Guide to winter in Idyllwild

Idyllwild is a small hiking town near the San Jacinto Mountains. 2 hours from Los Angeles, it’s one of the closest hiking destinations with trees instead of dry shrubs

It’s been over 1 year since I moved to LA, and I have to say I miss hiking among trees. LA definitely has its hikes, but it’s mostly coastal hikes. Near Santa Monica, you’ll be hiking on dusty dirt and shrubs. Closer to Palos Verdes, it’s a big rockier and coastal. But I haven’t been able to find anywhere close that has trees .. until Idyllwild!

Idyllwild is a perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking for a something quiet and relaxing, with some good hiking with pine trees nearby. It’s also a great trip year round, even in December when it’s usually freezing everywhere else.


We stayed at a cozy A-frame cabin in the town of Idyllwild. Equipped with a hot tub, this was perfect for a winter adventure. If you don’t have Airbnb yet, sign up here.

A-frame cabin in Idyllwild


There is a lot of great hiking near the town of Idyllwild. Most of the trailheads are close to town so there are a lot of good options. See more on the map here. Don’t forget to buy a permit here.

Suicide Rock Trail: This 6.3 mile out and back trail takes you along the San Jacinto Mountains, with views of Lily Rock and Tahquitz Peak. It is not dog friendly

Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trail: This full trail is 8.1 miles there and back, but in the winter there will be ice as you get closer to Saddle Junction. Bring crampons if you want to do the full loop, otherwise you will have to turn around ~2.5 miles in making the total hike 5 miles. This trail is the only dog friendly trail in Idyllwild in the winter.

Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trail


If you have a pup, Idyllwild is a great place to take him/her, even in the winter. Most of the restaurants have an outdoor patio with some kind of heating. Plus, it doesn’t get too cold in the winter anyway. Some good options are Cafe Aroma, La Casita Mexican Restaurant, Red Kettle, and Tommy’s Kitchen.