Idyllwild Idyllwild is one of Southern California’s least-hyped mountain retreats and that’s part of its charm.
San Jacinto MountainsIdyllwild, CA
Frosty Idyllwild in the wintertime.
Photo: Don Raridon
Nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains between 4,000 to 6,100 feet, Idyllwild is a day trip or a weekend fling just itching to happen. It’s a quiet place to take long hikes, climb rocks, and in the wintertime, build snowmen and snuggle around a warm fire.
Ease InThe town’s charm lies in the ease of escaping into the rhythms of a mountain village. It’s a simple, 2 to 3-hour drive (depending on fast you drive) from downtown San Diego, making it possible to leave after work on Friday and arrive in the village in time for dinner. Idyllwild usually doesn’t get snow until November, and even then, unless a storm hits that day, chains are rarely required.
CivilizationYou won’t be roughing it — as long as you’re not headed to nearby Mount San Jacinto State Park or Black Mountain to camp or climb. Tucked into a valley beneath the granite pillars of the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild has a few good restaurants, a movie theater, gift shops galore and some really friendly people.
Take a breakThis mountain retreat is a definite must-see and do for anyone needing a break from hectic city life or any life for that matter. Kevin Brass & Lisa Castro
Pack your hiking bootsOne of the village’s best-known attractions is its proximity to more than 275 miles of scenic hiking trails winding through the San Jacinto Mountains.
Take the backroadsThe most scenic route to Idyllwild is via the backroads. Trust me, there’s less traffic and more chances to see wildlife. It may take you a little longer to get there, but it’s worth it.
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