San Jacinto Peak via the Palm Springs Aerial Tram ~ Slow Paced


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

1 Tram Way · Palm Springs, CA

How to find us

We'll be inside Valley Station near the ticket counter and will purchase our tickets at the same time, each person paying their own way.

Location image of event venue



The San Jacinto Mountain range is one of those magical places that lures hikers back year after year. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway makes it easy for hikers to enter Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness. The tramcar rapidly leaves terra firma behind. Too rapidly, you think. It carries you over one of the most abrupt mountain faces in the world, over cliffs only a bighorn sheep can scale, over several life zones from palms to pines. When you disembark at Mountain Station, your ears will pop and you’ll have quite a head start up Mount San Jacinto.


Distance: 11 miles round trip (This does not include the distance traveled on the tram.)

Summit: 10,834ft (This is a high altitude climb!)

Elevation gain: 2,300ft

Rating: 8/10 (Due to altitude and elevation gain, not trail difficulty)

Class 3 Scrambling: (See Rating Scale below) The last 100 yards or so to the summit involve some boulder-hopping, but it's nothing technical that would require any special equipment. You may wish to include a pair of gloves in your pack as they could come in handy.


We will assemble by 7:30am, buy tickets etc. and plan on taking the Aerial Tram up at 8:00am. Once at the top, everyone needs to sign in at the Ranger station for a free wilderness permit. Our plan is to return to the Tram around 5:00pm. For those interested, we'll follow the hike with dinner in Palm Springs, restaurant TBD.


You will need to purchase a Tram ticket for this hike. The cost is $26.95 for adults. You can purchase at the Tram station or online via their web site. AAA offers a discount, but the ticket must be purchased in person at the Tram. For further info visit:


As of Aug. 30, 2019, parking at the tram station was $8. Cash and credit/debit cards are accepted.


From Interstate 10, exit on California Hwy 111. Proceed nine miles to Tramway Road, turn right, and follow the road 3.5 miles to its end at Valley Station. Park your car, gear up and go into the tram station. Look for us inside near the ticket booth. Tickets are sold only for the next available tram, so you won't want to buy a ticket and return to your car to get your gear.


Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!

1 – A long walk

2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain

3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain

4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)

5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)

6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)

7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)

8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)

9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)

10 – Use your imagination

Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.

PLEASE - Know your limits and abilities. Bring and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while carrying on a conversation with awesome fellow hikers can be extremely challenging, rewarding and fun!