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 senic 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, 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 boarder 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.
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.
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 higest 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 many shops in the center of town.
A range of restaurants caters to all budgets. There are two supermarkets for those who wish to cook for themselves.
Idyllwild Town Center
Gastrognome - Very fine lunch and dinner with exceptional ambience. Indoor and outdoor seating. The Gastrognome is located across the street from the Idyllwild Inn. Open every day - (951) 659-5055
Candy Cupboard - 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 !! - (951) 659-5502
Omas Bakery - European Bakery - Breakfast and Lunch - (951) 659-2979
JavaLounge Idyllwild - Coffee, Tea and Pastries, open 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Many tables to hookup your laptop to Wireless Internet. Next to the totem pole - (951) 659-JAVA (5282)
Gary’s Meat - Deli Lunch and Dinner. They are located in the shopping center across from the US Post Office.
Idyllwild Green Organic Food Coop - (951) 659-2502
Idyllwild House of Jerky Jerky from Around the World - (951) 659-4504
Jo’anns Restaurant - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Everyday (951) 659-0295 - Dead center of town eatery with live entertainment on Saturdays. Both indoor and outdoor seating. A Seatle’s Best coffee shop has just been added.
The Village Market - Market, deli, pizzas and coffee bar located at the intersection of Highway 243 and North Circle.
JC’s 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, Everyday - (951) 659-4540
Idyllwild Pizza - Lunch & Dinner, Everyday (951) 659-5900 - Located next door to the US Postal Office in the shopping center.
Mozart Haus - German Lunch and Dinner - (951) 659-5500
Hidden Village - Chinese food - (951) 659-2712
The Creek House Fabulous dinners on Wed.,Thurs., Frid. & Sat. - Lunches on Sat. and Sun. Great Place to have your wedding or party.- (951) 659-0686
The Breadbasket - Great Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a fabulous deck. The omelets are amazing. - (951) 659-3506
La Casita - Mexican Food - (951) 659-6038
Aroma Cafe - Fine Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Lots of entertainment during the summer months. Say hi to Hubert and Frank... - (951) 659-5212.
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 951-659-2201
Bluebird Hill Lodge 951-659-2696
Cedar Street Inn 951-659-4789
Cottage Creek Inn 951-659-5188
Creekstone Inn 951-659-3342
Edelweiss Lodge 951-659-2787
Fern Village Chalets 951-659-2869
Fern Valley Inn 951-659-2205
Fireside Inn 951-659-2966
Idyllwild Inn 951-659-2552 or 888-659-2552
Knotty Pine Cabins 951-659-2933
Manzanita Cabins 951-659-3151
Mile High Country Inn 951-659-2931
Pine Cove Inn 951-659-5033 or 888-659-5033
Quiet Creek Inn 951-659-6110 or 800-450-6110
Rainbow Inn 951-659-0111
Silver Pines Lodge 951-659-4335
Strawberry Creek Inn 951-659-3202
Tahquitz Inn 951-659-4554
Wilder Cabins 951-659-2926
Woodland Park Manor 951-659-2657
Cabins and Homes
Forest Realty 951-659-4617
Idyllwild Mountain Rentals 951-659-5349
Idyllwild Vacation Rentals 951-659-5015
Mountain Greenery 951-659-4628
Muir’s Mtn Vacation Rentals 951-659-4835
Idyllwild County Park 800-234-7275
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.