A weekend without work, means a weekend we get to spend exploring the outdoors. The location of this weeks adventure was the San Jacinto Mountains and the small mountain town of Idyllwild, about 2 hours southeast of Los Angeles. Having never ventured to this area before we were curious to discover what it was like. The first order of business after arriving and filling up the tank was to grab a sandwich from one of the local bakeries. It's hard to explore on an empty stomach.
Idyllwild is a cute, artsy town with lots of great businesses, and extremely friendly people. After lunch, we set off in search of dirt. San Jacinto Ridge Truck Trail starts off from a neighborhood nestled deep into the woods, where it begins as an easy dirt road slowly winding its way down the mountain, into the national forest.
In stark contrast to the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, this road winds its way down through an increasingly dense forest, with large pines and thick underbrush lining the road. The cloudy day made for perfect windows down driving weather. At 5,000 feet of elevation, the air is clean and cool.
After about 5 miles, the trail comes to a couple of campsites situated near a creek. We took the opportunity to let the dog out and relax in the river for a moment.
As we wound our way through the forest, we came upon a small shallow water crossing at the top of a waterfall as well as a couple of fellow explorers. We stopped to chat and of course take photos.
Soon after the water crossing, the forest begins to thin out. It is replaced by high misty shrub covered mountains dotted in smooth boulders. The road winds along the ridge lines, giving us some stunning views of the valley below. We begin to descend and enter the more familiar desert environment that Southern California is known for.
This easy 14 mile trail was well worth the drive down to explore Idyllwild and the San Jacinto mountains. We're looking forward to planning a multi-day trip down here soon. Even Pepe, our new to us 12 year old cattle dog, thouroughly enjoyed the trail.