For many visitors to Idyllwild, hiking is a favorite pastime. The closure of trails in the Idyllwild area following the Mountain and Silver fires has had a financial impact on local businesses. An added problem is the perception, despite media coverage and written reports to the contrary, that Idyllwild was damaged in the fire and that a much larger number of trails are closed.
Pam Allen of Fireside Inn and Cabins said, “We get a lot of calls from people wanting to know which trails are open. Many of our guests are really interested in hiking. Some people think that the fire was everywhere but word is getting out that Idyllwild is just as beautiful as it has always been.”
“Between the fire and the trails [closure] it has had an enormous impact on this small place,” said Gary Taylor of the Fern Valley Inn. “We just had someone cancel their reservation because of smoke; there is no smoke,” he added.
In addition to lost accommodations revenue, the repercussions are felt through every segment of Idyllwild’s local, tourist-driven, economy.
Marilyn Johnson has been with the Pony Express store in downtown Idyllwild for the 11 years it has been in business. She observed, “We have felt a big impact whether it’s from the fire, the trail closures or the road closures. People came in this weekend and said ‘You’re still here! Where’s the fire?’ It really has put a damper on business. It’s going to take a while to build back up.”
The Riverside County Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services is working with local businesses to determine the financial impact of the evacuation, fire and trail closures has had. Results of the survey will not be available until the data is collected and extrapolated, but it is expected to be significant.
While some trails are closed, many popular trails remain open.
• Black Mountain Trail, strenuous, 4 miles. Trail leaves from Highway 243 south of Vista Grande Fire Station. Begins at 4,480 feet and ascends 3,292 feet. Great views.
• Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock, moderate, 3.3 miles. Trail leaves from Highway 243 1 mile north of Idyllwild. Begins at 5,600 feet and ascends 1,700 feet. Beautiful views of Idyllwild and Tahquitz Rock.
• Devil’s Slide Trail, moderate, 2.5 miles. Trail leaves from Humber Park. Begins at 6,280 feet and ascends 1,700 feet. Trail is open to the Pacific Crest Trail.
• Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, easy, 2.6 miles. Trail leaves from Humber Park. Open to the PCT at Saddle Junction. PCT north of Saddle Junction is closed. PCT south of Saddle Junction is open to the juncture with the South Ridge Trail. Begins at 6,100 feet and descends 600 feet. Offers great views, streams and plant life.
Trail closures in effect as a result of the Mountain and Silver Fires are:
• Carumba Trail 3E04
• Cedar (Laws) Trail 3E16
• Cedar Springs Trail 4E17
• Fobes Trail 4E04
• Little Tahquitz Valley Trail 3E41
• Pacific Crest Trail – closed from Highway 74 (mile 172) to Strawberry Junction (mile 183) near the San Jacinto State Park boundary.
• Skunk Cabbage Trail 3E42
• South Ridge Trail 3E08
• Spitler Peak Trail 3E22
“We are reviewing and evaluating resource conditions and public safety issues. A decision on any future closure order will be forthcoming upon completion of review. We hope to have this information available as soon as possible,” said John Miller, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
For updates visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/sbnf/passes-permits or call the U.S. Forest Service in Idyllwild at 951-659-2117.
Category: Idyllwild News