Looking for the best and most enjoyable things to do in Idyllwild, California? You are in a right place!
Idyllwild is a small town in the San Jacinto Mountains with a population of about 2,500 people. This tiny city has wonderful parks, great entertainment, interesting and instructive events, and even unusual dining options.
Millions of tourists travel to this city to appreciate its natural beauty and small-town charm. The city has breathtaking views because it is surrounded by magnificent peaks and sheltered in beautiful green forests. A wide variety of exotic plant and animal species add to the enjoyment. Idyllwild’s allure for travelers comes from the mystery surrounding its popularity.
If you want to relax, this is the place to be. In this article, we have provided the Idyllwild Visitors Guide of top things to do in Idyllwild, California including Idyllwild’s Best Hotels to eat, Idyllwild’s best places to stay, and the closest city to Idyllwild, and things to do at Idyllwild Campground.
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Where Is Idyllwild Ca Located?
Idyllwild, Pine Cove, and Fern Valley are three contiguous unincorporated settlements in Riverside County, California’s San Jacinto Mountains, the largest of which being Idyllwild.
The hamlets of Mountain Center and Garner Valley are also part of the Idyllwild community, but locals have mixed feelings about it.
“Mile-high Idyllwild” is a well-known mountain resort in southern California, lying one mile (1.6 kilometers) above sea level. Tahquitz Peak (and neighboring Lily Rock), Suicide Rock, and Mt Atlas all border Idyllwild.
Things to Do In Idyllwild:
Here are some ideas for making the most of a gorgeous day in Idyllwild. Whether you want to spend time in nature, take a stroll through a charming town, or see some local art, you’ll find enough to do.
- Explore Mount San Jacinto State Park
- Visit The Idyllwild Nature Center
- Relax In The Idyllwild Regional Park
- Go For A Walk Around Lake Fulmor
- Sip Some Excellent Wines
- Soak In Culture At A Local Art Gallery
- Meet Dogs And Cats At Living Free Animal Sanctuary
- Hike Devil’s Slide Trail
- Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage
- Idyllwild Electric Bikes
1. Explore Mount San Jacinto, State Park:
Begin your visit to Idyllwild with a visit to Mount San Jacinto State Park! This San Jacinto Mountains jewel is over two miles (3.21 kilometers) above sea level and boasts amazing views and breathtaking scenery.
If you want to experience your own version of Idyllwild, you should head to the second largest mountain range in the entire United States! Mount San Jacinto State Park, just a short distance from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, has a unique array of indigenous plants and animals.
Mount San Jacinto State Park is the greatest sight in all of Idyllwild, with camping and motorhome choices available to both locals and visitors.
See Also: Best Time To Visit Death Valley
2. Visit the Idyllwild Nature Center
At the Idyllwild Nature Center, you may experience the entire scope of the Idyllwild outdoors! When it comes to the Idyllwild Nature Center, you’ll be standing in front of and surrounded by the ideal combination of outdoor exploration and local education.
Learn more about what makes the Idyllwild environment such an amazing draw for wildlife enthusiasts, and then go explore it for yourself!
Trails and Idyllwild picnic sites abound at the Idyllwild Nature Center; whether you’re seeking the best way to immerse yourself in dynamic nature, or you’re looking to actively explore the sights and sounds that elevate the Idyllwild outdoors, you’ll find it all at the Idyllwild Nature Center, where naturally conserved wildlife meets your eagerness to discover it!
3. Relax In the Idyllwild Regional Park:
If you’re looking for a pleasant family vacation or a memorable experience with friends, Idyllwild Park is the place to be. Idyllwild Park encompasses 202 acres and is located just outside of town.
The park has about five outstanding hiking trails, and hikers get to appreciate the remarkable gorgeous views and fantastic scenery provided by the park’s lakes, mountains, and forests. Idyllwild Park has 88 campsites on its modest but well-maintained campgrounds, each with a fire ring and picnic table.
The park also provides a pet-friendly campground with facilities, water, a phone, showers, and other necessary amenities. Idyllwild Park is the place to go if you want to have fun and have a great time with your friends and family.
See Also: Waterfalls Near Bend Oregon
4. Go for a Walk Around Lake Fulmor:
Lake Fulmor, located near Idyllwild, is well worth a visit, especially if you love nature’s beauty. The lake is nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains, providing visitors with spectacular views. Lake Fulmor, which is about three acres wide, is well-known in Idyllwild as one of the best spots to fish.
The lake has short pathways that are ideal for extended walks with your travel companions, including pets. Right from the lake, you can enjoy the amazing landscape made by the gorgeous trees, mountains, rocks, and other natural features.
Lake Fulmor also boasts excellent locations ideal for family picnics and get-togethers; you will remember this lake for the rest of your life.
5. Sip Some Excellent Wines:
Are you up for a wine tasting? The Middle Ridge Winery on North Circle Drive specializes in premium wines. Stop by and sample one of their well-known pinot grigios or pinot noirs.
The vineyard’s proprietor, Chris Johnson, says his goal is to “have a discussion with everyone who comes into contact with the winery.” He was inspired by the warmth of Idyllwild to create a winery in town where people could come, visit, and drink wonderful wine.
6. Soak In Culture at a Town Gallery:
If you adore art, you’ll love this little art sanctuary in the bucolic side of California. Town Gallery is an art gallery in the rustic village of Idyllwild that shares space and ownership with Idyllwild Town Real Estate and is dedicated to promoting Idyllwild’s local artists and the art of those who use the magnificent town scenes as topics.
View local paintings, sketches, pottery, photography, and mixed media arts that all reflect Idyllwild in some way. There is also fine handcrafted furniture constructed from salvaged local wood.
See Also: Best Campgrounds In Big Sur
7. Meet Dogs and Cats At Living Free Animal Sanctuary
If you like animals, you should spend an hour at this sanctuary on California Highway 243, “just around the curve” from Idyllwild. Living Free Animal Sanctuary cares for rescued animals on its 150-acre property. This area is home to dogs, cats, burros, and wild mustangs.
After checking in at the visitor center, you can explore the cattery and dog kennels. It’s heartening to know that all of the inhabitants were saved just as their time at other shelters was running out. They can send out their days in peace here. When a dog or cat is adopted, it makes room for more rescues.
8. Hike Devil’s Slide Trail:
Hiking down the Devil’s Slide Trail is a great way to get a good physical workout. Don’t be alarmed by the name of this magnificent trail. The trail is only moderately challenging. The hike is simple enough for even inexperienced hikers to finish.
Furthermore, you are not required to complete the entire trail in a single stretch. Enjoy the landscape and your walk by stopping for a few moments on the benches along the trail. Furthermore, the views of the ocean from this high vantage point are breathtaking.
Horseback riders will appreciate the opportunity to ride on this track. Cyclists are not excluded either. You can sail through the course on your favorite paddling machines.
9. Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage:
Relax and unwind with the best of them at California’s Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage facility! It’s time to save the best for yourself, with rejuvenation services available only at one of the Golden State’s best spas. At Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage, a fully customized, personalized, professional relaxation spa and wellness package suited to your specific tastes is created.
Take advantage of their massage studio, where you will be in the hands of fully certified, world-class massage therapists.
With dynamic massage packages including Kangen Water Massage, Ayurveda Bodywork, and Chair Massages, Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage set the absolute standard as the best place to rest in Idyllwild! Find yourself on the premises for peace of mind you won’t want to live without.
See Also: Things To Do In Redwood National Park
10. Idyllwild Electric Bikes:
If you’ve always wanted to go for a bike ride, now is your chance; visit Idyllwild Electric Bikes for an unforgettable biking experience.
Idyllwild Electric Bikes provides a variety of powerful electric bikes, and you may be unsure which one to choose. They hire bikes in Idyllwild, which you can use to explore the gorgeous city and discover everything it has to offer that you haven’t seen yet.
Idyllwild Electric Bikes provides commuters, bike cruisers, mountain bikes, and folders; whichever one you want, it will be made available to you.
Don’t worry about growing weary of paddling because the bikes have a unique feature that provides you with hill-climbing power. This is a thrilling adventure to partake in while on vacation in Idyllwild, and it will leave you smiling the entire time.
See Also: Best Things To Do In Point Reyes
Where to Eat In Idyllwild?
Idyllwild is the ideal place to take a break from your everyday routine by embarking on a gastronomic tour of all its wonderful eateries. Plan your ideal trip by perusing this list of the 5 best restaurants in Idyllwild that I compiled particularly for you!
1. Cafe Aroma
Cafe Aroma is a very well-known restaurant that specializes in New American and Italian-inspired fare. This fantastic restaurant has a woodsy setting, magnificent natural surroundings, and a diverse menu that accommodates people on special diets.
The Cashew Alfredo is my personal favorite. It’s created with white wine, broccolini, garlic, and fettuccine, and it’s served with seasoned sunflower cashews on top.
Choose the Blacked Atlantic Salmon if you are gluten sensitive. It includes fish, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as a corn and cajun remoulade.
2. Red Kettle
The Red Kettle is a good option when looking for the best-rated restaurants in Idyllwild to start your day with a delicious lunch. It has a large menu with home-style cooking, quick service, patio seating for outdoor dining, and a variety of daily specials.
For a hearty breakfast, order the Mountain Muffin. A scrambled egg, American cheese, bacon strips, or ham, and your choice of cottage fries, hash browns, or fruit are served on a grilled English muffin.
For an overloaded omelet, try the Junkyard Omelet. There are four eggs, a bell pepper, cheddar, shredded beef, mushrooms, onions, American cheese, and tomatoes.
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Ferro Restaurant is named after the owner/chef, Frank Ferro. With menu items listed in Italian, the restaurant adheres to real Italian food. Ferro is a fantastic choice when looking for local eateries that serve some of the best food in Idyllwild.
Jazz nights, elegantly prepared meals, an exquisite environment, and a casual but elevated eating experience are all features of this wonderful restaurant.
It is also one of the greatest birthday restaurants in Idyllwild, with elegant service, intimate settings, and magnificent eating places.
4. Mile High Café
The Mile High Cafe is a family-run establishment that specializes in Korean, American, and Japanese cuisine. It has a charming environment, courteous service, peaceful surroundings, delicious Asian specialties, and kid-friendly culinary selections.
Try the Beef Bulgogi, a popular house specialty. It’s a Korean BBQ dish with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, brown or white rice, and a soy sauce salad on the side.
See Also: Big Sur Free Camping
Gastronome is one of the best restaurants in Idyllwild, specializing in upmarket New American food. It has a mountain cabin-like setting, a comfortable area, a cozy fireplace, a patio with breathtaking views of nature, an elegant environment, and outstanding service.
The cuisine is primarily comprised of steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes, with specialties such as eggs Benedict and beef Thai spaghetti. On the menu, there are also some fantastic vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
Where to Stay In Idyllwild?
Do you have a certain place in mind to stay? These are our top picks for the best places to stay in Idyllwild.
1. Best Budget Accommodation in Idyllwild – Moody Ruby One Bedroom with Yoga Loft:
This distinctive one-bedroom property, located just outside of Lily Creek and near the village center, provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The accommodation features an outstanding loft that is ideal for yoga, as well as a peaceful, rustic, and roomy décor throughout the property.
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2. Best Luxury Accommodation in Idyllwild – 3 BR Seasonal Creek W/ Hot Tub:
This delightful property is situated between charming treetops and is classically designed with high-beamed ceilings that have a modern twist. The cottage features three spacious bedrooms, a wonderful open-plan living space, and a rustic wooden deck with breathtaking forest views. It is also conveniently positioned, only a short distance from the town center.
3. Best Bed & Breakfast in Idyllwild – The Nest:
This charming bed & breakfast is hidden among the trees in the cool Lily Creek area, offering guests some of the most stunning mountain views. The cottage has top-of-the-line amenities such as a private patio, fireplace, and magnificent hot tub.
The cottage can accommodate up to two visitors, making it an excellent choice for both couples and lone travelers looking for a place to stay in Idyllwild.
4. Silver Pines Lodge:
Silver Pines Lodge is an excellent choice for anyone looking to rest and unwind. Guests can stay in relaxed rooms in the main building or in wooden huts near a lake where they can go fishing.
There is also a creekside porch, and the main hotel’s comfy lounge features a large fireplace where guests can warm up after a day of exploring the outdoors.
Silver Pines Lodge is conveniently located one mile from Idyllwild County Park, two miles from Suicide Rock, and three miles from Idyllwild Arts Academy.
See Also: Best Things To Do In Point Reyes
5. Idyllwild Inn:
Idyllwild Inn is a family-friendly option for those traveling with children, but it will also suit singles and couples visiting the area. There are several options for lodging, including elegant suites, themed rooms, and rustic cabins.
The historic inn was built in 1904 on a five-acre plot of land. The hotel’s location is one of the reasons it is so popular and has return customers who come back year after year. All of the area’s top features are within walking distance.
When does it Snow in Idyllwild?
Idyllwild only gets a few snowfalls that last for a few days. Public service announcements will be broadcast during non-snow months.
The snowy season lasts 4.3 months, from November 21 to March 29, with a normal 31-day snowfall of at least 1.0 inches. With an average snowfall of 3.3 inches, January is the snowiest month in Idyllwild-Pine Cove.
See Also: Dispersed Camping At Big Sur
Closest City to Idyllwild:
These are the approximate travel times from Idyllwild, California. There are several towns inside the whole area, so try a lower radius if you’re looking for something closer.
Cities 1 hour from Idyllwild
- 1 hour: Rancho Mirage, CA
- 1 hour: Palm Desert, CA
- 59 minutes: Perris, CA
- 55 minutes: White Water, CA
- 54 minutes: Nuevo, CA
- 53 minutes: Beaumont, CA
- 53 minutes: Calimesa, CA
- 52 minutes: Homeland, CA
- 50 minutes: Winchester, CA
- 48 minutes: Cabazon, CA
- 46 minutes: Aguanga, CA
- 41 minutes: Banning, CA
- 39 minutes: San Jacinto, CA
- 38 minutes: Hemet, CA
- 38 minutes: East Hemet, CA
What is there to do at Idyllwild Campground?
Take a Morning Stroll:
You prefer to “warm up” before a major hike by walking about town with a cup of coffee. It aids with acclimatization, plus the area offers some good eccentric shopping. Higher Grounds and Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew both have excellent coffee to go.
Coyote Red’s, a “country gourmet” gastronomic shop that sells everything from local jerky to specialty sauces from around the world, is a must-see on any Idyllwild camping trip. It’s in the lodge-style shopping complex next to the town plaza.
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Hike from Humber Park:
Humber Park is an excellent place for hikers to begin their Idyllwild camping excursion. It’s a short walk from most campgrounds and provides access to a variety of hiking trails. It is situated at the northern end of the neighboring Fern Valley.
The Ernie Maxwell trail is ideal for hikers looking for a nice day excursion that does not demand a substantial time or energy expenditure. It follows the ridge’s base and crosses numerous small creeks.
When we have more time on an Idyllwild camping vacation, we like to take a longer hike, such as Devil’s Slide. The option for hikers to establish numerous goals based on the weather and how they feel on their trek up is the most appealing aspect of Devil’s Slide. The first goal we set for ourselves was to get a view of Suicide Rock.
Rest at Saddle Junction:
On the Devil’s Slide, the next goal is to reach Saddle Junction. If you don’t have much time, you can hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail on your way up to Saddle Junction. Hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail frequently stop in Idyllwild for supplies and a refreshing drink. Find someone ragged and cheerful at the bar and ask about their travels.
Saddle Junction serves as a junction for a variety of additional paths in addition to the famed Pacific Crest Trail. Hike down the mountain to the Palm Springs Tramway, a cable car that will take you down the mountain and into Palm Springs. Saddle Junction has open places that keep you warm on cool days, as well as great boulders for picnics.
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Dine after the Hike:
We arrived at La Casita, still glowing from the ascent. We shared nachos and drank a pitcher of water. We also sampled Roberto’s well-known Jalapeno & Olive Sauce. After a quick trip back to the campsite for a rest and some hygienic cleansing, we headed to town for our favorite part, a ridiculous quantity of great pasta eating at Cafe Aroma.
After supper, it was time to return to the tent for a few beers by the fire, stargazing, and a good night’s sleep before the scheduled off-road expedition the next day.
Go Off-Roading in the San Bernardino National Forest:
You may take your automobile off-roading, splashing over creeks, jumping over bumps, and racing through thick sandy ruts. You can also connect with the trails by riding some amazing dirt back roads. Maps are available at the ranger station on Pine Crest and Highway 243 in Idyllwild.
Picnicking at Lake Fulmor:
You should stop for a picnic beside Lake Fulmor on your way down the mountain, on your way back to the concrete jungle. It gives you something to look forward to as you leave one of the world’s most beautiful towns. The lake and picnic spots are beautiful, and it’s off the main road with lots of parking.
You can trek further in for some rock jumping into the cool water, or you can do what we do and relax at a picnic table and enjoy the vista. Take a trip from Pine Cove north of Idyllwild and weave your way down to 243 just before Lake Fulmor, all on roads open to all vehicles that mix off-roading and a picnic.
See Also: Camping Near Eugene Oregon
Things to Do In Idyllwild – FAQs
If you’re planning a trip to Idyllwild, California, I hope this list of the greatest things to do in the city helps you.
As previously said, tourists can pick between outdoor leisure and learning about the city’s arts, history, and culture, which are also relevant to American heritage.
It never runs out of beautiful spots and interesting sites that bring you closer to nature while also teaching you about history.