At over 5000 feet in elevation, “Mile High Idyllwild” is a favorite day trip for locals and travelers alike.  The 80-minute drive passes spectacular vista points as you climb from the desert floor and reach deep into the San Jacinto Mountains.  Once there, you’ll find a rustic and charming, art-filled village with galleries, antique stores, restaurants, and other surprises.  Nearby hiking trails let you explore the quiet wilderness area high above Palm Springs.  With temperatures well below Palm Springs, it’s a cool getaway during the desert summer.

The rustic town of Idyllwild is one of our favorite day trips from Palm Springs.  The 80-minute drive up mountainous and windy Route 74 offers some breathtaking views.  Leave time for a couple of stops along the way at any of the Vista turnouts overlooking the entire Coachella Valley.  Great for photo-ops or just taking in the view.

Once there, you’ll notice the six-block downtown area is full of wonderful small shops, galleries, and funky thrift stores, where some very entertaining (and sometimes peculiar) items can be found.  Idyllwild has several tasty restaurants that will be happy to see you and are perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The area boasts some world-class hiking including the San Jacinto Mountain Peak Loop.  For something a little less ambitious, start at the Idyllwild Nature Center.  It’s a perfect place for a day hike, bird watching, or even bringing your dog on a leash for a day in the woods.  The nature center is a very large preserve with trails looping in all directions from the Visitors Center.

Idyllwild hosts several notable events annually including the Idyllwild Jazz Festival, The Art Walk, and The Autumn Leaf Walks.  This little town also gives the October month of Halloween a true reason for being. From the Hollow’s Eve Parade, Ghost Town Haunted Maze, to the Zombie Run, they are very serious about this ghouls’ holiday!

Whenever in town, or scheduling a Palms Springs trip, it’s always worth taking a moment to peruse the upcoming Idyllwild calendar of events, or simply just schedule a day trip up the mountain!  It is a perfect day's getaway!

Here are a few helpful links:

The Official Town website:

A great restaurant list that was put together by a fun food blog:

Trip Advisor’s Idyllwild Page: