The US is home to 21 aerial trams — those giant people movers that are popular among skiers and sightseers for their unique, year-round experience — with about half of them located at ski resorts. The 11 US ski resorts with aerial trams, also called cable cars, detailed below, will give you a bird’s eye view no matter what season you’re in.
Although these aerial tramways are found at US ski resorts, you don’t necessarily have to be a skier to enjoy them. Just be aware that not all trams offer year-round sightseeing — some only offer it in the summer and others are only open in the winter. For trams that have long lift lines or are under construction, priority is given to skiers and snowboarders, so double-check that you’ll be able to ride if you aren’t geared up for a day on the slopes.
The big differences between these aerial trams and gondolas are their size. These cable cars are bigger than their gondola counterparts, and can typically hold a lot more people.
Here’s a look at the ski resorts with cable cars, in no particular order:
Alyeska Ski Resort – Girdwood, Alaska
The aerial tram at Alyeska is one of its biggest draws, with two cars carrying up to 60 people each, gifting you the best views of the resort from the air. You can head down the mountain or stay up top and enjoy some food, beer, and a scenic view.
In winter, the tram operates effectively at double-speed, getting eager skiers up 2,025 vertical feet to the top (2,334 feet) in an average of just three minutes. The trams run from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm on Sunday through Wednesday, and 10:30 am to 8:00 pm from Thursday through Saturday.
Note that the ticket office is open from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm every day of the week. If you plan to spend your day on the slopes, getting a Dine and Ride ticket is the most economical option.
For summer visitors, the tram takes its time. With an average ride time of seven minutes, you’re offered more than twice the opportunity to see and photograph the Alaskan summer wildlife and fauna. While the telescopes are always available on the deck at the top of the tram, summer is by far the best time to enjoy them. If looking to visit in late Spring, note that the tram closes from late April to late May annually.
1000 Arlberg Ave., Girdwood, AK 99587 | 800-880-3880 | alyeskaresort.com
Heavenly Ski Resort – South Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe has long been known as an outdoor paradise, no matter which side of the state line you’re on. The tram at Heavenly Ski Resort is one of 27 lifts and has a 50-person capacity.
For skiers looking to get to the summit as fast as possible, the Heavenly tram makes the 4,000-foot trip in well under three minutes. At the top, you’ll get 1,569 feet of descent.
Heavenly opens in late November and runs until late April or even early May and the tram is in operation during that time. In season, skiing goes from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays and 8:30 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Early Tracks pass holders can get onto the slopes at 8:30 am on Mondays as well.
While the tram doesn’t run during the summer, visitors can enjoy a scenic gondola ride. While picturesque, the gondola only holds a single-digit number of passengers (which may be a plus or minus, depending on how you look at it).
3860 Saddle Rd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 | 775-586-7000 | skiheavenly.com
Palisades Tahoe – Olympic Valley, California
If you want to view one of the most beautiful areas of California, the tram at Palisades Resort is the place to be. You’ll be blown away by the panoramic views of Lake Tahoe!
The tram at Palisades Resort takes roughly 10 minutes and climbs more than 2,000 feet to 8,200 feet of elevation! At the top, you can get off and enjoy High Camp. From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm you can stop into the marketplace for snacks or enjoy food at The Terrace from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
1960 Olympic Valley Rd., Olympic Valley, CA 96146 | 800-403-0206 | palisadestahoe.com
Big Sky Resort – Big Sky, Montana
One of the more famous trams in the United States, the Lone Peak Tram at Big Sky, is one of 39 lifts available to skiers in the resort. The tram takes you 2,828 feet and to a peak elevation of 11,166 feet!
The Lone Peak Tram is one of the smaller resort aerial trams, holding just 30 passengers between two trams. Lift lines here can test your patience, but die-hard fans say the views you get on the way up make it worth the wait. Big Sky is actually in the middle of revising the tram system to reduce lift line waits and make the experience even more enjoyable for riders.
For skiers, the tram usually opens in mid-December and goes until the end of the season, but thanks to Montana winters, the tram is quite weather-dependent. On average, the tram runs for 90 days out of every season.
In summer, the Long Peak Expedition trip is an unforgettable experience. This guided tour on the tram takes a bit over two hours and gives you full access to all the best views in Big Sky.
50 Big Sky Resort Rd., Big Sky, MT 59716 | 800-548-4486 | bigskyresort.com
Cannon Mountain Resort – Franconia, New Hampshire
This is one of those trams that is just as popular in summer as it is in winter. The aerial tram at Cannon Mountain is a staple of local tourism and holds 80 summer passengers and 70 in winter and takes about seven minutes.
During the winter, it offers weekend skiers a drop-off point nearly 4,100 feet in the air (almost 2,200 feet of vertical distance) at the top of the resort’s best skiing. If you have a season pass for winter, however, you will no longer get complimentary summer tram rides.
Summer is the big draw when the aerial tram open in late May, with daily hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Reservations are always recommended, though not required, but with the tram’s immense popularity, it isn’t easy to get a walk-on spot.
If you are visiting in 2022, be aware of changing regulations. Cannon Mountain will not offer one-way tickets for hikers for the summer of 2022 (2023 and onward are unknown). The top of the tram has an abundance of walking trails and restaurants from which to enjoy the views.
2650 Profile Rd., Franconia, NH 03580 | 603-823-8800 | cannonmt.com
Sandia Peak Ski Area – Sandia Park, New Mexico
Sandia Peak is a smaller ski area, housing only five total lifts. While Although it is more beginner and intermediate-oriented, there are still 12 runs for advanced skiers. The Sandia Peak tramway can hold up to 50 passengers and takes visitors from a base of 8,676 feet to a summit of 10,378 feet for a 1,700-foot vertical rise.
The tramway is open year-round from Thursday to Monday, 9:00 am until 8:00 pm, with weekends seeing greater traffic, as expected. You’ll need to purchase tickets online before hitting the slopes (and the Tram), but note that the tram is closed two weeks in April and two weeks in November for scheduled maintenance.
For summer visitors, the season runs from Memorial Day Weekend through the Monday past Labor Day. Skiers can hit the slopes in the winter starting the Tuesday after Labor Day through Memorial Day weekend.
NM-536, Sandia Park, MN 87047 | 505-242-9052 | sandiapeak.com
Ober Gatlinburg – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
This is one of the largest trams in the country, with two counterbalanced trams carrying 120 people each (and departing every 20 minutes). This makes for an impressive 3,000+ passenger capacity per day.
The tram is open year-round, running from 9:40 am to 9:00 pm on weekdays, 7:40 am to 9:00 pm on Saturdays, and 7:40 am to 7:40 pm on Sundays. Note that ticket sales end half an hour before closing.
For summer visitors, the tram is an essential part of the overall park experience. Just over 2 miles long, you’ll get the best views around and be up to 300 feet in the air!
If you aren’t skiing, fall is the best time to take the tram and enjoy the gorgeous colors. Starting at a base elevation of 2,687 feet, you’ll gain 768 vertical feet for a peak of 3,455 feet.
For skiers, the tram is the way to the top of the ski area. Whether you want to head right back down or enjoy the ski village for a while is up to you, a ride on the tram is absolutely mandatory.
1339 Ski Mountain Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | 865-436-5423 | obergatlinburg.com
Snowbasin Resort – Huntsville, Utah
A former Olympic Games host, the Snowbasin Resort is known for having some of the country’s best and most challenging skiing. If you’re looking to see what you’re made of on the slopes, take the Allen Peak tram (formerly the Olympic tram) to the top.
While you can stop at the John Paul Lodge and be quite high up, the 15-passenger Allen Peak Tram takes you almost 9,500 feet up as compared to the base elevation of 6,316 feet. The majority of the route to the top is fulfilled by the John Paul Tram, but Allen Peak takes you the rest of the way where you’ll find two Olympic-caliber runs below you, reserved for the seriously talented.
If visiting in the summer, you won’t be able to take the Allen Peak Tram. However, you can take the smaller Needles Gondola to the Needles Lodge on weekends for lunch.
3925 Snowbasin Rd., Huntsville, UT 84317 | 801-620-1000 | snowbasin.com
Snowbird – Snowbird, Utah
While it doesn’t have the same prowess as Snowbasin, Snowbird continues Utah’s strong skiing tradition with a 125-person tram. The Snowbird Tram is part scenic tram, part people mover for ski season.
In 2022, the tram will be operating at limited capacity, and there will be fewer spots for those looking just to enjoy the view. The Snowbird Tram, which is open daily from 11:00 am to 3:15 pm, covers 2,900 vertical feet in seven minutes and peaks at 11,000 feet.
The tram runs on weekends in the summer from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The trip takes about 10 minutes each way and is a great way to beat the Utah summer temperatures.
9385 S. Snowbird Center Dr., Snowbird, UT 84092 | 801-933-2222 | snowbird.com
Jay Peak Resort – Jay, Vermont
You get two countries for the price of one when riding the tram at the Jay Peak Resort. You can enjoy views of the local Vermont and get a peek into Canada in the distance.
Fall is the time to go if you aren’t there in wintertime skiing. Autumn in Vermont is otherworldly, and the 10-minute Jay’s Peak Aerial Tram ride is the best way to experience it!
If you’re looking to ride the tram in summer, stick around for the waterpark and the golf course as well. If you’re a skier, you can hop onto the Jay’s Peak Tram with up to 44 of your closest friends.
The tram takes a bit under five minutes to go from the base of 1,815 to the summit of 3,968, giving you a vertical descent of 2,153 feet.
830 Jay Peak Rd., Jay, VT 05859 | 802-988-2611 | jaypeakresort.com
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – Teton Village, Wyoming
We saved the best for last. One of the meccas of skiing, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, has a 2-car tram that lives up to the legacy. With a 100-person capacity per car, this tram carries you 12,463 feet and gifts you 4,139 of vertical drop.
After a hiatus, sightseeing in the warmer months is back at the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram! Starting May 21st and ending October 9th, the 12-minute tram ride is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but note that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will not offer winter sightseeing tickets in 2022.
If you want to ski this mecca, you can take the affectionately named Big Red to the top in about nine minutes. If you’re looking to ski some of the most well-known lines, you can’t skip Corbet’s Couloir, only accessible by tram. Also only accessible by tram? The famous Corbet’s Cabin waffles!
3275 West Village Dr., Teton Village, WY 83025 | 307-733-2292 | jacksonhole.com
Whether you want to ski them or just enjoy the ride, these 11 aerial trams offer some of the most breathtaking views (and some of the best skiing) you’ll find anywhere in the country.