The small mountain town of Idyllwild, California is nestled within the San Jacinto Mountains, and offers a nice break from busy cities. Things to do range from hiking and other outdoor activities to eating at delicious local eateries, shopping, and more. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the Mount San Jacinto State Park, Idyllwild Park, andLake Fulmor. Other attractions include boutique shops, art galleries, and a winery for wine lovers.
1.Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness
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After entering the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness, visitors will certainly feel like they are in the center of wilderness up in the San Jacinto Mountains. The park spans across fourteen thousand acres and can be accessed from the town of Idyllwild from Highway 243. From the town, trails of various difficulties meander across rocky outcrops, past mountain meadows, and through conifer forests as they head into the high country wilderness. The popular 4.5-mile loop takes hikers to the Round Valley in which they can see alpine meadows and the historic 1930’s ranger station.
25905 CA-243, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-2607
2.Idyllwild Nature Center
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The Idyllwild Nature Center is located along Highway 242, just one mile outside of town. The center provides an array of environmental education programs, guided tours, and field study trips, all of which can be scheduled by groups and customized to meet any specific interests or needs. Educational programs focus on topics such as the San Jacinto Mountains history, the Cahuilla Native culture, fauna and flora, habitats, and mountain ecology. The Idyllwild Nature Center also host several seasonal events throughout the year, including Wildflower Day, Butterfly Daze, and Lemon Lily Restoration Day. There are also picnic tables, trails, and a gift shop.
25225 CA-243, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-3850
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Lake Fulmor is known in the area for being a great fishing lake. There is also a rather short trail for walking that travels along the edge of the lake. While the lake itself has a surface area of only around three acres, it’s a type of place that often reminds people that there is sometimes more than what meets the eye, particularly when it is something in nature. The surrounding scenery around Lake Fulmor could possibly pass for the Great Smoky Mountains or the Sierras.The walking trail that loops around the lake passes by the fishing pier and over a bridge.
Idyllwild, CA 92549
4.Middle Ridge Winery
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The Middle Ridge Winery offers award-winning wines made with plenty of heart and soul by a man who loves to geek out on the chemistry and wine and share that passion with other people. The tasting room isn’t a typical winery tasting room. The building is four thousand square feet in the center of Gilroy and is a combination of an art gallery and a tasting room. The Middle Ridge Tasting Gallery is an elegant and rustic gathering place in which guests can simply relax with some wine and take in the artwork made by talented artists in Southern California.
54301 N. Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-9000
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Idyllwild Park is a popular park situated on the edge of the eclectic town of Idyllwild, measuring a little over two hundred acres in size and featuring scenic hiking trails, mature forest, and wide open space. There are five different trails that hikers can take to explore panoramic views and beautiful scenery. More adventurous visitors can find some of the area’s best challenges in rock climbing in Idyllwild Park. The well-tended but still rustic campground consists of eighty-eight campsites, each one with a picnic table and fire ring. The pet-friendly campground also includes showers, restrooms, water, and a phone.
54000 Riverside County Playground Rd, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-2656
6.Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum
© Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum
The Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum is owned and operated by the award-winning volunteer Idyllwild Area Historical Society organization, which is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of the history of the area’s San Jacinto Mountains. The museum’s rustic cabin from 1930 is home to several exhibits that are related to several mountain communities, including Idyllwild, Pinewood, Garner Valley, Alandale, Mountain Center, and Pine Cove. There are also rotating exhibits on display at the museum to offer something new for visitors to see. Other exhibit subjects include mountain recreation, cattle ranching, mountain road travel, filmmaking, logging camps, and more.
54470 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-2717
7.Eastside Reservoir Project
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Based in the mountain town of Idyllwild, the Eastside Reservoir Project is a joint project by LED and Kiewit near the state of California’s Diamond Valley Lake. The reservoir has a maximum capacity of 987 million cubic meters, with a construction of rock fill and earth core. The project for the Eastside Reservoir was established as a way to get more water to the state. A natural barrier is formed for the reservoir by two mountains: Diamond Valley and Domenigoni. The Eastside Reservoir Project includes three different dams. The goal is to provide California with water for emergency, drought, and seasonal needs.
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© Town Gallery
The Town Gallery of Idyllwilde in California share ownerships and space with the Idyllwild Town Real Estate business. The gallery was founded by Rick Martinez and Jon Millhouse and is focused on the promotion of local artists, as well as artists who the area’s unique geography as an art subject. The Town Gallery also features a collection of fine custom furniture that is made out of reclaimed wood from the local area. Hours of operation are Wednesday to Sunday, from 12:00pm until 5:00pm. The gallery can also be rented for special events on Mondays and Tuesdays.
54425 North Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-0269
9.Mile High Cafe
© Mile High Cafe
The Mile High Cafe is a friendly restaurant that boasts a dog-friendly outdoor patio and occasional live entertainment. The restaurant has a friendly atmosphere, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu consists of a variety of Korean and American dishes. Guests can also take advantage of free wireless internet at the cafe, and there is also overflow parking available if necessary. Mile High Cafe is located in Southern California’s Idyllwild-Pine Cove region within the San Jacinto Mountains, which includes the second highest mountain in the state, San Jacinto Peak. Idyllwild is situated mostly in a valley high in the mountains.
26600 Hwy 243, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-2008
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The Gastrognome restaurant is more like three restaurants combined into one large one, designed to meet the needs of any guest. The grand showcase of the restaurant is the Main Dining Room, designed more for communication. Located near the bar in a cozy nook is The Cafe, a more casual dining experience. The Cafe menu features popular dishes like mini pizzas, chicken fajitas, and eggplant sandwiches, and is designed to be a menu of reasonably priced and popular items for locals and visitors alike. The expansive third dining area is outdoors and known by locals simply as The Deck.
54381 Ridgeview Dr, Idyllwild, Ca 92549, Phone: 951-659-5055
11.La Casita Restaurant
© La Casita Restaurant
La Casita Restaurant is a welcoming restaurant in the cozy mountain village of Idyllwild. The eatery in the quaint small town situated within the San Jacinto Mountains provides a unique dining experience for guests among the many pine trees and wildlife the area has to offer. Las Casita Restaurant offers dishes and drinks for everyone with a menu that features tacos, nachos, tostada, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas, tamale, chimichangas, and much more. Breakfast dishes are served all day as well. Friends and families can enjoy a meal inside or sit outdoors on the deck, maybe enjoying a Michelada.
54650 N. Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-6038
Fratello’s Ristorante provides both locals and visitors with delicious Italian cuisine in the heart of town. The goal of the restaurant is to serve fresh and authentic fare, along with wood-fired pizza, that transports customers to Italy. The menu at Fratello’s Ristorante and Pizzeria includes an array of pastas, pizzas, baked pastas, veal dishes, and chicken dishes. Fratello’s is a family-run eatery owned by four brothers who for over fifteen year have been working in restaurants and cooking Italian cuisine. These brothers came together to found Fratello’s Ristorante in order to bring authentic Italian food to the people of the San Jacinto Mountains.
54295 Ridgeview Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-3900
12 Best Things to Do in Idyllwild, California
- Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness, Photo: Courtesy of Rosemarie - Fotolia.com
- Idyllwild Nature Center, Photo: Courtesy of Irina NK - Fotolia.com
- Lake Fulmor, Photo: Courtesy of Tomasz Zajda - Fotolia.com
- Middle Ridge Winery, Photo: Courtesy of volff - Fotolia.com
- Idyllwild Park, Photo: Courtesy of Rosemarie - Fotolia.com
- Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum, Photo: Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum
- Eastside Reservoir Project, Photo: Courtesy of ChrWeiss - Fotolia.com
- Town Gallery, Photo: Town Gallery
- Mile High Cafe, Photo: Mile High Cafe
- Gastrognome, Photo: Gastrognome
- La Casita Restaurant, Photo: La Casita Restaurant
- Fratello's, Photo: Fratello's
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of kbbeggs - Fotolia.com