Free Summer Tradition: Military Days at the Tram

The Palm Springs up-the-mountain transport will waive admission for service members.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

THAT 40-DEGREE DIFFERENCE: How, come the height of summertime, do you immediately cool down? More specifically where can find a 40-degree drop in temperature in an under an hour without A) walking into an overly air-conditioned house or B) a meat locker? Could you, in short, start in nature and stay in nature and see the mercury zoom downwards, all in other 60 minutes? Enough with the questions, because you know exactly what the answer is: Yes, you can, if you happen to be in Palm Springs, and you happen to be in the desert in July, and you happen to have a ticket to ride up to Mountain Station on the Aerial Tramway. When it is 109 on the floor of the valley it can be in the 60s up in the San Jacinto wilderness, a sweat-reducing temptation many a resident and tourist cannot resist. It's a fun fact that makes summer a busy season aboard "The World's Largest Rotating Tramcars," and the warm-to-cooler-weather trip bustles even further come July: That's when Military Days arrive, a stretch of time long-observed by the famous conveyance. What are Military Days? That's the time when military personnel receive a free tram trip, with military I.D., and their friends and family -- up to six people in all -- get 25% off their rides. That's good discounting right there, and it takes place over...

ALL OF JULY: When the thermometer is deep into triple-digit territory, you can be up in the Mount San Jacinto wilderness, hiking or picnicking or just trying to spot your house or hotel from the deck outside the Peaks restaurant. It's the way for the tramway to thank those who serve and provide a little respite from the intense sun below (well, the sun stays intense up the mountain, of course, but without the higher level of heat). The offer is good from July 1 through 31.

KEEP IN MIND... if you're going to get your warmer weather ride, tram fans near and far, that the attraction closes for a couple of weeks in September for yearly maintenance. But once it reopens plan on crisper autumn breezes at higher elevations, always a treat after toasty times in the desert below.

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