10 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Idyllwild, California

hiking in idyllwild

Up in the San Jacinto Mountains lies the quaint town of Idyllwild, the perfect place for nature trips and relaxation. It provides travelers the much-needed respite from bustling city life. It has a little bit of everything, from easy and challenging hikes to shopping and dining spots. There is something for everyone to enjoy and luxuriate. Take in the pine-scented air, explore the nooks and corners of downtown, and hike as much as you love. Whether it is a nature escape or a little adventure you are after, you can never go wrong with choosing Idyllwild as your vacation destination. With all the things you can do here, dull moments will be the least of your worries. For the best trip, check out our list of the best hiking and trekking spots in Idyllwild, California.

1. South Ridge Trail

2017-09-11 10 48 04 View south-southeast from the Maple Ridge Trail at about 3,020 feet above sea level on the western slopes of Mount Mansfield within Mount Mansfield State Forest in Underhill, Chittenden County, Vermont
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Famartin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This is a moderate-level trail, making it suitable for beginners. It leads to Tahquitz Peak Lookout, where you can witness stunning scenery of nature and the wilderness. As you hike through, it gets more challenging. However, it is still manageable for first-timers. The best time to take a hike here is early morning, where you can enjoy watching the sunrise. Also, make sure to bring water with you, as it gets warm during the day. To complete the hike, hikers will have to trek approximately 3.7 mi (6 km) of land.

South Ridge Trail

Address: S Ridge Trail, Idyllwild, CA 92549, United States

Website: South Ridge Trail

2. Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

Acadia Hike  Trail View Trees
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jared Rover used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Nestled in the foothills of Idyllwild, Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is a known hiking destination for families who love the outdoors. It offers travelers breathtaking scenes of the backcountry without going to the big mountains. It’s the type of hike that is easy to navigate, has a gentle ascent, and offers a lot of shade from its surrounding forestry. It has a total distance of 2.6 mi (4.18 km), which will take you about one to two hours to hike. It’s an ideal hiking place for those planning to bring the little kids with them.

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

Address: 24400 Fern Valley Rd, Idyllwild, CA 92549, United States

Website: Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Nearby hiking trails

3. Palm Canyon Trail

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user TimShell used under CC0

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If you’re one of those adventurers who love a challenge, you’ll surely like hiking Palm Canyon Trail. It’s a hotspot for those who prefer trekking steep pathways rather than the easy ones. With an elevation of 3200 ft (975.36 m) and a land of 16 mi (25.75 km) to walk through, hikers will have a fun time exploring the charming Palm Canyon Trail. Make sure to wear proper clothing to avoid restricting your movement, and bring plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. The best time to visit is during the winter and spring months. Also, pets are not allowed.

Palm Canyon Trail

Address: S Palm Canyon Dr., California, USA

Website: Palm Canyon Trail

4. Ramona Trail

Mt Hood Wilderness near Ramona Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Duk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

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To avoid the scorching heat of the sun, the best time to hike Ramona Trail is early in the morning, and if you’re not fond of going back in the afternoon, when the sun is at its peak, better pack for an overnight trip. Ramona Trail is perfect for backpacking trip, especially if you’re bringing little kids with you. It’s a moderate trail, stretching for 3.5 mi (5.63 km), with an elevation gain of 4400 ft (1314.12 m). However, the total distance of the hike depends on the destination you plan on visiting. The trail is in good condition, but keep an eye on the pathways. Views of Garner Valley will welcome you once you start climbing up the trail.

Ramona Trail

Address: Pines to Palms Hwy &, Ramona Trail, Mountain Center, CA 92561, United States

Website: Ramona Trail

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

5. Cahuilla Mountain Trail

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

In need of a challenging yet enjoyable hike? Take an exciting trip to Cahuilla Mountain Trail and acquaint yourself with the desert peaks of the valley. Cahuilla Mountain offers adventurers stunning views of Palomar Mountain, Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, and the famous San Jacinto Peak. It is home to mountain lions, mule deer, and spring wildflower, which are a sight to see. If you’re planning to bring a car to arrive at the starting point of the hike, make sure to drive the big one. Smaller ones will not be able to drive through the steep road. Round-trip here is approximately 5 mi (8 km).

Cahuilla Mountain Trail

Address: Forest Rte 7S04, Aguanga, CA 92536, United States

Website: Cahuilla Mountain Trail

6. Fobes Trail

Hiking trail
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Tucked between the terrain of San Bernardino National Forest, Fobes Trail is an excellent excursion for thrill seekers and their furry friends. It is a moderate hike, showcasing a plethora of nature views and the breathtaking scenery of Garner Valley. With an elevation of 5200 ft (1585 m) and a gain of 800 ft (244 m), hikers should be extra careful when climbing up. Some of the walkways can be a little steep. Your nature trip will not be complete without taking in everything there is to see. Make sure to take great shots for keepsake.

Fobes Trail

Address: Fobes Ranch Rd, Mountain Center, CA 92561, United States

Website: Fobes Trail

7. Webster Trail

San Jacinto Valley from the Webster Trail - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Johnwayne Stroud used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you want the best camping experience in the foothills, Webster Trail is the right place to hike. Descending the western slope of San Jacinto Mountains, you will have to climb down a total of 1800 ft (548.64 m) to arrive at the north fork of San Jacinto River to set camp. If you still have the energy to climb down to the lower part of the trail, you can do so. However, climbing up will be a little difficult for you, especially on warmer days. Although it can be challenging, it’s the best activity for those looking for some adventure.

Webster Trail

Address: Red Hill Rd, Idyllwild, CA 92549, United States

Website: Webster Trail

8. Cedar Spring Trail

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brian Stansberry used under CC BY 3.0

Cedar Springs Trail is best for beginners looking for an easy yet challenging enough of a hike. The hike will start toward the end of Morris Ranch Road, where you’ll encounter several signs and guides to arrive at your destination. During the first few kilometers of the hike, there’s a picnic table where hikers can take a break. Once you’re climbing up the trail, you’ll have to cross the Pacific Crest Trail. The views below will take your breath away. You only need to take a quick mile downhill after that to arrive at Cedar Springs. The hike’s level of difficulty is moderate.

Cedar Spring Trail

Address:Morris Ranch Rd, Mountain Center, CA 92561, United States

Website: Cedar Spring Trail

9. South Fork Trail

Devil's Chair Trail and South Fork Trail Signs at Junction
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Crishazzard used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Southfork Trail is the favorite among locals when it comes to hiking destinations. It is famous for being a fast descent that’s been a favorite downhill route for many hikers. It’s a two-way trail, where you’ll encounter climbers and hikers during your trek. The upper south end is Swampy Lakes, while the lower north end connects to Tumalo Creek Trail. Keep in mind that the first lower half of the trail might be less steep than the top half, but it is still just as rowdy. There are camping sites here that makes it ideal for two-day backpacking. It is 3.5 mi (5.6 km) round-trip and has a moderate level of difficulty.

South Fork Trail

Address: 40800-40894 Jenks Lake Rd W, Angelus Oaks, CA 92305, United States

Website: South Fork Trail

10. Black Mountain Trail

Black Mountain summit
Source: Photo by Flickr user Quim Gil used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Black Mountain Trail is one of the most thrilling trails to hike near Idyllwild. If you’re planning a long hike, start from Black Mountain Trail to the Fire Lookout. It’s an 8-mi (12.87 km) long hike that will take you 4 to 5 hours to complete. It has an elevation of 7772 ft (2369 m). Make sure to be mindful of your surroundings and the trail you are climbing. It’s a legit mountain climb — you have to use the standard hiking gear. Also, check the weather condition first as it gets too hot and too cold here. One of its perks is that you’ll get to experience being on top of the highest mountains in Southern California. The view from above is also a plus.

Black Mountain Trail

Address: Black Mountain Trail, California 92220, USA

Website: Black Mountain Trail

A nature trip to the mountains of Idyllwild

Every once in a while, it is only normal to feel tired of everyday life. If you’re looking for something new to break the fatigue that comes with doing the same things again and again, a trip to the mountains of Idyllwild might do the trick. In Idyllwild, relaxation, scenic views, and friendly neighborhoods are possibilities. Stretch your muscles and take in the fresh air as you enjoy trekking some of the loveliest hiking destinations in town.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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