Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

This road is really fun. As the name suggests, you start out in the desert amid palm trees and wind your way through the San Bernardino National Forest, to discover small mountain villages surrounded by pine trees.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

We started in Palm Desert and stopped in Idyllwild before completing the loop back to the valley. The first part of this drive switchbacks up the desert hills. The road is often narrow and it feels like you’re in a little rock canyon.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

We passed dozens of beautiful Porsche 356’s driving the opposite way. Where were they all coming from?!

Porsche 356

There are some scenic vista pull-outs along the drive, some with short nature trails. It’s amazing how high you climb in a short time. Can you see that looping road we drove up?

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

And then, ta-da! You’re in the forest! Idyllwild is a cute little village with a handful of shops and restaurants. We learned at the history center — a small log cabin — that the area is popular for rock climbing. The docent also told us that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were there a couple of weeks ago, among other tidbits about pioneer life and Elvis Presley movies.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

On the drive back, we caught this amazing sunset! (We also got stuck in a traffic jam so bad that people turned off their cars and walked around to find out what was happening. But a nice view of the city lights below and a bag of kettle corn made the time pass quickly.)

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

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