Visiting Idyllwild, CA

In the quiet town of San Jacinto, in the mountains of California, you’ll find a small, yet vibrantly active resort town located about a mile high. That town is Idyllwild, also known by locals as “The Hill.” The town is flanked by two large rocks, Suicide Rock and Tahquitz Rock, and in rock climbing circles, these rocks are well known. Minimal development of the region has occurred, leaving it primarily in its natural state. Whether you want to hike, climb a mountain or climb a rock, Idyllwild is a fine vacation destination.

Despite its relatively small size and quiet nature, Idyllwild, California boasts more than fifteen art galleries, as well as several resident artists who live in town. In fact, Idyllwild was recently named one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. While you’re there, be sure to check out one of the many galleries or stop by the annual August jazz festival. Other music festivals and cultural opportunities abound, including the Annual Art Walk and Wine Tasting event, and September’s Plein Air Art Festival.


When it comes to shopping in Idyllwild, you’ll find a number of locally owned and operated businesses. Notably absent are the kinds of franchises and chain stores that are so common in many other resort communities.

In addition, be sure to check out the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum, where you can learn about the rich history of Idyllwild. You can find out the legend behind Tahquitz Rock, and learn why the town was originally called Strawberry Valley. The home of the Historical Society is a 1920s summer cabin that makes a great stop on your tour.

One of the things visitors and locals alike like about Idyllwild is that at its elevation, it experiences all four seasons. The Idyllwild Nature Center is a great place to take a nature walk and explore the local flora and fauna. The Nature Center also offers a campfire and storytelling program for visitors with small children. The Center’s programs also include seminars on local habitats, flora and fauna, and mountain ecology. Special programs are also offered on the Cahuilla Indian way of life.

And, as you might imagine, there are a number of places to dine in Idyllwild, whether you want a quiet, low-key dinner, or a bit of lively entertainment with your dinner.

In 2000, Idyllwild became recognized as the gateway to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The area included in the national monument includes the area running from Palm Springs in the northwest to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, which you’ll find on the Pacific Crest trail.

As you can see, there are a number of great reasons to visit Idyllwild, if only as a home base on a larger exploration of California. And if none of the attractions mentioned above sparks your interest, you might enjoy visiting the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The Cabazon Outlet Mall is also nearby, or if you want to test your luck, check out the nearby Soboba Casino or Casio Morango, located in San Jacinto and Cabazon, respectively.