Palm Springs Windmill Tour
By Kathy Condon
No matter what form of transportation you take to enter Palm Springs, you will be amazed at the sight of over 2,000 windmills lining the Valley and the hills. It is easy to understand why they have been the backdrop for movies and countless photo shoots.
If you want to look at them up close and personal, the Palm Springs Windmill Tour Company can make that happened. Opened in the fall of 2014, you reach the offices by going out Indian Canyon, cross Highway 10 and take the immediate left on frontage road. Down about a mile on your right, you will see the Windmill Tour bus prominently placed so you know you have gotten to the right place. Don’t look for a sign on the building for there isn’t one.
Beginning of the Tour
The tour begins by a very knowledgeable guide explaining the history of the windmills in the valley. Large pictures serve as the backdrop for his lecture, which last approximately one-half hour. If you can’t stand that long, there are chairs readily available.
Some interesting facts:
In 1987, the windmills here were the largest producer of this kind of energy in the world. Now those same windmills have become obsolete and there is only a small graveyard of a few of those towers.
There are 40 separate owners of the windmills that one sees here in the Valley. If the windmill is turning, it is a working and producing energy. If it propellers are not working, it is the process of either being torn down or maintenance is being done on it.
Middle Part of the Tour
In the next portion of the tour, you are taken outside to look at the mechanical aspects of the windmills. They have examples of the original ones and take you up to modern times. This part is an engineer's dream, so make sure you bring people who appreciate “how things work”.
Sunscreen and hats are in order here. You are out in the open with no shade for about 20 minutes so be prepared. Sandals are fine for you do very little walking on this tour. They have plenty of water for you, so it not necessary to load yourself up with water bottles.
End of the Tour
Conveniently located at the end of the mechanical portion is an air-conditioned bus. You hop on and you are taken down roads among the towering windmills. You think they look big from a distance, wait until you are standing about 300 feet from the base of one of them. `
One marvels at how up-to-date the tour guide is on the latest technology. It is apparent he loves his work and is a student of wind energy throughout the world. There wasn’t a question we asked that he couldn’t answer. This portion of the tour lasts about one-half hour and stops are made so you can choose to decide if you want to get off and take pictures.
The total tour is about one and half-hours long. If you have been thinking you wanted to learn more about the windmills and their importance to the Coachella Valley and the world, this is the tour for you. It’s best to call and order your tickets in advance, especially in high season. It is apparent, as the word gets out about the tour, it will be great demand.
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
62950 20th Avenue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Tours: Seven days a week at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Children 12 and Under $17.50