A Mountain Hike Near Idyllwild, California

Once again we used the All Trail App for what looked like a straight forward hike: Idyllwild South Loop, a 2.3 mile loop with 650 feet ascent. Hiking in the San Bernardino National Forest allows us a higher altitude to escape the Palm Desert heat!

We drove to Idyllwild Park, paid a day use fee and walked around a meadow near the parking area. Informative signs about the Cahuilla tribe migrating from the Coachella Valley to the mountains in this area to stay cooler, sort of our plan too! The Cahuilla hunted many small animals with arrows, did not hunt mountain lions or bears, and never ate eagles or ravens because they were used in sacred rituals. They ate various plants with acorns their primary food source. Some plants were used for medicine. Information about their basket-making, homes and sweat houses was also interesting. They had great respect for each other and the land: plants and animals.

An interesting legend involves a stone monolith as seen in the photograph below:

Notice the stone monolith: Tahquitz Dome or Lily Rock

According to legend, an evil shaman, Tahquitz, was tricked into entering a cave by a great Cahuilla warrior, and is now sealed behind the rock. The trapped evil shaman may still be up to his evil ways as present day rumblings and disappearances are sometimes attributed to Tahquitz. The monolith is referred to as Tahquitz Dome and/or Lily Rock.

We found the start of the Idyllwild South Loop trail with the use of the app, yet on the ground it was not named that ever during our hike. There are many trails in this area: Perimeter Trail, a multi-purpose trail, a campground area, thus at the start there was a bit of confusion. What I did know was to go left per an All Trail reviewer’s note about the Idyllwild South loop. Since I read the suggestion I decided it was a good way to approach the hillside … a steep ascent at the start of the trail than returning that way. That was fine by me, except we never saw the trail named Idyllwild South Loop!

When in doubt, at some intersections, we navigated via the app assured we were completing a loop and returning to our car in a few hours! Best idea was hiking the steeper side first and really enjoy the way down without climbing over so many rocks as we had done on our way up. The air was cool as we climbed higher, yet the sun was warm!

Nice vistas along the way as we climbed higher into the pines and could look out across the land. Supposedly on a clear day one can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This day was not so clear but you could see quite a distance! It was beautiful! I think there was probably much more to see on this trail but most my time was spent being sure we were on the correct trail! It was a good short day hike, but I still cannot figure how these trails get named on the All Trails app since we never saw the name of the trail here.

Here are some photos from this hike:

American kestrel
American kestrel flying overhead
Acorn woodpecker
Love the mountain areas!

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