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Gondola Rides in the Northwest & A Few Just Beyond!

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Gondola Rides in the NorthwestGondola Rides in the Pacific Northwest

I love a great Gondola ride. Gondola rides can be a pretty amazing way to take in scenic views of so much of the beauty we have here in the Northwest. You may be surprised to learn that we actual have a number of options for jumping on an Gondola, or Air Tram in the Northwest.

Enjoying a gondola ride can be a great way to spend some time while on vacation, or can be the purpose of a fun day out with family and friends too. Some of the larger ones can be pricey, so we have included some smaller alternatives as well – so hopefully there is something here for different budgets. Many of the pricier rides offer more than just the ride itself too, so consider that. You are often able to hike the mountain, dine mountain top, enjoy other chair lift rides, or explore the city too, depending on the location.

We have compiled a list of some that we have ridden on in the immediate Northwest Region, and a few that are still on our “must visit” list, as well as surrounding area info when we have more tips on what to do in the vicinity. You will also find a few that are beyond the Northwest too, as we know many folks traveling to the Northwest often hit these areas as well.

Note – many of these operate seasonally, so be sure to check their websites to confirm dates they run. 

crystal mountain gondola ride

Gondola Rides in Washington State

Crystal Mountain Gondola Ride (Mt Rainier Gondola)

Quick Facts: 

Location – Crystal Mountain Resort on Mt Rainier
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – About 12 minutes each way
What You Can Expect To See – Beautiful views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

The Crystal Mountain Gondola Ride (or some refer to it as the Mt. Rainier Gondola), is probably the most popular one in our area. It will provide you spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade range. It is not cheap, but can be a great way to enjoy a Northwest outing.

You might also want to plan to visit the Summit House, Washington’s highest elevation restaurant. Be sure to check their website for current information to make sure it is open.

Pro tip – Some folks like to take the Gondola up the mountain, and hike down the mountain. There are trails for this (they can be steep so bring your hiking sticks), but we have heard it is a really fun way to get in some hiking in the area too. I have also heard from some that if you hike up the mountain and take the Gondola down, you do not have to pay for the Gondola (be sure to call ahead of time to confirm this is still true for your dates of travel, as it can change at any time). 

View on crystal mountain gondola ride

If you do plan to head up to this area, you might also want to check out our article on Mount Rainier National Park Hiking – 6 Hikes for Families, for more ideas of where to explore in the area.

Spokane Gondola Ride at the Riverfront Park

Spokane gondola

Quick Facts: 

Location – Spokane Riverfront Park
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – 15 minutes total
What You Can Expect To See –  The Spokane Falls

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

We love this Gondola Ride for a few reasons. It is shorter then many, but still there are some great reasons to enjoy this spot.

Spokane Falls

1- It takes you over the falls – for some really spectacular views of water. Many Gondolas in the Northwest are up Mountains, so this one is unique in that you get to enjoy the water views.

2 – It is part of the Spokane Riverfront Park, so there are many other things to do in the area too, after you finish your Gondola ride. Check out our full review of what to do at the Spokane Riverfront Park here.

This one is also different then many of the others, as it is in the city, and offers a view of the waterfalls – that is a rare combo. It is also one of the most affordable Gondola rides, so that is a big plus.

Gondola Rides in Idaho

silver mountain gondola

Silver Mountain Gondola

Quick Facts: 

Location – Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg Idaho
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – This is the longest gondola ride in North America, and will take about 20 minutes each way.
What You Can Expect To See – Mountain View

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

view at the top of silver mountain gondola

The Silver Mountain Gondola Ride stands out, as it is the longest Gondola ride in North America at 3.1 miles. It is also one of the more affordable ones, and if you were to plan to do just one, this is the one I would recommend.

Not only is a beautiful ride up and down the mountain, but there are fun opportunities once you get to the top too. You can:

Silver Mountain Resort Ski Lifts

  • Take free chairlift rides to other areas of the mountain from here.
  • Mountain bike down the mountain the summer, or ski in the Winter.
  • Enjoy lunch on the mountain top.

Another reason that we love this one, is because it is located in the Sun Mountain Resort, which has its own indoor water park that we loved, as well as so many other things to do in the area. Find our full review of the Silver Mountain Resort here.

Sun Valley Gondola

Quick Facts: 

Location – Sun Valley Resort in Ketchum, Id (Southern Idaho_
Time Gondola Takes To Ride –  About 15 minutes each way.
What You Can Expect To See – Mountain View

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

Sun Valley Gondola at the Resort is in Southern Idaho and you will find a Gondola ride there too, if you will be traveling down in that direction. The resort itself has lots to do in different seasons, so it does make a great destination in itself.

Honorable Mention – 

Schwietzer Mountain has scenic Skilift rides that will provide some fun for you. While they are not Gondolas,

Portland Aerial Tram

Gondola Rides in Oregon

Portland Aerial Tram

Quick Facts: 

Location – Portland Oregon

This one is currently closed to the public, but keep checking their website for info on when they will re-open to the public. 

This is one of the only opportunities in this area of the country to enjoy an Ariel Tram (Gondola ride) in a major metropolitan area. You will get cities views of the Portland area from this Tram, and can use it as a practical means of transportation in the city too.  This is also one of the most affordable ski tram rides you will find. We have more details on it here, for when it re-opens to the public.

Wallawa Lake Tramway

Quick Facts: 

Location – Wallwa Lake Oregon
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – About 15 minutes each way
What You Can Expect To See – Wallawa Lake and the village, and it takes you to the summit of Mt. Howard

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

This is one I have never been on (or know anyone who has) but if you are looking for a true classic gondola experience, this may be the one. It is a Swiss-made tram that was constructed in 1970. It does not get much more classic than that here in the Northwest.

Alpine Slide at Skibowl

Honorable Mention – 

While not a Gondola, or Air Tram, Skibowl at Mt Hood has Ski Chair rides you can take up the mountain, and either hike down, Mountain Bike down, or take part way up and enjoy an Alpine Slide ride down! Find our full review of the Skipbowl park area here too.

Gondola Rides Just Beyond the Northwest –

whitefish gondola

Montana Gondola Ride-

Whitefish Mountain Resort Gondolas

The Whitefish area of Montana is beautiful year round, and the Gondolas at the Whitefish Mountain Resort are one way to take in the beauty of the mountain. If you want a more affordable place to stay for a trip to this area, check out the neighboring city of Kalispell. One of my kids all time favorite winter vacations was one we spent in Kalispell (find our review here for lots of ideas on what else to do in the area in the summer here, and in the Winter here)!

Quick Facts: 

Location – Whitefish Montana (Northwest Montana)
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – About 15 minutes each way
What You Can Expect To See – Mountain Views

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

California –

Skytrail Gondola at Trees of Mystery

SkyTrail Trees Tram

Quick Facts: 

Location – Klamath Ca (Northern California)
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – About 10 minutes each way
What You Can Expect To See – Trees!

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

Ok, we have crossed the border into Northern California here, but this is a fun one. This Gondola (or tree tram ride) is part of the Trees of Mystery attraction in Klamath Ca (Redwoods Forest). So not only do you get a gondola ride, but you get to see the beautiful Redwoods Forrest too (some amazingly beautiful trees).

Gondola ride redwoods

The SkyTrails Tram is part of the Trees of Mystery tourist area in the Redwoods. You may have seen the giant Paul Bunyan in the parking lot (a family favorite). In addition to the tram, you can enjoy trails to explore the redwoods here. You can also take the tram up, and hike back down – which is a great way to experience it. Here you will pay one admission fee, which provides access to the park and the tram.

Heavenly Village Gondola

Heavenly Village Gondola Lake Tahoe

Quick Facts: 

Location – Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe (technically California, but close to Nevada border)
Time Gondola Takes To Ride – About10 minutes each way
What You Can Expect To See – Mountain View, Wild Flowers, and Lake Tahoe

Check out their website for current pricing and hours.

If you decide to head over the California border on the Sierra Side, check out the Heavenly Village Gondola in Lake Tahoe. There you will not only find the Heavenly Gondola ride up the mountain, but you will also be near fantastic restaurants, shops and gorgeous turquoise beaches. This is really unique, to see such amazing mountain views, and be able to dunk in these spectacular waters, all in the same day.

For the adventurous, you can also buy a ticket for a gondola ride+ coaster ride, and speed down the mountain in their Alpine slide!

Sky ride at Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Sky Ride at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Ok, this one is not a Gondola, but if you are heading into the Northern California Region, it is one my family always enjoys! If you head to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, you can enjoy this ski ride, that will take you down the full length of the boardwalk and back. If you want more information about the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, we have a full review of that area here.

 

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