Mountain Marvel: Palm Springs Tram Pass

Spending some time around the desert resorts? Here's your ticket to cooler summer days.

THAT (ALMOST) INSTANT COOLDOWN: When summer's going full throttle in the desert, and the thermometer reading is not just in three-digit territory but way up in three-digit territory, and another dip in the pool isn't doing it for you, where do you turn? Perhaps a cinema, one with a famously powerful AC unit. Perhaps a florist, to buy your sweetie some desert sunflowers (with a quick slip into the damp cooler in order to pick said sunflowers out). Or perhaps you hop on the next Palm Springs Aerial Tramway car for a ride up, up, up to Mountain Station in the San Jacinto Mountains.

THE TIPPY-TOP OF THE TRAM... sits above the 8,500-feet mark, which means that temperatures are around 30 to 40 degrees cooler than down below. That's a significant change, for sure, and while it isn't instant -- your rotating tram car takes about ten minutes to the top -- once you are at Mountain Station you'll feel the notable difference. When it is 105 below, 70 can feel so delicious among the firs. If you'll be doing some desert sojourning during the summer, and you want visit the tram more than once, consider the...

SUMMER PASS, which is now on sale for the 2016 season. It is good all the way through Aug. 31 for rides, and 10% off additional tickets, and 10% off the two eateries at Mountain Station (Peaks Restaurant and Pines Café). Are there hiking trails to explore? Over 50 miles of 'em, yes. Are there picnic tables, pretty vistas, campgrounds, and other adventuresome staples? There are. Will you feel like your vacation had plenty of desert and mountain goodness in equal parts? You can make it so, if you'll be retreating to Palm Springs, or Palm Desert, or La Quinta. Sun and pines, pools and trams, warmth and breezes: A mountain-desert getaway is the best of two distinct, and distinctly delightful, worlds.

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