Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Idyllwild to Banning Road

While we were checking out a campground called Silent Valley, in the San Jacinto Mountains, a ranger there saw our jeep and told us about the old road that ran from Idyllwild to Banning. It has never been paved and was used for at least a hundred years before the highway existed. It still exists today and a good portion of it is maintained.  We took it and discovered that there are several other old back roads in the area. We'll try them out next time.

The Silent Valley campground is a long way downhill from here.

We've come a long way uphill to get to these carved out sections.

California's state flower

Doesn't this thing look like an evil Pacman gobbling something up?

Over one mountain and we used that cut on the far side to go over the next one. The San Jacinto Mountains are pretty high and are made up of row after row of mountains.

I have no idea, but it looks like somebody lived here.  I used the internet to find more information about this road and what used to be on it. I found very little. I'll have to keep digging, because when the weather cools off, we'll be spending more time there.

Of course, there always has to be a narrow part with a VERY steep drop off. This one was probably only a thousand feet or so.

Flowers on granite always looks good.




  1. I don't know Pat, that photo of your jeep near the edge, almost gives me a heart attack! That's too scary!

    What an awesome adventure, and a bit on the edge this time.

  2. So beautiful, Pat!! And YES, I think that boulder does look like an evil Pacman. Glad he didn't gobble you guys up! ;)

  3. Another fun road trip, Pat... For some reason, I'm not seeing your flowers on granite... but yes, they do always look good.

  4. More great photos and I love the little house/cave place. Really makes you think of a little grumpy hermit man

  5. These flowers are adorable and you got perfect shots.
    hey, nice jeep! :) I imagine it's not easy to drive in this kind of road there.
    Glad that you enjoy this trip.The mountains are magnificent!
    Thanks for sharing your adventures and a nice week for you!

  6. What beautiful, uncluttered vistas, but my heart would be in my throat at those drop offs!

  7. Never been there, but it looks like an unforgettable drive. I miss those years when I was living out west and exploring the backroads and two tracks of Nevada, Utah and N. AZ, which has similar terrain.

  8. what a great view and love old girt roads that lead to somewhere beautiful

  9. Great photos but not sure I could handle that drop off.

  10. What quietly beautiful country. I bet at the very least there is a rattle snake inside the cave.

  11. the last photo wouldn't load for me and gave me an error when i tried to click on the little box. ah well.

    the pacman rock is fierce! and that stone hut/cave/structure is fascinating!

  12. Terrific captures, Pat, as always! I love being able to take old roads like this and get away for a while from the mainstream and traffic! Such a lovely place! I love the huge "gobbler"! Such a gorgeous area! Thanks for sharing! Have a great week!


  13. My butt would be chewing up the upholstery on that road!

    Question about the stone hut thingy... I see the bottle, in what appears to be a window, or opening... what is the red object on the top?

    The last photo wasn't here for me, either.

  14. Those were all good Pat, but I really liked the stoned PacMan!

  15. I'd only be OK with that drop off if I were driving. The evil pacman is cool, as is the yeti house. That's what I call unknown structures I run into out here.

  16. I love exploring roads like that. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. That was an evil pac-man. Must of been on the outs with Mrs. Pac-man.

  18. I love Idyllwild. We used to take our boys there for snow in the Winter. Is there still an incredible outdoor gallery of colorful carved totems?

  19. Your photo on the edge reminded me of pictures my brother sent home of the roads up the mountains in Bolivia when he was a missionary there.

    Very scary. Glad you are safe.

  20. what a great view! i always enjoy your photos/posts, pat!
    they are always so great and interesting ones!

    and yes, that thing looks like an evil pacman!

  21. Loving your photo's!
    Yes, that boulder does look like Pacman.
    Looks like you had a great time. I was looking back over your old photo's and they are all amazing!

  22. You two adventure seekers find some awesome off the beaten-path roads and trails.
    Yes, Pac-man does appear a tad angry.
    Great post, Pat.. thanks for the beautiful wild flowers.

  23. Those flowers are beautiful, as is the scenery. Although I don't think I would have been as brave as you driving past that edge...

  24. Only 1000 feet. Why that's hardly a drop off at all.

    Great pictures. I love the pacman. That looks like the kind of place I love to go exploring.

  25. That looks like serious fun, I'd like to try it on a motorcycle. The granite and flowers is a nice play, they complement each other very well.

  26. Great shots Pat--It looks like that Tremors thingy--with Kevin Bacon in it--HEY- Maybe that's why those things wanted to eat him?


  27. I'm fascinated by the tiny hut built out of stones--with an incredibly small opening. Maybe for a very teeny weeny dwarfish, secretive hermit? And what would he live on? Have been told that a really clever hermit can forage anywhere!

  28. Reminds me of some of the roads in the eastern Sierra.
    That stone structure looks like a primitive lime kiln. There are several in the Eastern Sierra but the ones I have see are more precisely constructed.

  29. Awesome, Pat... These are just the kinds of roads we love to drive on... BUT--we don't have a Jeep nor 4-wheel drive. SO--we are more limited than you are.

    There are many mountain roads around here which we have traveled on.... LOVE it...

    Great photos and views.

  30. Oh, I'd LOVE to find that road! Now that I'm off for the summer, I'll have time! Thanks for the tip!

  31. Looks like a beautiful drive but too close to the edge for my comfort. And yep, flowers on granite always look good!

  32. A campground called "Silent Valley"? That's much better than the one I went to: "Whispering Pines." Those damn trees kept me up all night. Especially when they started giggling about how squirrels store their nuts in them.

  33. These are beautiful, idyllic shots.
    I agree, those delicate flowers make the granite come alive.

  34. Pat--I just got a 2008 Jeep Patriot and LOVE it! What type/year is yours!

    Dude we are too much alike!


  35. Icy BC - It almost gives me a heart attack also! I'm usually okay if I'm driving, but in this case (and many others) I need to take photos! So my wife drives a lot.

    Jenn - Thanks! I'm also glad he didn't.

    Roly - My pleasure! thanks to you sir!

    Francisca - It seems like they all are. We'll be out again starting next week. I fixed the flowers on granite photo.

    Mynx - Thanks so much! I thought about a dwarf hermit, but the more I look at it, I think it's a kiln, or a huge old fireplace.

    Leia - Thanks Leia. Most of this road was pretty easy. My pleasure and thanks again.

    Shelly - It's very nice there. Right now though, it's VERY hot around there.

    sage - It is a nice drive. We've also done a lot of "backroading" in those three states you mention. N. AZ, S. Utah, and parts of Nevada all look the same. RED!

  36. becca - I'm with you! You never know what you will find on those old roads.

    Alex - I have some height issues myself, but the roads don't bother me much.

    Sharon - I wouldn't take that bet, because I think you are right! At least one, maybe more!

    TexWisGirl - Thanks! It was all a nice surprise, because about an hour earlier, we had no idea that road even existed. I discovered something about back roads. We use county maps, because they usually show every single road and sometimes all the known trails.

    Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! I totally agree with you. The old "road less traveled" thing... My pleasure! Thanks again.

    Ms. A - It's not that bad. We go pretty slowly, so we can see everything. I have no idea what that red thing is, I'm going to look for the original photo.

    Brian - Thanks Brian! I liked that one also.

    M Pax - I agree about needing to drive. However, I totally trust my wife to drive. She loves driving the jeep and our RV, so we take turns.

  37. Sally - So do I! My pleasure Sally.

    PTM - He does look pretty evil!

    California Girl - I like the area also. I haven't noticed the totem poles there for a while, but I assume they are still there.

    Rita - These were steep, but not Bolivia steep! Now that would be scary!

    Betty M - It sure was! Thanks for the nice words Betty.

    Megan - Thanks so much! I appreciate you looking around. I used to have a photo blog and a regular blog. I combined them and now it's mostly photos. I REALLY need to start posting some of the written stuff. It's backing up.

    Pam - We really do look for them. Thanks Pam, my pleasure!

    Baby Sister - It was a beautiful place. Nah, it wasn't too bad...

  38. Tim - Nah, that would be just like falling out of bed. Thanks Tim!

    Wayne - Lot's of fun! I'm betting there are more motorcycles going over that road than anything else. thanks!

    Vencora - HA! I never even thought of that! Good one...

    John - thanks John! Tremors! You might be right!

    Margaret - Hi there Margaret! I looked a little closer a while ago and I think I see part of a stone foundation around there also. Maybe it was a big fireplace? I have no idea...

    Martha - I really think you might be right about the kiln. We saw one in Utah several months ago. I'll get much closer to it next time.

    Betsy - thanks Betsy! Most jeep drivers don't really use the FWD capability that much. It's more about ground clearance. So you might be able to go more places than you think! Thanks so much!

    trav4adventures - I'm pretty sure you live pretty close to it. It runs all the way from Idyllwild to Banning (or Beaumont), or you can pick it up at Silent Valley. It shows on the Riverside county map. (or whatever county it's in). Thanks!

  39. missing moments - Unfortunately, in some places that is as wide as the road gets! There was so much to see, that I didn't even think about the height.

    Al - They are both better than "Camp Crystal Lake!" Oh that was a corny joke you left, but still funny!

    Rek - Thanks so much Rek! I agree!

    John - Hey, congrats! Ours is also a 2008. A Wrangler Sarah. It tows really nice behind our RV. If I only fished, we'd be twin brothers from different mothers...

  40. Like the Pac Man! A real blast from the past!

    Thanks for the comments!

    Stewart M

  41. came by to say a big thank you for visiting and commenting.
    it really means the absolute world!

    hope you're having a great weekend!

  42. Great shots as always. Encountered any hillbillies with shotguns and chainsaws?

  43. That drop-off made me shudder!

    I love discovering off-road areas. Gorgeous photos!

  44. Love driving in the mountains! So much to see from a different perspective. I'm always calling out, "Stop, stop...I want to take a picture." and then Hubby says, "You've already taken 25 shots of that same mountain!"

  45. ❤•.¸¸✿⊱╮
    Lugares lindos, fotos bonitas.
    Boa semana!

  46. Incredible alternative route. Great shots.

    Darryl and Ruth :)

  47. Beautiful, the flowers growing out of the rocks!

  48. Stewart M - Thank you and you are welcome!

    Betty M - You are most welcome Betty!
    Thank you!

    Anthony - Thanks! Haven't had any trouble yet! Heck, people might be avoiding me...

    Talli - It was worth a shudder, that's for sure. Thanks Talli...

    Rosemary - I love everything about the mountains but the height! Oh well, I guess that makes them mountains. I'd rather drive in them, but I like my wife to drive then so I can also take too many photos.

    Magia - Thank you Magia! Same to you.

    Darryl and Ruth - Thanks! There are a lot of them out there.

    EG - Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

  49. I'm not a fan of the big drop offs...but wow, these views are incredible. And that little dwelling is totally fascinating.

  50. Great shots Pat! Thanks for the tour. I'm not sure about the narrow road and the big drop!!

  51. Back from our own roadtrip == catching up. That jeep road looks like some our son has taken us on in Colorado. (Very scary, but very fun and scenic).....hope you find out about the little rock dwelling -- a mystery!

  52. riding in a jeep along old mountain roads sounds like a blast!

  53. Do you ever sit still? Every time I look around you and your lovely wife are off on yet another adventure.. Love these mountain shots and the flower is so pretty...
    I do hope you do the speed limit (5 mph) on those curvy roads.. ;-)


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