Idyllwild, California USA

Idyllwild, California USA (May 19-20, 2023)

Welcome to Idyllwild California
Welcome to Idyllwild, California
Located just a 2-hour drive from San Diego and Los Angeles, Idyllwild offers a fun 2-3 day getaway out of the city and back to nature. This Southern California mile-high alpine resort town is known for its picturesque tall-trees forest environment ringed by rocky mountains and its small town vibe with a friendly downtown.

Map - Idyllwild California
Idyllwild was an artist community and you can see the art heritage all around town. Today it is a nice laid-back place to relax, recharge, breath in the pine-scented fresh air, enjoy the many beautiful forest hikes, explore the unique shops and art galleries, eat well at local restaurants, engage in mountain adventures, and stay in cozy accommodations. All Idyllwild businesses are local owned - no franchises here.

Cafe Aroma Idyllwild California
Cafe Aroma - Idyllwild
Idyllwild restaurants are local-run with an alpine atmosphere and good food. Not to be missed on a visit to Idyllwild for dinner is Cafe Aroma located near town (see photo). The food and service is excellent and the open-air seating is a wonderful setting. Reservations are highly recommended and and be made on their website.  

Red Kettle restaurant Idyllwild California
Red Kettle - Idyllwild
Gastronome is a very nice restaurant located in the center of town open for lunch or dinner. Housed in a mountain cabin, it is lovely to sit in the shaded patio deck during a warm day or be cozy inside around the large fireplace when it is cold. For a classic American mountain experience, the place to go is the Red Kettle (see photo) in town for breakfast or lunch - try one of their homemade pies. For a more modern place for breakfast or lunch, try the Alpaca Brunch Cafe just south of town.

Rustic Theatre Idyllwild California
Rustic Theatre - Idyllwild
Accommodations in Idyllwild include cozy B&B’s, hotels (a couple modern ones), or renting a mountain cabin. The Village Market in town has good groceries and across the street is a Shell Gas Station. Also in town, the Rustic Theater (see photo) offers current movies and special events - we attended one and it was fun. Look out for notices about other special music and art events held in town.

Good hikes around Idyllwild
Good hikes around Idyllwild
Many alpine hikes around Idyllwild are family friendly with more challenging ones for the adventurous (see trail map). You will likely see an array of birds from blue jays to Stellar’s jays and woodpeckers. An easy stroll along Strawberry Creek near town is beautiful (see photo at bottom of this post).

Located a few minutes drive from town, we liked the Idyllwild Nature Center, a nature preserve located in a beautiful mountain setting with easy forest trails, picnic areas, and an informative museum about the local birds and animals. There is Ranger to answer questions. We enjoyed the easy (less than 1 mile) Nature Loop Trail. The Perimeter Trail offers a longer hike.

Rent Mountain Cabin Idyllwild California
Rent a Mountain Cabin - Idyllwild
Close to town is 202-acre Idyllwild Park, a great place for gathering with family or friends. Many picnic tables are available and you can enjoy exploring the different hiking trails where you are able to see tall trees, clear lakes, and views of the mountains. You can also mountain bike the trails. Camping is available in shaded campsites with fire pits.

Pretty Lake Fulmor
If you prefer a flat, easy hike around a pretty lake, head to Lake Fulmor, located about 10 miles north of Idyllwild (see photo). Around the lake, you may see ground squirrels, tree frogs, butterflies, and noisy jays. This recreation area is good for fishing stocked with rainbow trout or have a picnic in the shade of beautiful trees. It also has restrooms.

Downtown Idyllwild California
Downtown Idyllwild
Good for history buffs or for an indoor day, the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum is a local museum housed in a circa-1930’s cabin. There are old photographs, artifacts, and relics once owned by locals who lived in Idyllwild and its surrounding area.

Painted Deer Project Idyllwild California
Painted Deer Project - Idyllwild
During your visit to Idyllwild you will probably notice the painted deers public art throughout the town and businesses. This project highlights Idyllwild as a quirky and beautiful art center (see photo).

Idyllwild is the gateway to the San Jacinto Wilderness. A variety of recreation opportunities are found here including hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. 

Palm Springs Tram
After your visit to Idyllwild, you can take a drive on the scenic Pines to Palms Scenic Byway for about 45 minutes winding down the mountain into Palm Desert. The change in landscape is fascinating and the view down into the desert is breathtaking. 

You can enjoy the scenic landscape of Palm Springs on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up from the dry terrain of the Sonoran Desert to the cool heights of the San Jacinto Mountains 8,516 feet above sea level (see photo).

Strawberry Creek Idyllwild
Strawberry Creek

Enjoy your time in Idyllwild… we did!

Click on these links to see our other 13 posts on beautiful California:

Laguna Beach, California

Mammoth Lakes, California

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you Wayne. I’m going to give it a try this Friday. Keep up these helpful reviews my friend. Safe travels! Lance Pelky


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