Idyllwild County campground is not that easy to find, but when you finally find it you will be glad you did. It is dog friendly, clean restrooms, showers and very friendly staff. The fees for camping are low and it's exciting to be away from everything but know there is a safety net of rangers and other staff around if you need them. Hike to the Nature Center using Perimeter or Hillside trails and you are in for a treat. They have good exhibits, and a bonus bird watching area. I love this park for day use as well - when it's 100 degrees + in the summer a drive up to Idyllwild is like going to heaven.
Its nice to find a campground close to the town. I met some PCT hikers and had a great time listening to their stories. Well maintained and easy to find.
Near many trailheads with wide variety of difficulty, clean bathrooms, and friendly staff.
We arrived early on Friday morning and snagged one of two remaining spots. Trail leading up to Mount San Jacinto is within walking distance. Lots of trees , very inexpensive. Not many sites.
Amazing place to catch your breath from the city life of Los Angeles. That is if you can with the elevation! There are so many hikes and with PCTers walking in and out of town you are sure to find great stories wondering through.
You can hike and camp up to the peak or you can do a calming hike around the area and take in all the pines.
Although this campground is within walking distance of the touristy town of Idyllwild, upon entering the campground a sense of wilderness literally engulfs you. The facilities are well kept and provide flush toilets(actually clean and working,y’all!), ample privacy between campsites(a must for me being an Introvert) and a responsible recycling bin system. I’ve camped here in all the seasons and the place is consistently maintained. I must confess; I have ventured into the town to stock up on ice and forgotten toothpaste…and a refreshing beer or three at the Idyllwild Brewery(killer pizza by the way). This convenience is a points getter when taking a Lady for the first time camping.
There is a very accomplished trail system into the San Jacinto wilderness, connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail( PCT) but be forewarned that dogs are NOT allowed on the trails. You must research local trails that do allow Bowser; do not find out the hard way as I did the second time I camped here.
Idyllwild has been my respite for some years now. I am very picky with campsites and will give negative reviews to be honest. This is a site worthy of my young grand daughters who still explore and believe that there are trolls and fairies and hidden gems in the forest. Yes dear, this is one of them.
This campsite is one of a few areas near the base of the south rim of Tahquitz. If planning on doing an overnight in Idyllwild and want to skip the crowded campgrounds in town, as well as skip the permitting process for the popular Devil's Slide trail, then this is your spot. Just a few miles from the ranger station (you will still need to get a permit from there even if you are just hiking the south rim) there are a series of "yellow-post" camping sites that are quiet and free of charge. Along with being free, these sites need no reservations but are first come first serve and only 8 parties are allowed up on the road per night. For perspective, we stayed at this site in August and had the entire area to ourselves. The road to get up to the sites is an uneven dirt and rocky (very steep at times) road, but can be accomplished even with a smaller car. The road turns from dirt to pavement before turning to dirt again to the campsites and finally to the south rim trailhead.
If you are planning on camping like this then you probably already know what you're getting yourself into in regards to water and food/no amenities, but the road is very nice and the site we stayed at was at the end of a sort of dirt cul-de-sac overlooking the ridge. The ridge has plenty of flat (not rocky which was nice) ground for small tents, but also is interspersed with a very large rocky outcrop which makes cooking dinner and watching the sunset/sunrise just perfect. The only negative thing I can think of to mention for this site was the fact that is indeed very buggy at the campsites (and for the first 1/3 of the hike up to Tahquitz if that is what you're planning) so plan accordingly with spray. Campfires are not allowed because it is so dry, so keeping the bugs away can be challenging at times. There were some mosquitoes, but it is mostly gnats and flies that are seemingly endless as well as relentless at times. However, this absolutely shouldn't deter you from staying at this beautiful site.
The town of Idyllwild is a quaint, artsy mountain community in Southern CA. Access to hiking and climbing is excellent. The county park is a good base-camp. Coin-op showers are pretty lukewarm, but better than nothing. It can get crowded here, and reservations are a good call - they have a user-friendly online system.
There are 2 yellow post campsites located about 5 miles from the city center that are free to camp in. Each site has a total of 8 camping spots that are first come, first serve. The road leading up to the sites is a bit bumpy as its paved only half way but my Honda Civic made it just fine. It's a primitive area with only a picnic table. It's a great place to camp if you plan to hike the South Ridge of Tahquitz.