Colin's Palm Springs Getaway Vacation Rental Condo

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Offers a Thrilling Ride and Amazing Views

No trip to Palm Springs is complete without a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The rotating tram cars take you 8000 feet up Mount San Jacinto, past amazing rock formations as the palm trees give way to fragrant pine trees. The views are spectacular, and at the top you can have a meal, get a drink at the bar, hike along the numerous trails, or just take in the views of the entire Coachella Valley all the way to the Salton Sea.

During winter, there is often snow, so you are more likely to hang out at the upper tram station and enjoy the views, or possibly do some cross-country skiing or inner-tubing. The rest of the year, all the trails are available to you. You can take a leisurely walk through Long Valley just below the upper tram station and along a creek that runs through a meadow. Or you can take the 3-mile Round Valley loop and get away from the crowds. The more adventurous might make a day of it and go all the way to the San Jacinto Peak, which is another 2000 feet up. 

For some amazing views with not too much hiking, take the Long Valley trail to Notch 3. From there you get a clear view of the south side of Palm Springs and all the other desert cities to Palm Desert and beyond, along with mountain views looking towards the Santa Rosa mountains, Garner Valley, and Idyllwild. 

Recommendation: Go up early in the day or later in the afternoon during high season to avoid crowds. In summer, there are hardly any crowds, and it’s great to go up during the hottest time of the day since it is 30 degrees cooler up there. The food at the Tram restaurants can be expensive and unremarkable, so consider bringing along a picnic lunch. In the coldest times of the year, there may be a lot of snow up there which will limit hiking. The tram website has a couple webcams so you can check the conditions. 

Tram Website

Palm Springs Is Very International In Summer: All Are Welcome!

We get lots of friendly Canadians that come for extended stays during winter and spring, but summer is when the town plays host to many Europeans and guests from farther out.

The summertime guests that stay at my Colin’s Palm Springs Getaway condo often have extended vacations (by U.S. standards) of up to six weeks. Many have included Palm Springs as a stop on a tour of the western United States that also included Las Vegas, the Utah national parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches), the Grand Canyon, and Los Angeles. Some even make it Sedona and Yosemite.

Arches Park, Utah

While staying in Palm Springs, they have quick access to Joshua Tree National Park, hiking via the tram at the top of Mount San Jacinto, and a day at Disneyland! Many will also take a day trip to San Diego, which is about two hours away. 

Joshua Tree Park

The rates in summer are a bargain since it is our low season. A group of four people can stay for about $20 per person per day. That leaves a lot of money for having a nice meal or buying a souvenir. 

Here’s a partial list of where my guests have come from to experience Palm Springs: Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, France, Mexico, Australia, Romania, Switzerland, South Korea. I can’t wait to see where else!

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Palm Springs Has a New Ice Cream Shop You Must Try

Summer is here, and on hot days we love our ice cream. Oh, who are we kidding… we enjoy ice cream any time of year. And now we have a great new ice cream shop called Kreem to indulge our cravings, with a rotating selection of flavors that is going to keep us coming back regularly.

We enjoy interesting flavor combinations, so we were intrigued by Lavender Coffee and Turmeric Ginger. The employees at the shop were very friendly and happy to let us try some samples. It was a hard choice, but we opted for some Coffee Granita + Vanilla Bean ice cream, and a cup of Lemon Meringue Pie and Ube ice cream. I can hear you ask, “What is Ube?”. I had the same question, and it turns out it is a purple yam that they mix with some toasted marshmallows and coconut milk to make a creamy delicious ice cream that is also vegan. We’re not vegans, but we would order the vegan selections any day. They are rich and really delicious.

Small batch ice cream costs a little more, but ice cream lovers will find it is well worth it. The shop also sells coffee a nice selection of coffee drinks.

 

Kreem Ice Cream + Coffee • 170 E Palm Canyon Drive • Website

 

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We had the Best French Breakfast in Palm Springs

While visiting Palm Springs, why not take a side trip to Paris?

That’s what we did this morning as we chose to go down to the historic La Plaza center in downtown Palm Springs and visit L’Atelier Cafe. This cute and casual cafe serves up some authentic and delicious crepes, quiches, croques, and desserts. I usually get the Croque Madame since it is so tasty. But today I went off the specials menu and had the Waffle Henri, a sweet crispy waffle topped with béchamel sauce, ham, brie, and an egg. It was so delicious with all the sweet and savory flavors. Amazing!

The couple that run the place, Charlotte and Raphael, are very nice and have an obvious love for Palm Springs and for preparing simple delicious food. It’s the perfect place for a casual breakfast or lunch, or for relaxing with a cup of coffee and a pastry.

Recommendation: Try to get there a little early since by 10am there is likely to be a line.

L’Atelier Cafe • 129 La Plaza * Website

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Hiking Safely in Palm Springs During Summer

Hiking in Palm Springs

Palm Springs offers some of the most amazing hiking, and most of it is just minutes from the center of town. Whether you choose to just park roadside and take in the Lykken or Rimrock trails, or pay to visit the oases at Tahquitz Canyon or Indian Canyon, it’s important to be prepared as the temperatures get over 100 degrees. Travelers around the world love our “dry heat” but they also sometimes find themselves in trouble. Many have had to be airlifted to safety (or worse) after getting lost or running out of water. When the temperatures are over 100 degrees, consider shorter hikes and make sure to:

  • Go out early, and be aware that heat stroke and dehydration can happen even at less then 100 degrees.
  • Drink water an hour before hiking and bring lots of water with you. Take sips often and stay hydrated. Thirst is a sign of dehydration. Gatorade and other sports drinks are good as well.
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and good hiking boots or shoes. Apply sunscreen on any skin that isn’t covered. Wear a wide brimmed hat.
  • Always stay on the trail. Hikers that get into serious trouble are almost always off-trail.
  • Bring energizing snacks like trail mix or energy bars.
  • Carry a well-charged cell phone with you.
  •  Hike with a buddy, and let someone know where you will be hiking and what time you expect to return.

Finally, if you are an inexperienced hiker, or hiking with the family, the best bet is to take the Aerial Tramway up the mountain where it is much cooler at 8500 ft elevation. Safety rules apply there as well, but you are much less likely to run into trouble.