Idyllwild is a city in Riverside County in Southern California. It is situated at mile high elevation in the San Jacinto mountains. Visitors are attracted by alpine scenery, rock climbing, hiking, shopping, and outdoor camping.
Most visitors to Idyllwild will arrive by car. Idyllwild is reachable by three main routes. Highway 74 connects Hemet to Idyllwild in about 30 minutes driving. Highway 243 connects to Banning and Interstate 10. Highway 74, known as the Palms to Pines highway, also connects the desert communities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert to Idyllwild via a scenic route that passes through many ecological zones and spectacular landscapes.
It is possible to reach Idyllwild by hiking 10 miles from the top of the Palm Springs Tramway. This is perhaps the most stunning route to the town. Be sure to have a car waiting at Humber Park, or arrange for a ride to town, as it is another couple miles from the trailhead to the center of town.
The Pacific Crest Trail, which extends along the west coast from the Mexico border to Canada, passes by Idyllwild. Idyllwild is a good place to stop for supplies, and maybe a shower and clean bed.
Much of Idyllwild can be visited by walking, though a car is useful to get to trailheads, and some of the hotels and rental cabins are located a bit outside the center. Occasionally a horse-drawn cart transports visitors between the main attractions in the town center.
The views from town are beautiful. Tahquitz peak and rock are probably the most photographed. Marion mountain is also visible from town. Panoramas of Hemet and the greater Los Angeles area are visible from many lookouts near town. You can even see the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.
The center of town is full of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and a movie theater.
There is a world class secondary arts school, the Idyllwild Arts Academy that frequently offers free gallery exhibitions, classical music concerts, and theater performances on campus.
The local newspaper, the Town Crier, provides local news and a calendar of events.
Idyllwild TV lets you see the town, its people, events and natural attractions from the eyes of locals and tourists.
- Jazz in the Pines. There is an annual outdoor jazz festival held in late summer.
Idyllwild has world class rock climbing on Tahquitz Rock (sometimes referred to as Lily Rock), and Suicide Rock. Tahquitz Rock has longer climbs, some of them 6 pitches. Suicide Rock has mostly 2 pitch climbs. Both offer a range of difficulty and excellent views.
There is an extensive, well maintained trail network throughout the San Jacinto mountains. These are administered by the San Bernadino National Forest, and the San Jacinto State Park. Pick up permits at the rangers station in the center of town before leaving. Permits are recognized by both the National Forest and State Park.
- Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. This is a relatively short and mostly level trail for a relaxing walk through the woods. It's accessible from Humber Park and ends at a road a couple miles to the south. Most hikers walk part way and then turn back.
- Tahquitz Peak. Excellent views and a lookout tower. It takes about 4 hours round trip via Humber Park and Saddle Junction, or via South Ridge Trail.
- San Jacinto Peak. The highest peak in the range, over 10,800 feet elevation. It is about 7-8 hours round trip, and has a lot of elevation gain. An easier way to reach the peak is via the Palm Springs Tramway, but the Idyllwild route is a beautiful and less traveled way to do it.
There are over 15 art galleries in Idyllwild representing over 200 artists. Nomad Ventures sells rock climbing and other outdoor equipment.
A range of restaurants caters to all budgets.
- Mountain Harvest Market, ☎ . "Community based, independently owned and operated, healthy foods store entirely staffed, supported and sustained by our local mountain communities."
- Fairway Foods, ☎ .
- Village Market (at the intersection of Highway 243 and North Circle), ☎ . Market, deli, pizzas, beer, liquor and coffee bar.
- Candy Cupboard, ☎ . In the same location for 27 years, an old fashioned candy store serving fun items like shaved ice, chocolate dipped ice cream bars, novelty candy and very retro candy. its basically a journey into the past. have fun! The oldest business in Idyllwild other than the Gastrognome.
- Idyllwild House of Jerky, ☎ . Jerky from around the world.
- Idyllwild Tea Company, 54425 North Circle Dr Suite 7 (in Oakwood Village, one and half blocks north from the center of town). Open only Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10AM-6PM. Offers premium tea, espresso, hot chocolate and freshly made scones in a cozy cafe or outside below the pines. Also has a retail store that offers fine quality bulk teas, unique and vintage tea pots, hand-made soaps from goat's milk and olive oil, tea scented lotions, bath products, custom-made vintage broken china jewelry, hard-to-find tea necessities, and custom gift baskets ranging in affordable prices. They also have Wifi.
- Cafe Aroma, ☎ . "Idyllwild's funnest and funkiest fine dining establishment." Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. A relaxed fine dining experience. The best place in Idyllwild for locals and visitors
- Gastrognome, ☎ . Open every day. Very fine lunch and dinner with exceptional ambience. Indoor and outdoor seating. The Gastrognome is located across the street from the Idyllwild Inn.
- Omas Bakery, ☎ . European Bakery Breakfast and Lunch.
- Gary's Meat. In the shopping center across from the US Post Office. Deli Lunch and Dinner.
- Jo'anns Restaurant, ☎ . Dead center of town Breakfast, lunch & dinner every day. Eatery with live entertainment on Saturdays. Both indoor and outdoor seating. A Seatle's Best coffee shop has just been added.
- Red Kettle. Perhaps Idyllwild's oldest eating establishment (though under different names). Colorful coffee shop with both indoor and outdoor dining.
- The Greek Place, ☎ . Greek lunch & dinner every day.
- Idyllwild Pizza, ☎ . Next door to the US Postal Office in the shopping center Lunch & dinner, every day.
- Mozart Haus, ☎ . German Lunch and Dinner.
- Hidden Village, ☎ . Chinese food.
- The Creek House, ☎ . Fabulous dinners W-Sa; Lunches Sa,Su. Great Place to have your wedding or party.
- The Breadbasket, ☎ . Great Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a fabulous deck.
- La Casita, ☎ . Mexican Food.
Some restaurants have bars, but they are not open very late. Instead, open a bottle of wine and share it with friends around the fireplace at home, or a campfire outdoors. There is a liquor store, and supermarkets sell wine, liquor, and beer.
There are a number of hotels, and rental agencies offer cabins. Camping is a popular option. Several campsites are run by the State Park, while others are administered by the national forest. Both car camping and sites that are only accessible by hiking are available.
Motels and Inns
- Atipahato Motel, ☎ .
- Bluebird Hill Lodge, ☎ .
- Cedar Street Inn, ☎ .
- Cottage Creek Inn, ☎ .
- Creekstone Inn, ☎ .
- Edelweiss Lodge, ☎ .
- Fern Village Chalets, ☎ .
- Fern Valley Inn, ☎ .
- Fireside Inn, ☎ .
- Idyllwild Inn, ☎ , toll-free: .
- Knotty Pine Cabins, ☎ .
- Manzanita Cabins, ☎ .
- Mile High Country Inn, ☎ .
- Peaceful Mountain Inn, ☎ . ,
- Quiet Creek Inn, ☎ , toll-free: .
- Rainbow Inn, ☎ .
- Silver Pines Lodge, ☎ .
- Strawberry Creek Inn, ☎ .
- Wilder Cabins, ☎ .
- Woodland Park Manor, ☎ .
Cabins and Homes
- Idyllwild Mountain Rentals, ☎ .
- Idyllwild Vacation Rentals, ☎ .
- Mountain Greenery, ☎ .
- Muir's Mtn Vacation Rentals, ☎ .
- Idyllwild County Park, ☎ .
Idyllwild is located 30 minutes by car from Hemet, and approximately 45 minutes drive from Palm Springs. The Temecula wine country is about an hour away. Los Angeles and San Diego are both a couple hours away to the west and south respectively.