Calif. tram pass offers taste of winter

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway introduced an annual pass good for unlimited travel on the scenic tram ride up the side of Mount San Jacinto.

The pass, which costs $110 for adults and $80 for children between the ages of 5 and 12, was prompted by the success of the tram-way's Cool Summer Pass, according to general manager, Bob Leo. "We are convinced that many people rediscovered the tramway thanks to the Cool Summer Pass," he said. "We want to remind them that it is an all-season attraction with something for everyone. It's enjoyable just to come up for cool, fresh mountain air."

The mountain in winter offers people in Southern California -- especially those in the desert communities -- one of the few places within easy reach where they can see, and play in, snow. What are hiking and mule ride trails in summer become cross-country skiing, snow tubing and snow-shoeing areas.

The ride to the upper station and the tramway's Alpine Restaurant, takes about 15 minutes, covering a total distance of 12,800 feet and ascending vertically 5,873 feet. The views of the Coachella Valley from the 80-passenger trams on the way up, and from the upper station, are one of the major attractions of the service.

The lower terminal is located on the outskirts of the city of Palm Springs, on Highway 111, which runs through town from Interstate 10.

The trams start running at 10 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends; the last tram up leaves the valley floor at 8 p.m. and the last return is 9:45 p.m. The single-ride rates are $17.65 adult; $14.65 seniors (55-plus), and $11.65 children between the ages of 5 and 12.

Palm Springs Tramway, Phone: (888) 515-TRAM or (760) 325-1391m Web: www.pstramway.com

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