It Does Rain In Southern California
But of course the day we headed to the desert, it rained steadily for the whole day. We drove through the pounding rain wondering why there was a song that said it never rains in Southern California!
But the rain had largely stopped by the time we arrived in Palm Desert. The forecast for the 3 days we were there looked much better. We were happy when Julie from FunInFairfax provided a long list of things to do in the Palm Springs area.
A Stark Contrast In Hotels
The U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego was the ultimate in classic luxury style. When we arrived at Hotel Paseo, we found such a stark contrast. This hotel was part of the Autograph Collection in the Marriott Rewards program. The resort property was trendy and artistic. An upgrade got us a spa room. But the tub was in the middle of the room. And under two tiny frosted windows that looked out over the back parking lot. We wished we kept our mountain view room.
As monochromatic as our room was, the hotel was drenched in colour. Work from local artists was displayed around the hotel. The lobby area was large and bright. And in the evening they even had someone playing the guitar. Once the large wedding crowd left the hotel, we enjoyed the great common areas.
Behind the hotel we found a large pool and hot tub. Although the temperatures never reached warm enough for me to pull out my swimsuit. There were lots of lounging areas. And a bag toss game. At night the large fire pit was lit.
But the most fascinating thing we saw was the airstream in the back. You could actually book this as your accommodations for the night. How fun is that!!
We used the Hotel Paseo as a good base to find the panoramic views above Palm Desert.
Exploring In Palm Desert
Across from our hotel was the outdoor Gardens Mall. At home, so many of the malls are fully covered from the elements. It was great to see large green spaces and sitting areas in the mall. And when we looked closely we saw artistic elements everywhere.
Wilma and Frieda’s in the mall was the perfect spot for a large breakfast. Or for coffee and a snack. Although we did not get to try their famous homemade pop tarts.
Our hotel was a short walk from the shopping street in Palm Desert. We walked out to see what shops and restaurants were close by. But the art in the street drew our attention.
The AC3 Restaurant in the hotel was good when we did not want to walk far. Once the weekend passed, we found the place largely empty.
A short walk through town we discovered the Keedy’s Fountain and Grill. The inside looked like an old fashioned soda fountain joint. And it was a blast from the past! Although we did manage to leave without buying a milkshake!
When we were not out exploring the panoramic views above Palm Desert, we enjoyed walking in the small town of Palm Desert.
A Crazy Mountain Drive To Coachella Valley Vista
The rain passed and we woke to a sunny morning. It was the perfect day to head high for panoramic views above Palm Desert. The route into the mountains was a twisting road that was so much fun to drive. It reminded us of the cliff-hugging roads we travelled on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and on our visits to the Greek Islands. We wanted to see the view but there was nowhere to stop.
Finally we found the turnout for the Coachella Valley Vista. The viewpoint looked out over a vast panorama of desert scenery. Looking straight down, we saw the winding road we just climbed.
The stop at Coachella Valley Vista gave us our first taste of the panoramic views above Palm Desert.
Cactus Views At Cahuilla Tewanet Vista
When we got back in the car, we decided to keep climbing higher. We passed the 3,000 foot elevation sign. And we saw mist on the hills. When we found the turnoff for Cahuilla Tewarnet Vista, we stopped for a walk.
Stops along the pathway provided views out over the vista and the cactus plants. The plaques provided more information about the people native to this area.
At the final viewpoint platform, we got another of the panoramic views above Palm Desert. From here there were paths down into the valleys. We certainly picked a great day to drive up to see the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.
If we had kept going, we would have hit Temecula. But that was a trip for another day. So we headed back down the twisty route. The trip back down was even more fun than the ride up.
Heading To The Palm Springs Aerial Tram
We were not yet done our exploration of the panoramic views above Palm Desert. We headed toward Palm Springs to go up the San Jacinto Peak. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway goes up over 8,500 feet (2,595 m). It is the steepest aerial tram in the U.S. and second steepest in the world.
We saw many people walking up the long road to the tram area. We wondered if they were trying to avoid the $8 parking fee. But we later figured they were either just exercising. Or stopped at views along the road. There were a number of parking lots. And a shuttle that picked you up to take you to the tram station.
When we parked, we were told there was a one hour wait at that point. But it was a busy Sunday. It actually took closer to two hours from the time we entered the gate to when we got on the aerial tram.
While we waited for our slot, we wandered around the base station. We watched as the two aerial tram cars alternated up and down.
It was a longer wait than we expected to head up for our next panoramic views above Palm Desert. If you have an option, don’t visit on the busier weekends. But it was the best weather day during our stay. And we did not want to miss the clear sky views.
Views Over Palm Springs From The San Jacinto Peak
It was finally our time to get on the aerial tram. People crowded for window seats. But the car did two full revolutions as it climbed to the top. So everyone got a view in all directions. It was fascinating to watch the mountain change from dry desert to snow capped.
We exited and headed to the viewpoint over the valley. The walks were icy and many were closed. But we found our panoramic views above Palm Desert covered in snow.
We went to the other side and walked carefully down the path. Families pulled kids and toboggans. Skiers walked back. And when we finally got to the bottom of the path, we saw where all the fun was happening.
As the sun fell below the mountain, we walked back to get in line for the return trip down the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. It had been a great day to see another perspective on the desert below. And we loved the panoramic views above Palm Desert as the sun set.
It Was Great To Take In The Panoramic Views Above Palm Desert
We started our California trip with a stay by the water in San Diego. And then headed to Palm Desert next for a very different view of California. We found a colourful and artistic city. And several different places to get panoramic views above Palm Desert.
Did you see the panoramic views above Palm Desert? Was there another viewpoint that we missed?
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