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Mile High Idyllwild: A Southern California Alpine Retreat

Updated on April 19, 2008

Idyllwild, California

Nestled in secluded Strawberry Valley on the pine-covered western slopes of the towering San Jacinto Mountains, the small community of Idyllwild sits at the gateway to the lush San Bernardino National Forest. Perched high above the smog and urbran-generated murkiness that clogs the lower valleys and canyons, Idyllwild, with a year-round population of about 3,000 people, is a popular Southern California mountain retreat.

Small Town Feel

Famous for its small-town charm and rustic feel, Idyllwild is unique in that there is not one stop light in the entire town - just stop signs! And downtown Idyllwild, which is basically just a few streets, is a quaint and unique collection of various mom and pop-type stores and shops, from bakeries and coffee houses to art galleries and boutiques. And the dining opportunities in Idyllwild are damn impressive; everything from your typical hamburger and hot dog joint to an elegant steak house or Chinese restaurant can be found on the streets of Idyllwild. And to cap off a day of sightseeing and exploring, there is even a small movie theatre that shows exactly one movie.

Experience All Four Seasons

Located at just over a mile in elevation, at 5,300 feet, Idyllwild is a popular Summer destination for people seeking relief from the sweltering valley heat below. And due its elevation, Idyllwild experiences all four seasons. Summers are generally warm, with highs in the 80's common, and Winters can be quite cool, with abundant snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures quite common. The Fall and Spring seasons tend to be mild and fair. And the nights in Idyllwild are a stargazers dream; with the clean air and only a handful of street lights, the stars shine big and bright over Idyllwild!

Rock Climbing and Hiking in Idyllwild

Well-known amongst rock climbers and hikers, Idyllwild boasts some of the finest outdoor recreational opportunities in all of Southern California. Tahquitz Rock, a giant dome-shaped rock outcropping located on a high ridge overlooking Idyllwild at 8,828ft, is a famous destination for rock climbers. Resembling Yosemite's Half Dome, rock climbers from around the world venture to Tahquitz Rock to improve and hone their skills on its sheer cliffs and jagged face.

Located a few miles to the north, the towering presence of Mt. San Jacinto looms large. At 10,804 feet, Mt. San Jacinto or "San Jack" is the highest mountain in the San Jacinto Mountains and the second-highest mountain in all of Southern California. One of the most popular hiking destinations in all of California, every year thousands of hikers and backpackers descend upon Mt. San Jacinto and trudge up its steep and rocky slopes to its barren, wind-swept summit. From there, located over two-miles above sea level, the tired hiker is treated to an awesome panoramic view that stretches for miles. As the famed naturalist John Muir once remarked from atop the mountain: "The view from atop Mt. San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!".

For the outdoor enthusiast or for a person who is seeking a quaint getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban life, Idyllwild is the perfect location in which to recharge your batteries and to bask in the nurturing, restorative effects of nature.

Idyllwild, California


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