20 Best Things to Do in Idyllwild

Idyllwild, CA

It is hard to believe that a sleepy town with a population of fewer than 4000 residents could be a major tourist destination.

However, that is what Idyllwild in Southern California has become.

Millions of visitors fly to this city to enjoy its natural beauty and small-town charm.

Surrounded by glorious peaks and cradled in lush green forests, the city offers stunning views.

Many exotic plant and animal species add to the excitement.

The mystery behind its popularity makes Idyllwild an allure for tourists.

During your next trip to Idyllwild, try some of the exciting activities on our list for an unforgettable experience.

Savor the joys of delicate art at the Artspresso Gallery in Idyllwild.

Just like the city, it is a small venue with a handful of curated artworks.

The excellence of these pieces will spellbind you.

They have a wide array of works on various different media.

Pleasing photographs, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics by local artists adorn the walls.

In addition, some items from international artists augment the hard work of the regional artists.

Palm Springs

Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

If you are smitten with Hollywood’s craze for cactus, you should head out to Palm Springs near Idyllwild.

You can take a day trip and return in the evening of the same day.

You will enjoy the fresh air and wide variety of flowers and plants displayed here.

The must-visit sites include the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium.

Besides taking a look at the rich flora exhibited here, you can also learn exciting facts about them.

Another place to check out is the Wet’n’Wild Palm Springs. The pools on site provide the perfect opportunity to dive and splash in the cool waters.

Hike Devil’s Slide Trail

Devil’s Slide Trail
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Get a refreshing physical workout by taking a hike along the Devil's Slide Trail.

Do not be scared by the name of this exquisite path.

It is only a moderately difficult trail. Even novices can easily complete the hike.

In addition, you do not need to traverse the whole path at one stretch.

Relish the scenery and your walk by taking short stops on the benches lining the trail.

In addition, the views of the ocean from this high vantage point are stunning.

Equine lovers will enjoy the opportunity to horseback ride on this trail. Cyclists are not left out either. The course lets you soar through it on your favorite paddled machines.

Suicide Rock

Suicide Rock
Benjamin Crowell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We had mentioned a bit earlier that outdoor fun doesn’t stop in Idyllwild.

Savor the high adrenaline boost by rock climbing at the Suicide Rock.

They have more than 300 courses to challenge climbers of all levels.

Alternately, if you are not in the mood for such an intense exercise, stroll along the Suicide Rock Trail.

The 6-mile stretch energizes you with its fresh air and warm atmosphere.

From the young to the old, everyone seems to have a gala time walking here.

Café Aroma

People often take their pet dogs along with them to Idyllwild.

The reason behind this has to do with the large number of outdoor activities available in the city.

If you are worried about your pets when you sit down to eat after your outdoor adventures, let us calm you down by telling you that many restaurants in this warm city are indeed pet-friendly.

One of these is the beautiful Café Aroma. You can pamper your tastebuds with their rich menu of European, Asian, and Latino culinary delights.

All this while your little four-legged friend is nuzzling you as you bask in the outdoor sun!

The only precaution they demand of you is to keep your pet under leash.

Once the food finishes, you can further enjoy the delicious wines from their vast bar menu.

Do not miss the desserts either! The town rumor says that their specialty tiramisu is one of the finest on this side of the Atlantic.

Tahquitz Peak Trail

Tahquitz Peak
Andy Konieczny / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to yet another thrill ride on what used to be a fire lookout only a couple of decades back.

A hike on the Tahquitz Peak Trail is one of the most popular things to do in Idyllwild.

For a good reason, too. The panoramic visuals on both sides are stunning.

Once again, you can stomp your four-legged friends with you.

If you are crying at just the thought of having to walk the entire trail, they also let you cover the trail on horseback.

This trail is unique due to the fantastic wildflowers dotting the sides.

The Rustic Theatre

Rustic Theatre
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

Movie buffs can enjoy some popcorn and their favorite Hollywood flicks at the Rustic Theatre.

The 117-seat hall houses superior theatre equipment to give the audience supreme cinematic experiences.

These hi-tech facilities include a wide-screen, concert high-quality sound system, and a well-designed stage.

In addition, the theatre offers another perk of watching a movie in a small town – it is pocket-friendly!

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Nature's Charm / Shutterstock.com

Are you drooling at the prospect of riding the world's largest rotating tramcar?

What is the delay? Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

This legendary tramway first opened its doors for the public in 1963.

Connecting the Coachella Valley to the San Jacinto Peak, you can relish the beautiful scenery on either side along your ride.

Once you hit the peak, you can hike on several trails crisscrossing the slopes.

Some of these are suitable even for novices.

However, it will be better to try the others only if you are a seasoned campaigner.


Gastronome is the ideal place to get gastric juices rushing and experience a food bonanza!

The restaurant is unique in that it offers three different dining categories at one single place – fine dining, informal fast food, and the special alfresco dining experience.

The Main Dining Room is the traditional fine dining hall.

You can expect liveried serving staff and exquisite tableware to add to the delectable main courses.

On the other hand, if you are in a casual mood, you should eat in the Café.

Their menu provides a rich assortment of fast food galore!

Enjoy some toothsome sandwiches, fajitas, and pizzas.

Finally, lovers of alfresco dining can have a dedicated area on the outside.

Colorfully named The Deck, this section offers tasty recipes at an affordable price.

Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum

After the fun and frolic of feasting and playing, we next head to the somber interiors of the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum.

You can learn about the rich past of the San Jacinto Mountains here.

Do not be misled by the small size of this museum.

Its exhibits showcase rare moments from the history of this place delightfully.

The volunteer-led Idyllwild Area Historical Society manages the museum.

It has been regaling history buffs since the 1930s.

If the names Tahquitz and Suicide, or the song Elvis Presley’s “Kid Galahad” ring a bell for you, then trust us – this museum is your hotspot in Idyllwild!

Mile High Café

What if I said you could enjoy Asian delicacies in an old-American western-style log cabin amid soaring mountains (ok, the mountains are only a replica of the original in the ambiance)? Would you feel attracted?

I know you would, and so I have listed the place that offers you exactly this!

The Mile High Café is famous for providing one of the best fine-dining experiences in Idyllwild.

You can relish delicious jalapeno, burgers, and benedict eggs in a delightful mountain-themed setting.

Bibimbap and beef bulgogi are the other boastful items on the menu!

Peppy and energetic live music caps off the charming experience of the place!

Humber Park

Though brimming with natural havens, the crowning jewel in Idyllwild’s bouquet is the Humber Park.

The trails are delightful, allowing hikers of all levels a healthy trek through the area.

You can amplify your fun by leading over your trail into the San Jacinto Wilderness region.

Once you get here, you can stroll carefree amid the majestic landscapes!

The ideal way to connect with nature in a pristine union!

Lake Fulmor

Lake Fulmor
JBai / Shutterstock.com

More outdoor delights await at Lake Fulmor and its gorgeous surroundings teeming with fantastic wildlife!

You would be mesmerized by the simplicity of nature and life here.

In addition, the shimmering lake waters are too alluring not to take boat rides on them.

A plethora of activities are on offer here. You could dip your angle-line and wait for the perfect catch to hook your bait!

Shutterbugs can capture these exquisite sceneries in high-quality images.

Eastside Reservoir Project

The Easterside Reservoir Project is an engineering marvel.

If modern feats of human ingenuity fascinate you, you will have loads of fun at this site.

The three enormous dams between the Diamond Valley and Domenigoni mountains stand tall as hallmarks of the indomitable human spirit.

The Eastside Reservoir has played a vital role in making the state water-sufficient.

The beautiful surroundings add to the precision of superior engineering in a stunning juxtaposition.

Walk, hike, stroll or even camp in these regions, and go back with life-long memories!

Idyllwild Park

Rock climbers can test their mettle in the many rock-climbing contests held at Idyllwild Park.

Located toward the town's periphery, you can enjoy lush greenery, wide spaces, and a rare chance to get some quiet time.

It is one of the most popular hang-out spots in the city.

Locals and tourists alike flock to its relaxing grounds to recharge their worn-out spirits with a much-needed respite from city life.

Middle Range Winery

Delight in the aromatic spaces of the upscale and classy Middle Range Winery.

Watch their crafting process first-hand, and learn insider tips from the welcoming staff!

Their wines have won several industry-best awards.

The best ones to try are the 2015 Pinot Grigio, the 2014 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, and the 2012 Meritage of California!

You can sip on delicious selections from their rich bouquet.

Town Gallery
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

Fine arts lovers can rejoice at the outstanding works dedicated to Idyllwild's lustrous natural beauty at the Town Gallery.

Founders Rick Martinez and Jon Millhouse set up this place with one pioneering vision – to encourage local artists and bring their talent in front of the larger world!

The collection in the gallery isn’t restricted to only paintings.

Other aesthetically designed items such as custom furniture and reclaimed wood items adorn the halls as well.

Idyllwild Nature Center

Idyllwild Nature Center
Wild As Light / Shutterstock.com

Nature enthusiasts can gain in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna at the Idyllwild Nature Center.

After finishing their theory sessions, visitors can head out into the open surroundings to see their readings come alive in real life!

Finally, you can set up your lunch basket in several picnic spots.

Many trails also cut across the area to provide hiking opportunities.

Indian Vista Scenic Overlook

Indian Vista Scenic Overlook
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

You can catch breath-taking telescopic views from the high vantage point of the Indian Vista Scenic Overlook.

Situated around 9.5 miles from the main town on Highway 243, this spot is a must-visit for all tourists of Idyllwild.

Additionally, you can spot a wide variety of rare and not-so-rare wildlife.

Some of the animals that roam the region are deer, bobcats, gray foxes, and coyotes!

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Hiking in Mount San Jacinto State Park
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You can't afford not to trek to Mount San Jacinto State Park on your trip to Idyllwild.

The stunning park offers a web of delightful trails for hikers to enjoy on a field day!

Plus, the rich plant and animal life further add to the beauty.

Finally, to have maximum pleasure, you must set up an overnight camp.

Nightime amid the endless stretches of a natural park can be an experience of a lifetime!

It is remarkable for a small anonymous town of only 4000 residents to offer such a feast of tourist attractions as Idyllwild does!

We aren't complaining one bit, though.

As long as we can dole on exquisite outdoors, rich wildlife, delectable cuisines, and choicest wines, we are happy to travel to any place – and Idyllwild sits right at the top of our bucket list of fantastic holiday destinations!