How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild – Idyllwild sits in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. It is the gateway to Mount San Jacinto State Park and is just over an hour away from Palm Springs. Los Angeles is about 110 miles west of Idyllwild and about the same distance south of San Diego, making it a popular destination for day trippers and those looking for a fun weekend getaway.

Driving through the California desert to the beautiful mountain setting of Idyllwild is a memorable drive but you might be wondering if it’s scary. The climb is twisty and steep in places and can be overwhelming for nervous drivers.

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

Idyllwild is a great getaway, a beautiful mountain town surrounded by beautiful wilderness with hiking, biking and other opportunities to explore the outdoors. Read on to discover more about the safest route options and top tips to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.

Best Things To Do In Palm Springs, California

The trip is located in southern California, starting in the Palm Desert, near Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, and the Coachella Valley.

Both of our trail options begin in the heat of the desert before heading into the beautiful pine forests and alpine towns and villages that flank Mt San Jacinto, the highest peak in the area.

The trail to Idyllwild from either direction twists and turns as you climb the mountain and although there are guard rails around parts of the trail, there will be unobstructed sections and there are steep slopes on the mountain. .

Both routes encounter several switchbacks and steep climbs, but the Scenic route is less twisty and also the shorter of the two options. Combine this with the great views on offer and this makes it a recommended hike to Idyllwild.

Remarkable Thousand Trails Idyllwild Rv Resort Of The Ca Mountains

The Scenic Byway takes you on CA-74 from Palm Desert to Idyllwild and is part of the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway.

Leaving Palm Desert, you’ll pass the Monument National Visitor Center heading south on CA-74 before climbing through the switchbacks to the Coachella Valley Vista Point.

From there, continue past Santa Rosa and Pinyon Pines to Paradise Valley before continuing past Lake Hemet and Mountain Center before reaching Idyllwild.

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

The route passes many small towns so that restrooms, food, and refreshments are all readily available. There will be gas stations in many towns along the way such as Pinyon Pines and the Santa Rosa Pit Stop, but as with any road trip, it’s wise to fill up your tank before you hit the road.

Hotel The Grand Idyllwild Lodge Idyllwild, Ca (united States)

There will be times in the car where there will be no cell phone coverage as you head from desert to mountain desert.

The speed limit on the route is 55 mph but there is plenty to see along the way, with a winding mountain road to navigate, take the journey at your own pace.

There are various viewpoints and attractions along the way where you can pull over and take in the spectacular views, allowing any traffic behind to pass safely.

The Prohibition Trail takes you from Palm Desert north on CA-111 N past Rancho Mirage before arriving in Palm Springs. Continue before joining I-10 W passing Cabazon, home of the world’s largest dinosaur and Desert Hills Premium Outlets before reaching Prohibition.

Fun Things To Do In Idyllwild, California (2023)

Take CA-243 S where you’ll go through a series of sharp switchbacks before climbing to Indian Vista Scenic Overlook. The road continues to twist and turn past Marion Mountain and Fern Basin Campgrounds before reaching Idyllwild.

The route is longer and more dangerous than the Scenic alternative and if you are uncomfortable at the thought of driving on windy mountain roads, the shorter route would be a better option.

Being in an elevated, mountainous environment, the risk of snow in Idyllwild is real, and this can lead to dangerous driving conditions and even road closures in the winter months.

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

There are road closure gates along the route, and these can be closed in winter if the road is impassable due to cold conditions.

The Perfect Visit To Charming Idyllwild, California

It can be slow on this route as drivers can be overly cautious and wary of speed bumps. Hikers use the route that leads from the desert to the beach, and the route is also popular with motorcyclists, especially in the peak season when the weather is better.

There have been instances in recent years where CA-74, and 243, have both been closed during the summer months as wildfires have spread across the region during extreme heat and especially windy conditions.

Always make sure you check the forecast before you travel whatever time of year you travel.

A trip to Idyllwild can be done year-round, weather permitting, and we have a few tips to help make the trip as safe and stress-free as possible.

Road Trip To Idyllwild

Depart early in the morning and travel at your own pace, stopping at many points of interest along the way before arriving in Idyllwild for lunch, before spending the afternoon exploring the town and surrounding area.

Avoid traveling on weekends if you want to avoid heavy traffic and also avoid rush hour as the route is popular with commuters.

Although road conditions in the area are usually good, winter conditions on mountain roads require more consideration and if you don’t want to drive in snow, then plan your trip outside of the winter months.

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

If you are traveling in winter, then make sure your car is fitted with winter tires and carry snow chains with you at all times, even if they are not needed. You will likely be stopped and asked for proof of having chains in the car.

Idyllwild Evacuated As Mountain Fire Rages South Of Palm Springs

If you plan to hire a car to make the trip, make sure you get a car with winter tires, chains, etc. as they may not allow you to fit them on your own. Do not drive in full winter conditions where roads will be dangerous and possibly closed.

Always check the weather forecast before you travel to determine the conditions. You can check local conditions here.

Traffic can be busy as it is popular with tourists and commuters alike, and it is one way in places which makes it difficult at times.

It’s best to drive during the day, and if possible, try and avoid the back roads at night. Traveling when there is good visibility will make driving safer, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area, and will also allow you to make the most of amazing experiences.

A Visit To Idyllwild

Idyllwild is generally a safe place, and crime is not a consideration when considering a trip. Crime is highest during the day, which corresponds to the time when most visitors are in the area, and is concentrated near retail areas.

Due to its popularity, heavy traffic means there is always a chance for road repairs to take place so check in advance for any road repairs in the area that may cause delays or even road closures.

Driving to Idyllwild should be a safe and fun experience but if you don’t feel like driving yourself, there are several alternatives available.

How Far Is Palm Springs From Idyllwild

Forest Folk’s community shuttle bus serves Idyllwild and surrounding communities including Palm Desert and Forbidden, or you can take a taxi for a trip from Palm Springs that costs around $200 (estimated at time of writing).

Things To See On A Trip To Idyllwild

Although you can’t fly directly to Idyllwild, the nearest airport is only 35 miles away, Palm Springs International, and from there a taxi will take you to Idyllwild in just over an hour.

Whichever way you decide to travel to Idyllwild, you can be sure of first-class outdoor adventures and hiking trails once you arrive.

During the summer months, Idyllwild daytime temperatures typically range from 75-85 degrees. Evenings can be cooler with temperatures dropping to 50 degrees Celsius.

Daytime temperatures make it a great summer getaway for those looking to escape the heat of the Valleys below.

Visit Idyllwild: 2023 Travel Guide For Idyllwild, California

Winters in Idyllwild can be cold, as is to be expected at over 5,000 feet above the mountain. Daily temperatures average around 50 degrees Celsius but will often drop below freezing at night. You can expect to see heavy snow in the winter months, which makes the city more beautiful, but also more difficult to reach.

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