Skyline Trail to Aerial Tramway Top Station is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Palm Springs, California that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from October until April.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,051 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

hiking

walking

views

no dogs

This is a very difficult hike and people have died or been injured while hiking here. Use caution and you will have a challenging but rewarding hike.

hiking
24 days ago

Time: 6 hours

What began as an attempt at the C2C ended at the tramway. It wasn't because I couldn't have continued to the top but if I had, I might have been too wiped out to enjoy the rest of my vacation to California which included other hikes.

I left around 5:45am, the sun wasn't quite yet up but the sky was beginning to lighten. Note: Parking at the museum garage is free but doesn't technically open until 6am so if possible park on the street along the garage. About halfway up the Museum Trail I was able to take in the gorgeous sunrise. Around 2000 ft. I encountered a more senior group of hikers, all retirees that hike the trail weekly and refer to themselves as "Skyline Addicts Anonymous" - or something like that. Around 300ft I encountered a Big Horn about a quarter mile away galloping down the steep side of a valley. He was quite hard to pickout since he was well camouflaged amongst the rocks and dirt but definitely one of the highlights of the hike. Around 4500 ft the heat started to kick in. Around 5000ft I passed a duo who'd left almost three hours before me at 3am but were still optimistic on reaching the top. The final climb (5500 ft - 8000ft) to the tram station is definitely the most brutal, you feel as though you're on a constant stair master and someone is slightly decreasing your oxygen allowance every 20 minutes. I made it to the top around 11:30am and had a coffee at the bar while I charged up my phone to grab an Uber at the bottom.

hiking
1 month ago

I rated it 5 stars due to it being a challenging hike both mentally and physically. You have to dig deep in this one and the last few miles are brutal. I’ve done many local peaks and r2r2r and this by far takes the cake with mental toughness!

1 month ago

Three of us started the hike Oct 19,2018 at 1am. Weather was great, saw lots of other hikers. It was up, up, up all the way! Over 8,000 feet elevation. Recently did Rim to Rim and down n out in the Grand Canyon and this hike was comparable maybe even harder. We originally planned to do the summit, another 11 miles but were beat by the time we got to the tram. You definitely need to be in shape for this one! Bring lots of liquids and a good pair of hiking shoes!

6 months ago

Skyline to Ariel Tramway . Did this hike about 1 week ago... It’s definitely not easy especially considering the warmer temperatures. If you plan on hiking this one please take more than 6 liters of water and start no later than 3am because the heat will get to you. Once you get to around mile 7-8 you will start to feel a nice temperature drop and will enjoy more of the scenery. If you’re new to hiking or have done just a few other hikes. Please Keep in mind the elevation gain and heat will make it by far more challenging. Very strenuous trail. If your a fast hiker and start @3am then you will be ok. Once you reach the (TramStation) it’s a whole different world. My first time there. I was amazed by all the beauty, campsites, restaurant, museum, gift shop etc. To make it an easy way down don’t forget to bring $$$$cash and jump on the Tram then call an Uber to get a ride to your car. Happy hiking be safe.

hiking
7 months ago

April 28, 2018 - No snow, a bit windy on top but a wind breaker was enough. You might want to add the summit of San Jacinto to do cactus to cloud, but this is the "backup" in case you are destroyed already once at the tram station. Going to the summit adds a decent kick but makes the trip much better

Great hike, and very strenuous. I did the C2C2C, so I didn't take the tram down - according to my GPS going to the top is more like 16 miles so alltrails seem a bit off (2x=32 and about 11500 total elevation change). It's the hardest trail I've done so far. It's possible but quite a challenge 4AM to 7PM, without much stop other than refill water. And I'm a decently fast uphill hiker. The view is nice, and it is special to start in the desert with flowering cacti, get to tree level, and having this wonderful view up top. Also by starting at night, you don't get to see much of the desert at first (if you start early enough) but you get to see it if you go down.

So if you are looking for a butt kick, go for it, either up to the ranger station, up to the peak, or even C2C2C. The good thing is that thanks to the tram and ranger station, you have a way out if you tackle more than you should have. And you have refills of water (at least it was possible when I did it).

Regardless of what you do, you should know that starting at night is THE way to do this - I started at 4 AM and I think most people start at 3. The trail is decently marked, and it was full moon so I didn't use my headlamp (except after being flared by other hikers). Having a GPS is nice anyway to not lose any time wondering, but not an absolute must-have. By starting early, you get to be already up 3-4k up already, so it won't get as hot once you are in the trees. The other thing to know is bring a lot of water, but when I did it, you could refill water at the ranger station. I brought about 4 L, and drank all day about 13-14 L to give you an idea.

If you want to try to go the whole way, here are the time to give you some idea if you are late and should bail. As I said before, I'm a decently fast uphiller, so it's good to keep in mind when planning your day.

4:15 AM start
9:15 Ranger station (+water)
12:00 Peak
2:45 Start decent from ranger station (+water)
7:00 Back to palm spring

hiking
7 months ago

First time Skyline hike. Enjoyed the change in scenery as we gained elevation. Definitely felt wiped out the last mile before reaching Long Valley, but fought through it so I could enjoy a well deserved (but rare) pre-noon beer at the top.

hiking
8 months ago

A beautiful hike through varying climate zones with lots of birds and flowers. Very steep up but the footing is ok and trail is marked well. Going down would be harder. I bought a one way ticket on the tram for $12. Start early in the cool temps and enjoy sunrise. Have fun at the top enjoying the wonderful views.

hiking
8 months ago

Hard but fun trail. 7 hours from museum to tram with plenty of breaks. Great overcast day for the start. Chilly at the top but we were prepared. Easy to get an Uber back to town.

hiking
9 months ago

Went in mid-March, and it was nice and cool without a ton of people. Not the best views that time of year and we did get light rain along the last two miles. I also went in October as well and it was hotter, more crowded but with better visibility. The first two and last two miles are rough, but the middle is really enjoyable! Sunrise along the trail and city lights are also very beautiful.

9 months ago

This hike is no joke. But if you can do it the views are amazing. Picnic area that is 1 mile in but you will go up about 1,000 feet in elevation. Will absolutely be doing this again and making it all the way to the top!!!

hiking
10 months ago

very hard hike, make sure you are well prepared and have plenty of water, and like Michael states in his review the last 2-3 miles are a killer!!

10 months ago

Very difficult the last 2000 feet but well worth it

hiking
11 months ago

Start early. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Just go up! Research this hike well before attempting it. People have died on this trail.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

3 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

trail running
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
Saturday, December 09, 2017

hiking
Saturday, November 11, 2017

hiking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

recorded c2c

hiking
Saturday, October 14, 2017

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