These alpine havens offer a snowy winter wonderland near Los Angeles.
When the urge to create a snow angel hits (perhaps just after a refreshing winter surf) there are options. Yes, Los Angeles County does get a sprinkling of snow during winter. Even if it’s mostly around the peaks of the Angeles National Forest. On top of that, L.A. is surrounded by SoCal’s gorgeous landscapes, offering plenty of opportunities for snow play.
While the snowfall is relatively volatile and varies greatly from year to year, here are a few spots near L.A. to catch snow through winter. So, dust off those ear muffs and head to one of these white-coated havens for a snowy hike, sledding, skiing or snowboarding.
1. Mount Baldy
This alpine treasure is not only considered to have the best snow conditions in SoCal but it’s also located in the Angeles National Forest, making it the closest. Within a 2-hour drive, the reflective high-rises of Downtown L.A. will be replaced with towering trees of the San Gabriel Mountains, often covered with fresh powder. You could easily head up to one of the resorts, go snow tubing and be catching a sunset on the beach by the evening.
Head into the San Jacinto Mountains, just 110 miles southeast of L.A. and you’ll be in natural heaven all year round. While there’s no resort for snow sports, you’ll be able to get cozy around a fire in a wood-clad cabin and watch wildlife doing their thing while you hike or paddle around the lake.
3. Big Bear
Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains and reaching peaks of up to 8,805 feet, Big Bear offers plenty of snow-filled experiences. You can do anything from bobsledding and snow tubing to hiking around Big Bear Lake in these parts. Night owls can even take up night skiing at the enchanting Bear Mountain resort.
4. Lake Arrowhead
In less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, you could be taking full advantage of the powder-white terrain of Lake Arrowhead. If you’re not in the mood for skiing at one of the many resorts, you can always head to the ultimate alpine wonderland of Skypark at Santa’s Village. You’ll be able to ice skate, hike or indulge in tons of seasonal activities throughout winter.
5. Mount Pinos
Head straight through Frazier Park to this low-key snow sanctuary where you can create your own version of a resort. There are almost no facilities around these parts, so make sure you come equipped. With an elevation of 8,300 feet and located in Los Padres National Forest, you’ll be treated to a fair bit of snow right through April with a short(ish) drive.
6. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Hop on the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar and go from the iconic Palm Springs desert to the snow-topped San Jacinto mountains with a 10-minute journey. You’ll enjoy a scenic ride through Chino Canyon in a car that rotates slowly to give you 360-degree views of the desert below. Once you arrive at Mountain Station (8,516 feet), you’ll have 50 miles of hiking trails, observations decks, a museum and great restaurants to fuel your exploring.