Idyllwild’s downtown area is small and cute, filled with gift shops and food. It’s walkable and easily explored in a day. Highlights include Wild Idy, Ephemera, and Wild Land Organics. If you have a sweet tooth, check out the Candy Cupboard for throwback candy store vibes.
The most heavily used trail in the region, and for good reason, is the 8.1 mile Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail. It features an elevation gain of 2,000+ feet, so come prepared for a challenge; of course, the reward is so worth it. An easier option is the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, a 5-mile out-and-back along lower elevation (in winter, this means less ice!) with lovely views.
For these two hikes, and many others around Idyllwild, you’ll need to pick up a day-use wilderness permit; they are free and available at the Idyllwild Ranger Station (State Park) as well as the San Jacinto Ranger District Office (National Forest), both located in the town of Idyllwild.
If you’re looking for less commitment, or just want to take some photos without a big hike, check out the 1-mile Panoramic Point Loop, located in Stone Creek Campground.
With all the hiking around Idyllwild, you’ll surely work up an appetite! Post-hike favorite meals were had at the Idyllwild Brewpub, with amazing views; Gastrognome, a classic Idyllwild spot that’s been around for decades; and Ferro, for great pizza or other Italian dishes.