposite way to attend this year’s San Diego Comic Convention. We only needed to make a quick stop at Starbucks somewhere in Temecula to grab breakfast since we literally scurried off upon realizing that we’re late.
We arrived in the vicinity of Palm Springs about two hours or so later. We knew we’re no longer within the coastal area when the temperature spiked from the mid-70s to 100s. As we got closer to our destination, the side roads were looking more and more like a desert.
Our first stop: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Roan had been wanting to go since he’s heard about the place, but thought better, and held back until I got here in the US. I’m glad he did because it makes a trip even more interesting if both of us are first-timers. Peeling off of Highway 111, we took a 3-mile drive to the parking area. There was ample parking space for everyone, and each were conveniently labeled in alphabetical order to serve as reference for park-goers.
Instead of hiking another mile up the Valley Station, a trolley bus conveniently picked us up at the waiting shed, and took us there. On weekends, the first tram leaves at 8:00AM with 15-minute interval in between trips. Roan and I took the 11:00AM trip, and I must say that the gap gives off a fancy waiting-on-the-next-train-ride vibe.
The famous rotating aerial tram could hold a maximum capacity of 80 passengers in one trip. The 10-minute, 2.5-mile tram ride begins at the Valley Station (2,643 feet above sea level) and ends at the Mountain Station (8,516 feet above sea level). I couldn’t believe my eyes when we alighted from the tram. It was as if we were transported to another place beyond California! Seeing high mountains and an abundance of forest trees from a distance—I only imagined them in colder places like Canada.
Outside the Mountain Station is a way leading to the Mountain Jacinto State Park. There are several hiking trails to choose from, each with varying distances. I think Roan and I trudged on the Long Valley trail, we encountered hummingbirds, blue jays, and squirrels along the way. Exploring the forest absolutely felt like we were one with nature.
Roan and I were both famished by the time we got back at the Mountain Station, which was about an hour or so later. It’s a good thing that there were two dining options: Peaks Restaurant (fine-dining) and Pines Café (cafeteria-style), both of which caters lunch and dinner. We had French Dip Sandwiches for lunch, and they were so good! Besides the dining area, there are also a souvenir gift shop and a mini-museum other guests may look into if they prefer to stay indoors.
We were supposed to go with family on this trip, but none of them could make it. I wonder what Palm Springs look like in the fall/winter season; there’s only one way to find out…
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tram Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262