We drove out on Monday afternoon, stopping at a few scenic spots along the way. Instead of taking the freeway to get there, we drove over the mountains from San Diego, passing through Santa Ysabel, Warner Springs, Oak Grove, Aguanga, Anza, and down the Palms to Pines Highway.
Partway between Warner Springs and Oak Grove we spotted a vineyard that looked pretty good in the later afternoon sun.
Further on we stopped a scenic overlook in the National Forest at the top of the Palms to Pines Highway.
We made sure not to get too close to the cholla cactus.
At the bottom of the highway there is a sign warning about bighorn sheep. We didn't see any.
We stayed at the Palm Springs Hilton, which is perfectly located just a couple of blocks from the main shopping and dining areas on Palm Canyon Drive.
On Tuesday we started our day with a hike around Andreas Canyon, which I'll put in a separate post. After lunch we stopped in to the Palm Springs Art Museum. We've been there before, and we always enjoy it. It's mostly modern art of some form or another, but sometimes they have special exhibits with older stuff too. The white dog greets you when you first get in.
It's fun to watch people's expressions the first time they come upon this old couple who are sitting at the top of the stairs.
After the Art Museum we decided to head for something completely different, and rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the Mountain Station at 8,516'. The tram covers the roughly 6,000' elevation gain from the lower station, over about 2.5 miles of cable, in about 10 minutes. It's generally about 40 degrees cooler up there compared to down in Palm Springs, which sits at about 479' above sea level.
That is I-10 and the various cities of the Coachella Valley down in the distance.
There are about 50 miles of hiking trails in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area.
We didn't stay outside too long, it was pretty cold and windy, but it was certainly a change from the dry desert below.
On our way back down the hill to Palm Springs I stopped to get a picture of one of the original tram cars.
These were in service until 2000, when they were replaced by the new 18' diameter cars, which are the largest in the world, and the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The floor rotates twice on the way up or down. This was the first time I've been on the newer cars. The old ones were much smaller, but I did like that you could fully open the windows on the ends of the old cars to lean out and take a picture without getting any glare from the glass.
If you look closely, directly above the center of the doorway, you can just see the lights of the Mountain Station in the background of this last picture.
More from our week in Palm Springs in the next post.