Idyllwild is a magical little mountain town located just outside of the Greater Palm Springs area in California. The town is only about an hour from the desert floor and yet at least 25 degrees cooler. It’s a great place to get away from the heat, relax and escape the busyness of every day life.
Why do we love Idyllwild?
One of the main draws for us is that the town is extremely dog-friendly. So dog-friendly in fact, the Mayor of the town is a dog named Max!
We love that most places to stay, eat and play allow pups. Just look how happy our doggos are when in Idy!
Place to Stay:
Idyllwild Inn – Our absolute favorite place to stay is the Idyllwild Inn. I cringe at the fact that I’m giving away our secret but you know…we only have 2 people following our blog right now and I think one is my mom. Anyway, we discovered this little gem a few years back and it’s pretty much where we stay every time we visit now. They’re little cabins you can rent for such great prices and they’re located right in town, walking distance to EVERYTHING.
Idyllwild Bunkhouse – We have also stayed in the Idyllwild Bunkhouse once before. The rooms were cute and they left a cute little breakfast basket on our front door each morning. The only thing we didn’t like about the place was its location. The hotel is only a short drive from town but you’re far enough that you can’t just walk to the restaurant you want to eat at.
Experience Idyllwild – If you’re looking for something a bit fancier and more secluded, consider looking into Experience Idyllwild. These properties are adorable and are owned by a great family from the Palm Springs area. Be sure to book a cabin way in advance though!
Most trails require a hiking permit. You can aquire a pass by visiting the Ranger Station in town. Passes are $5/day or $30/year.
There are a few other trails we haven’t tried yet but below is a list of the ones we have explored so far. Also note that every trail we listed below is rated as “Moderate” by AllTrails but we’ve listed them in order from easiest to hardest because some were way more challenging in our opinion than others.
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
4.6 miles / Moderate
This trail is definitely the easiest of the bunch. You do not need a permit, it’s dog-friendly and it offers a nice, gradual incline with stunning views throughout.
6.7 miles / Moderate
Suicide Rock is a pretty good size hike and we can see why it’s rated moderate. You gain almost 2000 feet of elevation during this 6.7 mile hike but the panoramic views from the sheer cliff at the top (hence the name Suicide Rock) are breathtaking and so worth it.
Devils Slide, Willow Creek and Caramba Trial to Skunk Cabbage Meadow
6.2 miles / Moderate
Wow that’s a mouth full. The best way to explain this journey is that the Devils Slide trail takes you to Saddle Junction. Saddle Junction breaks off into several trails including the trail that leads to Tahquitz Peak. We decided to veer off and do the Caramba Trail; a one mile loop that takes you through Skunk Cabbage Meadow. This trail is also dog-friendly. Also, if you’re wondering what skunk cabbage is, it’s the weird green plant you see in the first pic below.
8.1 miles / Moderate
Tahquitz Peak is a tough one! This hike will take you about 5 hours (depending on your experience level) and there’s a 2,800 ft. elevation gain. You can see Tahquitz Peak from almost anywhere in town and it’s definitely the most well known hike of the bunch. The view from the top is incredible and the pictures below don’t do it a justice.
Where to Eat:
We tend to stick to our usual spots so we’ll list those first. However, there’s quite a few restaurants people rave about that we haven’t had a chance to check out yet. We’ll list those at the bottom.
Idyllwild Brewpub – This place is always our go to. We love sitting outside in the beautiful weather, enjoying a cold beer after a long day of hiking and grabbing a bite to eat. Their food is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. It’s very dog-friendly and they’ll even fill up a water bowl for your pup.
Higher Grounds Coffee House – If you know me, you know I LOVE my coffee. This cute little place is right in town and a stone throw away from where we usually stay. We love grabbing a cold brew to drink on the way to our hikes or after our hikes or lets be real, whenever I can convince others we need more coffee.
Mile High Cafe – This place is a short drive from town and another good breakfast option. It’s a family owned business and the last time we had breakfast there, the owner came out with a bag of dog treats for my pups. They also serve good lunch but we have only had breakfast there.
Wine Shop & Bistro – Idyll Awhile is cute little wine bar right in town next to the coffee shop and they often have live music playing.
Red Kettle – This place offers exceptional breakfast and is located in the center of town but it’s always packed on weekends and it’s hard to get a seat. We were able to snag a seat when we visited Idyllwild during the week. You can sit on the patio with your pups and enjoy a great view of the town.
Tommy’s Kitchen – We’ve only eaten here once and WOW it was good. They offer a Sunday Brunch Buffet and we just had to experience it. The buffet had a dessert bar and we were told that the owner is Swiss and actually hand makes all the pastries each week! We took that as an opportunity to try each and every one.
Idyllwild Pizza Company – This place is another one of our go to’s. We like to order pick-up and enjoy pizza out on the deck of our cabin. The pizza is fantastic and the dough is fresh.
Other Things to Do:
Besides hiking, eating and relaxing in your cabin, there are a few more fun things to see and do in Idyllwild!
Boutique Shops – Another thing we love to do is walk around town and explore the shops! There’s tons of unique boutiques and gift shops. I usually like to purchase a new anklet from one of the shops while I’m there!
Lake Fulmer – Lake Fulmer is a quiet little lake located off the 243 on your way into Idyllwild. Around the lake is a small 1/2 mile loop trail you can stroll along. A lot of people like to schedule family portraits here and if you have a license, you can fish!
Whether you frequently travel to Idyllwild or are planning on making your first trip soon, we hope you were able to gain some insight on all there is do and see in this magical little town. We sure hope you love Idy as much as we do. Travel on my friends!