Up, Up, and Away at Mt. San Jacinto

In late August of 2021, I took a day trip with my parents and Buddy Bison to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (CA), one of the world’s largest rotating tramways. We arrived around 9:40 AM at the valley station. This tram takes you 2.5 miles up the mountain within 10 minutes, which begins at the valley station (elevation 2,643 feet) and ends in the mountain station (elevation 8,516 feet).

Once we got to the top, we were now in San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. Our plan was to hike to Mount San Jacinto Peak. San Jacinto Peak rises to 10,834 feet above sea level. It’s the 2nd highest peak in Southern California. The hike to the peak of San Jacinto is a strenuous 12-mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 2,434 feet.

We started our hike at 10:45 AM Then we made our way down the concrete pavement to the ranger station, where we got our permit. It took us about 6 hours with breaks here and there to reach the peak. The trail had lots of shade. The weather was perfect that day. For the last 2 miles of the hike to the peak, there was not that much shade on the mountain. While hiking up, I was having thoughts of turning around. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. Once Buddy and I got up to the peak, I felt a sense of accomplishment. The view was worth it! We were the only ones up there. It was around 5:00 PM and we didn’t stay at the peak for very long because the last tram going back down to the valley floor departed at 9:00 PM. 

We started hiking back down at 5:20 PM and were rushing back, not knowing if we were going to make it back in time or not. My mom tripped and hurt her ankle, and that slowed us down a bit. 

Around 7:30 PM we brought out our headlamps. We got to the ranger station around 8:20 PM If we didn’t make it in time, we would have to sleep in the ranger station restrooms. We finally made it to the steep concrete pavement portion of the walkway. We got to the mountain tram station with 40 minutes to spare!

We took the last tram of the night. The tram ride going down at night was a bit scary because it was really dark, but the view was pretty because we could see the city lights from the desert communities down below. Thankfully, we made it to our car safely and we went home from there. This trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was unforgettable and memorable. The hike to San Jacinto Peak has been one of the most challenging hikes I have ever done. I hope you enjoyed my blog post about my experience!

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