Cycling Tramway Road, Palm Springs, CA
Ride 3.2 miles gaining 1,515’ at 9.1% average grade.
Photo: Palm Springs
This is the closest bike climb to Palm Springs, and the toughest too. If you do the climb, you may also want to bring a bike cable or lock along (a light one!) and take the tram to the top.
The aerial tram includes five towers, four of which were built with the aid of helicopters. This is the worlds largest rotating tram car, and travels about 2½ miles along Chino Canyon to Mountain Station, about 2,000’ below the peak of Mount San Jacinto. At the top there are two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, two documentary theaters, a gift shop, and over 50 miles of hiking trails. As of 2020, tickets were $26.95 for adults.
The Tram was completed in 1963, and since then over 20 million people have ridden the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to Mountain Station (as of 2020).
Top photo: Palm Springs Life
Bottom photos: PS Tramway
Left: 1962; Right: inaugural run Sept. 14, 1963.
PJAMM’s Bruce Hamilton writes of the Tramway Road Climb:
They built a gated entry area about five years ago, and since then you can only ride your bike to the “toll booth” that they have manned, collecting parking fees and blocking cyclists from going higher. About five years before that you could ride to the top (which was quite a bit harder as the steepest part was at the very top). Recently I was able to get to the top and snap a PJAMM jersey picture of me in front of the tram station with the elevation in the background.
Thank you Bruce!
This climb was also featured in the 2013 Tour of California, Stage 2 May 13:
“Two new cities join the race route roster: Greater Palm Springs and Murrieta will host Stage 2, which will include an intense finish up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, one of the toughest climbs anywhere with an 1,880-foot elevation gain in the last four miles. . . .The stage will finish spectacularly as riders climb Tramway Road to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway parking lot. The last 3.8 miles of the race will gain 1,880 feet of elevation – one of the toughest climbs anywhere” (Adventure Sport Journal).
The stage was won by Janier Acevedo (COL)
Photo: Jonathan Devich, Epic Images; Cycling News
Legendary climber Phil Giamon has the KOM on this climb with the notation: “No beef with Lionel but I couldn’t let a triathlete have tramway.”
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