Mountain biking in Idyllwild

A mountain biker on Thomas Mountain. Courtesy: Brendan Collier
With approximately 200 miles of dirt roads and more than 40 miles of trails open to bicyclists, the San Jacinto Mountains around Idyllwild offer a number of experiences for mountain bikers of all levels.

For that reason, the local mountain trails have become extremely popular among riders looking for challenging routes and breathtaking scenery. Local trails provide mountain bikers with a diverse selection of roads from which to choose.

The Forest Service has mountain biking regulations in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains to ensure the safety of riders and the protection of natural resources. Bicycles may be ridden on established roads and trails within the mountains; however, bikes are not allowed within the San Jacinto or Santa Rosa wilderness areas or along the Pacific Crest Trail.

If parking a vehicle on Forest Service land in the areas of Thomas Mountain and Black Mountain, Lake Hemet and Humber Park, visitors must display an Adventure or Recreation Pass in their vehicle. Call the Idyllwild Ranger Station at (909) 382-2922 for more details.

The Forest Service also offers these safety tips for mountain bikers: Keep your eyes and ears open for equestrians and hikers on trails and vehicles on roads; helmets are highly recommended; control your speed; avoid riding after dark; and, carry a map (available at the Forest Service).

Idyllwild-area Mountain Bike Trails

  • Coyote Run: Beginning at the north end of Hurkey Creek County Park and ending at the waterfalls on Hurkey Creek, this easy and scenic ride is about two miles on a dirt road closed to vehicles. Parking is available at the day-use area within the Hurkey Creek Campground or outside the park.
  • Fobes Ranch Road and Spurs: This trail is located three miles south of Lake Hemet on Highway 74 in Garner Valley. The roads are easy to moderate and offer more than two miles of mountain bike riding.
  • May Valley Trail System: May Valley road is reopened after the fire. Some trails at the top and bottom of the road are also reopened.
  • The Hub Trail System: This winding trail system incorporates great views of Alvin Meadow and the Grotto. Trails climb from behind Idyllwild Arts up toward Pine Cove. Moderate to challenging.
  • Thomas Mountain and Ramona Trail: This challenging 17-mile loop is considered one of the best rides in the area. It begins one mile south of Lake Hemet on Highway 74, six miles east of the junction with Highway 371. The dirt road ascends from an elevation of 4,500 feet to more than 8,700 feet in 13 miles to Thomas Mountain Peak, offering far-reaching views of Anza and San Diego below.
  • 24-hour Loop: Starting and ending at Hurkey Creek County Park, this challenging ride starts with a tough climb up to Keen Summit, traverses through Johnson Meadow and features a fast and flowy descent through chaparral to complete the 11-mile loop. Hurkey Creek day use fees apply.
  • Other Trails: Pinyon Loop, South Ridge Trail and Webster Trail.

Brendan Collier updated this report.