Driving from Long Beach, CA to Idyllwild is a great day drive for the driving enthusiast. And it is only 2,220 miles round trip! Not many road warriors get to drive through the California desert and its spectacular mountains in one day, none the less in a few hours. Idyllwild is a quaint little town that is located at an elevation of 5,300 feet and in the San Jacinto Mountains. The views are amazing, dramatic, and like nothing you have seen before.
During your first hour of driving on State Route 22 to State Route 91 east from Long Beach through North Orange County to the city of Riverside. That is when the scenery starts to change dramatically and only gets better the further you drive. State Highway 60 also known as the Pomona Freeway winds through Moreno Valley toward Beaumont. The desert flatland and Lake Perris are great for outdoor hikes and adventures with numerous trails, fishing, and boats for hire. Then about 10 miles east of Lake Perris park is where the drive gets more intense. After Beaumont, you will start to climb up the mountain on State Highway 243 towards Idyllwild. Now the landscape will change from desert scrub and fire-blackened chaparral to an alpine forest. The temperature will start to drop and become fresher and more crisp. Drive with your windows down to get the full effect and take in the beauty and fresh air.
The next part of your trip is where you get to use your driving skills and enjoy the road as it starts to get interesting. You will experience for the next 40 mins. Switchbacks, tight turns, and curves that are a high performance vehicle’s dream. Finally you will hit the plateau of the mountain and see a vast, wild, and amazing mountain wilderness that goes on for miles. Once you make it to Idyllwild, there are many shops and restaurants that shouldn’t be missed. Hiking, camping, boating and fishing are just some of the other activities you can enjoy while there. If you want to extend your trip a little further take state Route 74 through the Thomas mountains and Palm Springs, then is just a strait shot down interstate 10 back into Long Beach! Day trips are a great way to get out into nature and explore the beautiful region around you while having fun driving too.