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Info on Idyllwild
Info on Hemet
Idyllwild is a quaint, tourist oriented town located in the San Jacinto mountains Northeast of Hemet. It is known for its wide selection of specialty stores and restaurants. This makes the ride to Idyllwild worthwhile with the added benefit that the roads to and from Idyllwild are also great.
Our standard ride to Idyllwild usually starts from the Mobil Gas Station at I-15 and Rt. 76 just North of Escondido. The round trip mileage is approximately 136 miles and will take around four hours including a break in Anza and lunch/shopping in Idyllwild.
The ride begins by heading North on Old Highway 395 from Rt. 76. This is the road on the West side of the Mobil gas station. Old Highway 395 generally parallels I-15 on the West side and then switches to the East side at Mission Rd. This route will take you thru the small town of Rainbow and past the Rainbow restaurant. The Rainbow restaurant is a good place to stop for breakfast.
As you continue North, you will pass thru Rainbow Canyon. Rainbow Canyon is a great route to bypass the potentially long line on I-15 at the INS checkpoint and has some gentle sweepers too. Be sure to watch out for the golf carts as you pass the golf course. When you reach Pechanga Road, turn left and then turn right on Rt. 79. You are now heading east on Rt. 79.
As you head East on Rt. 79, the road narrows to two lanes and becomes a lot more fun. The land is semi arid with rolling hills. Mountains are visible to the South and the road has more sweeping turns. Continue Eastward until you reach Rt. 371 in Aguanga where you will go Northeast on 371. Initially the road has rolling turns like Rt. 79 but then flattens out as you pass thru the high desert as you enter the town of Anza. Be sure to get gas and drink fluids since this may be your last opportunity until Idyllwild.
When you leave Anza on 371, the road begins to climb quickly into the mountains and you enter San Bernadino National Forest. This is a great stretch for cruisers and for sport bikes. Rt. 371 eventually ends at Rt. 74 where you will turn left to proceed Westward. There is a nice restaurant at this intersection that welcomes bikers. The parking lot is hard packed dirt so some caution is advised.
Heading West on Rt. 74, the road is straight and flat as you pass thru a wide area of mountain ranches. On your left, you will pass Lake Hemet with its nearby cottages. Rt. 74 now begins ascending quickly with great sweeping turns. When you reach Mountain Center, the ride turns right on Rt. 243 towards Idyllwild.
Rt. 243 again climbs rapidly with more sweeping turns. As you climb in altitude, the view to the West becomes breathtaking. There are several turnouts where you can enjoy the view and take pictures. You will soon reach the city limits of Idyllwild where the speed limit will drop. The main portion will be on your right. Look for a sideroad with a banner overhead which leads to the center of town. We usually spend an hour or so in town getting a late lunch or some ice cream.
The ride resumes by heading South on Rt. 243, leaving Idyllwild. Once again, you have a great view to the West as the road winds down to Mountain Center. You will reach Rt. 74 where you should turn right to continue West. The descent to Hemet is especially fun with a lot of wide sweeping turns. There are several vistas along the way with great views.
The view from the vista East of Hemet
When you reach the town of Hemet, you will find the temperature to be significantly warmer than Idyllwild. During the summer, Hemet can be quite hot. The long string of traffic lights doesn't help much but there are a number of places to stop for refreshements. When you reach State Street (at a traffic light), turn left to head South. Follow State Street for several miles until it bends to head East and you encounter Sage Road. Take Sage Road South and you will have an interesting ride.
Sage Road starts out is a fun paved road with lots of turns. Turn right when you Tee into Rt. 79 and you are on your way back to Temecula. You can conclude the ride by taking Pala Rd, Rainbow Canyon, or simply I-15 South towards Rt. 76. Hope you enjoyed the ride.