San Bernardino National Forest

Thomas Mountain Backroad Drive

Try a drive up Thomas Mountain near Garner Valley. Charles Thomas settled in Garner Valley in the mid 1880's and raised Mexican Longhorn Cattle and 12 children. He bought his land from the Cahuilla Indians and later sold it to San Bernardino stockman Robert Garner.

This dirt road climbs through chaparral and pine forest. The views from the road are spectacular. Below is Lake Hemet, to the east is San Jacinto Range, and on a clear day you can see Mount Palomar.


Directions from Idyllwild, CA: Take Highway 243 south to Hwy. 74. Continue on 74 (toward Palm Desert). Just past Lake Hemet, turn right on Thomas Mountain Road (Forest Road 6S13). Follow the road for 8 miles to the top. From the Thomas Mountain Campground, climb on foot for 15 minutes to the summit. To return, you can continue southeast on the road downhill. After 10 miles you rejoin Hwy. 74