Mount San Jacinto State Park and San Bernardino National Forest, California

featuring San Gorgonio Wind Farm, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and other landmarks

Where is Mt. San Jacinto and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway? As the bird flies, it lies roughly 90 miles South-East of Los Angeles or about 97 South-East miles from my home in Gardena. In the map below, look for the red flag on right-hand side.
click here to enlarge map
Where is Mt. San Jacinto and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway? As the bird flies, it lies roughly 90 miles South-East of Los Angeles or about 97 South-East miles from my home in Gardena.

Introduction: There are not many places in the world were one can terrestrially scale five different temperate zones in 10 minutes. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway -- considered by some to be one of the world's greatest wonders -- passes through five unique life zones: Mexican Sonoran (desert) to Hudsonian-Canadian (Arctic/Alpine). Reaching an elevation of 8,516 at the Upper-Level Mountain Station, the amusement-park-like tram ride ascends nearly 6,000 feet and covers a distance of almost 2 1/2 miles. From the Upper Station, one can hike to many interesting areas including the summit of Mt. San Jacinto; at 10,831 ft, it is the second highest mountain in Southern California. It's amazing that one can ski within three miles of a Southwestern-U.S. desert!


Getting there...

Below: Mount San Jacinto peak, seen from commercial airplane. (date 2005-10-12)
San Jacinto from airplane

...and via car, going East on I-10, thru San Gorgonio Pass. Camera pointing South-East. Tall mountain is San Jacinto (10,800 ft.)


Taken near I-10, here's an East-to-West photo slideshow of San Gorgonio Pass and the area wind farm
-- note snow-covered Mt. San Jacinto in the distance. (date April 2006)



Time-lapse: Mt. San Jacinto seen from near Whitewater just off of I-10. Wind farm in foreground:




From the Valley Station, take the Tram up to the Mountain Station...
Below: Panoramic view of the Coachella Valley from Grubb's View, located at the Palm Springs Tramway Mountain Station, at an elevation of 8,516 ft. There can be snow present at this elevation, depending upon time of year. Today was quite warm, however, and not windy -- not typical weather for this location at this time of year. Some haze present also obscures distant landmarks such as the Salton Sea and the Mojave Desert. Notice the wind farm near the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass -- it contains more than 4,000 separate windmills and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. Also note San Gorgonio mountain on the extreme left-hand side of the panorama. This is the highest mountain in Southern California, roughly 11,500 ft. Even in So-Cal in late May weather, many areas above 8,000 are snow-covered. date 2005-05-24
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Panoramic view of the Coachella Valley

below: A view from Grubb's View on a clearer day. This assembled panorama is comprised of several 55 mm frames unlike the panorama above, which is comprised of several 18 mm (wide-angle) frames. date 2005-10-02:
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A view from Grubb's View on a clearer day.
below: Another panoramic view of the Coachella Valley, this time from the restaurant terrace, about 20 feet below from Grubb's View point (above). This terrace gives a slightly better view of the Palm Springs area as well as Joshua Tree Nat. Park (here's a shot of San Jacinto from Keys View in Joshua Tree NP). Also note a glimpse of the docked tram car on the extreme left-hand side. date 2005-05-24
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Another panoramic view of the Coachella Valley, this time from the restaurant terrace, about 20 feet below from Grubb's View point (above). This terrace gives a slightly better view of the Palm Springs area. Also note a glimpse of teh docked tram car on the extreme left-hand side.
below: Looking West at Mt. San Jacinto's peak, from the Grubb's View point. The peak, at 10,834 ft, is roughly 5 miles from this location. San Jacinto is quite a rocky and rugged mountain as may be noted by the large boulders (red arrows). date 2005-05-24

Looking West at Mt. San Jacinto's peak, visible from the Grubb's View point. The peak, at 10,834 ft, is roughly 5 miles from this location. San Jacinto is quite a rocky and rugged mountain as may be noted by the large boulders (red arrows)

Technical: All images -- except second panorama -- photographed with a Canon Digital Rebel 300 EOS camera. Focus: manual. All other parameters: manual. A tripod was also used. Second panorama's images were taken handheld using a Canon A80 in full Auto mode. Panoramas created with Pano Tool Assembler. Final tweaking and editing done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

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