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Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

Philadelphia, PA
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Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

What is the easiest route to get to Idyllwild from Sab Diego? Via Hemet or taking the Pines to Palms highway(371 to 75)? I will be doing the drive early Sunday morning.

Menifee, California
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1. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

I go to Idyllwild a lot, and since I live in Menifee (east of Temecula), I would find this route the easiest:

Not sure where you are in San Diego, but you need to find your way to Interstate 15 North. Then, it's Interstate 15 to Interstate 215 towards Riverside/San Bernardino (you'll see the signs for this in the Temecula area).

From Interstate 215 - get off on the Newport Boulevard exit (about 10 miles) - turn right onto Newport Boulevard. This will eventually become Demonigoni Parkway, in the Diamond Valley Lake area.

Continue on Demonigoni Parkway to State Street (this will be about 13 miles). Turn left onto State Street, drive approximately 3 miles to Florida Street. Turn right.

Continue on Florida Street -- this is Highway 74 East. It will take you into the mountains and Highway 243, where you will bear left and enter Idyllwild.

According to Mapquest (just using "San Diego" as a starting point), this is 110 miles, just over two hours.

I think this is easier than cutting across on Highway 79, less time.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

If you have plenty of time are interested in a scenic route (which would take more time than the route described by Inyogirl) I would do this:

Drive east on Interstate 8 to Sunrise Highway (about 40 miles). Turn left and drive north on Sunrise Highway through Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Enjoy the views of the desert on the right as you drive through the forest. At the intersection of Highway 79, turn right and go to 6 miles to Julian, California. Before you get to Julian there is a viewpoint on the right where you can park and admire the desert view if you didn't stop earlier. The mountain town of Julian was a gold-mining town 100 years ago and is now an apple growing area. There are many places to eat apple pie but I think the best pie is at Apple Alley Bakery. There is a small train ride to a gold mine and panning for gold available. http://julianca.com

Leave Julian by going west on 78/79 to Santa Ysabel. Stop at Dudley's Bakery there for fresh bread if you want. Go north on 79 from Santa Ysabel. Stop at the Mission Asistencia Santa Ysabel, a small "satellite" mission, associated with the chain of 21 main missions in California. There is a picturesque graveyard in front of it. On Nov. 2 it is filled with hundreds of candles and is quite a sight. Continue north on 79, and there is another church you can visit, on the right side of the road, a tiny chapel that is 200 years old, but I can't remember the name of it. Continue north on 79 and at Morettis Junction turn right to go through Warner Springs, Holcolmb Village and Sunshine Summit.

At the intersection of Highway 371 turn right and go through the town of Anza (with the growth of suburbs around it it's no longer a tiny town now). Cahuilla Indian Reservation right along the highway has a tiny casino if gambling interests you. Otherwise continue on 371 to the intersection of Highway 74. Turn left there and go west on 74 past Lake Hemet, and at Mountain Center turn right on Highway 243 and proceed to Idyllwild.

This would be a drive of about 150 miles, about 3 1/2 hours of driving time plus any time spent at stops along the way. It would be mainly a drive through rural back country areas of San Diego and Riverside Counties, and would take about twice as long as the route offered by Inyogirl, but it would also afford you opportunities to see some sights in the back country that you would miss by taking a mostly-Interstate route.

Edited: 27 July 2011, 23:05
Philadelphia, PA
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3. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

Thank you! It's always better to ask those who have actually done the drive. According to Google maps, the fastest way is to shoot up Highway 79. However, Google maps doesn't always take into consideration traffic, traffic lights, stop signs, etc.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

The fastest way would be the way that Inyogirl posted. If getting to Idyllwild quickly is important for you, then use that route. But it would be Interstate and suburb driving most of the way, and not particularly scenic or interesting. Since your drive is on a Sunday morning, you won't run into any traffic problems no matter which route you take.

Oceanside...
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5. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

I've done the drive a number of times from Oceanside and we go I-15 N to Hwy 79 S in Temecula, then 371 to Hwy 74 (left at the stop sign). Hwy 74 to Mountain Center and Hwy 243 into Idyllwild. It's a very nice drive, other than all the the stoplights going through Temecula. Once on 74 you'll pass Lake Hemet and the little general store there has some great Beef Jerky.

Pacifica, California
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6. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

We own a cabin in Idyllwild and frequently drive from San Diego to IDY. I recommend the Route in #5 as well. Yes, there are a few stop lights in Temecula but far fewer there than driving through Hemet.

I think it's also the most interesting and scenic.

7. Re: Best way to drive from San Diego to Idyllwild

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