Desert View Trail in the San Jacinto Wilderness from Palm Springs Tram

The Desert View Trail leaves from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Station and goes out on an easy 2.5 mile loop. It’s an excellent trail for the whole family as there is not much elevation gain, and there are five notches where you can get different views of the valley below you. Here is all the information so you can check it out.


  • 2.5 miles
  • 50 feet of elevation gain
  • Location: At the base of where the tram lets off
  • This information is from my visit in 2017
  • Read about how to access this trail via the tram here

Getting There

You need to ride the tram to get to this trail, you can read about doing that at the link above. From the tram drop off, you will just want to head to the first floor then walk down the steep walkway to the bottom where the cement meets the trail.

The trail leaves from here, and there are signs, so the path is easy to follow.

The Desert View Trail is part of the Nature Trail for the first tenth of a mile, then it splits out to the left, and you will be walking closer to the edge of the mountain.

Notch 1

Almost immediately, you will get to notch 1, which provides a view down to the valley, but is not great due to the trees that have grown up blocking a lot of it.

Notch 2

Notch 2 is up next, after another tenth of a mile or so. This view is better than notch 1, but still not great.

Notch 3

Luckily notch 3 is up next, and it is the best view on the trail. This view is large with a nice 120-degree viewing angle. It looks down on the valley below and the large rock on the mountainside to the right.

Take your time with this view as it doesn’t get better than notch 3 on this trail.

Notch 4

Notch 4 is another small viewpoint, and it looks at the mountainside more than the valley, with a great view of the rock mentioned above but not a lot else.

Notch 5

After about a quarter mile you will be at notch 5, which is another relatively unimpressive view as a lot of it is blocked.

Even though most of the views are not great, this trail is worth it just for notch 3, as it is an easy trail, and it has a great payoff with that viewpoint.

On the way back, you will make it to a wooden bridge, and when you cross it, you will be back on the Nature Trail again.

There are plaques to read for this trail, and it is a flat walk back to the trailhead.

Do remember that when you leave this area and walk back up to the tram station, the walkway is steep, so save energy for it. All in all, this is a great hike for the whole family in the San Jacinto Wilderness. You can learn more about taking the tram up to the top here.

Let me know what some of your other favorite trails are here in the comments.

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