Holidays High Up: Tram Tree

The sparkler, which sits far above Palm Springs, is a December desert icon.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

WHERE TREES GROW: It wouldn't be very controversial to say, as a true and factual statement, that trees are often found rooted in the ground. Okay, granted, sometimes a wee fir will call a large pot a home, and there are those strange smaller trees that grow upwards from the large branches of the redwoods of the Trees of Mystery in Klamath. But, in general, if you're looking at a tree, you're probably seeing it at eye-level, and if it is far taller than you, you can spy its earthen base from where you stand. But there are some more offbeat specimens come the sparkly season, the sort of festive symbols that are placed on rooftops and in pickup beds and, on rarest occasion, very, very high up a mountain, on a restaurant reachable by tram. It turns out that there is such a magnificent wonder in California, and while it is a tree made of lights, it counts as one of the quirkiest pyramid-y symbols of the holidays. It's the bulb-tastic tree at...

THE PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY, and it will again glow beginning on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 4. The illuminated wonder sits at the Peaks Restaurant at Mountain Station, which is over 8,500 feet up Mt. San Jacinto, and you can spy it up close while you dine inside (after your thrilling tram ride up). Or if you have a keen eye, you might even see it from Palm Springs, where it appears as a glowing dot in the darkness of the state park. There are some sweet surprises at the tram beyond the tree's lighting (and the nightly sparkle show), like Santa visits, holiday choir performances, and more. But as far as really, really high elevation Christmas trees go? Well, for sure, there are trees higher than the tram's tree in our mountain-marvelous state, but only the tram tree's bright lines can be spied from great distances in the desert below. 

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