A few weeks ago I was in Palm Springs for our initial rental search, if you haven’t read about that pop over here . The main focus of the trip was getting things in place for the move, but once we got almost everything taken care of we found ourselves with an extra day & decided to escape the 100+ temperatures by heading up the nearby mountains. There are plenty of options in how to do this, one of the easiest is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, but we are saving that for when friends come to visit.
We went the longer route and drove up the mountain taking the Idyllwild route up and the Lake Hemet route back down. If you’ve never driven up a mountain it’s a bit of an interesting (and slightly terrifying) experience. The “north route” out of Palm Springs takes you past Cabazon & then you start climbing the hillside. Along the way you’ll be rewarded with awesome views, plenty of spots to stop and take photos, and a roughly 20 degree difference from the desert floor. If you are comfortable hiking and have the time it was beautiful up there, but we were on more of a tourist trip & didn’t venture too far from the car.
Once you get to Idyllwild you’ll find an adorable little town with ample dining, gas, and more tchotchke shops that you really need. The community is home to a strongly arts community, music, and what I can only assume is an adorable theater. Checkout their tourism site for more info.
Once you get your fill of Idyllwild you have a few options of getting back down, we opted to not back track but instead head down the other side and back into Palm Springs from the south. We had no idea what to expect on this trip but we blown away with what we found! Not only is there an awesome viewing station but there is also Lake Hemet, which I could have stayed at all day! The route down this side was also much less stress inducing from a driving perspective, so I might recommend that if you’re not a fan of crazy turns & steep hills.
We’re already talking about getting back to up Lake Hemet in the future and wondering what it’s like in the Fall, so I’m sure it’ll be on the list of places for us to travel this year. I’m so excited about all of the new exploring I get to do once we head out to California. It’s such a different landscape than the Midwest and I’ve never lived outside of two states so this is very exciting! Make sure to follow me on Instagram, I’m sure I’ll be sharing photos of this trip a lot over the next few weeks. PLUS it’s almost time for the move so you can follow along easiest there!