Aug 1, 200608:01 AMThe Life
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Aug 1, 2006 - 08:01 AMThe tramway is scheduled for a maintenance closure from September 15 through October 8, so now's the time to take a ride...
A young electrical engineer named Francis F. Crocker first dreamed of constructing a tramway up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon in 1935, but "Crocker's Folly"—as it was soon dubbed by one newspaper woman—was not finished until nearly 30 years later.
Construction financing was eventually raised by the sale of $8.5 million in private revenue bonds, which means that not one cent of public funds has been used for either the construction or operation of the tramway. The bonds were paid off in 1996.
This engineering challenge was soon labeled the "eighth wonder of the world," due to the ingenious use of helicopters in erecting four of the five supporting towers. The choppers flew 23,000 accident-free missions during the 26 months of construction. 20 years after its completion, the tramway was designated an historical civil engineering landmark.
More than 12 million visitors have taken the thrilling ride since this attraction opened on September 14, 1963. The 2.5-mile ascent to the mountain station passes through five geographical zones, from Desert to Alpine. If you drive up Palm Canyon to the north edge of Palm Springs, you'll be able to enjoy the 7-minute journey up the side of 10,804-foot Mt. San Jacinto (hah-SEEN-toe) in the world's largest rotating tram cars.
Preview: their TramCams offer live images from the top.