Golf and sunshine are the main magnets that draw visitors to Palm Springs, but a 10-minute ride will take you up into a snowy evergreen forest. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway climbs up to a mountain wilderness at 8,500 feet (2,590 meters). The Swiss-built tram floats over Chino Canyon and is the only rotating tram car in the Western hemisphere.
From the top, look out over the irrigrated grids of Palm Springs and the other Desert Cities of the Coachella Valley, which descends to below sea level. Across to the northeast, beyond the San Andreas Fault, are the low mountains of Joshua Tree National Park. A network of hiking trails branches out from the tram chalet into the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, which includes the highest peaks in Southern California.
(Winter weekend crowds can be crazy; you've been warned.)