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  1. Default where to find snow, west coast

    Australian family doing a 4 day road trip S/Fran- LA, none of us have seen snow before, is there anywhere close to the drive down the coast that we could detour to experience snow,
    Trip date 13-18 Jan 2009

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not the coast but

    You're not going to find snow along the coast, its just too warm. However, there are plenty of places in the mountains that are easily accesable in winter that will have snow. Two of the easiest places to enjoy snowy weather would be Lake Tahoe or Yosemite, but there are ski resorts all the way down towards Southern California.

  3. #3


    you can most likely find snow in the San Gabriel mountains that border the greater LA area to the north.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-22-2008 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Link Format

  4. Default

    Thats excellent !!, thanks very much for the info, just what where looking for on our tight schedule.

  5. Default Best odds and simplest access...

    In January?

    There are 3 or 4 fairly simple options to find snow either on or near the route from LA to SF.

    - San Gabriel mountains, north of LA (Angeles Crest Highwy, including Kraktow Ridge and Mt Waterman ski areas). These are reachable in about 60-90 minute drive north of Pasadena area on Angeles Crest Highway. Depending upon the year, you might see snow even on Mt Wilson, which is very close to Pasadena.

    - Mt Baldy. This is the closest, highest easily accessible mountain to LA, about 45 minutes north of the Pomona/ Claremont area, a bit east of LA (about 45 minutes east) There's a chair lift up to about 8000' elevation, a small ski area and a lodge at Baldy Notch. Nice place for hiking in the summers, where you can day-hike up to Mt Baldy (Mt San Antonio) at about 10,000' elevation.

    - Mt San Jacinto, near Palm Springs. Also in the 8000' elevation range, after you take the rather scenic enclosed gondola lift up from near Palm Springs. Cross country ski and snow shoeing area, but with a nice lodge at the top.

    - Big Bear/ Lake Arrowhead area in the San Bernadino Mountains. These are pretty good areas for snow play in the winter -- from 7000-9000' in elevation, with a couple of reasonable towns, several ski areas, cross country ski trails and hotels and restaurants. These are north and east of San Bernadino and reachable in about 2 hours from downtown LA.

    - Wrightwood ski area is on the north side of the San Gabriel mountains, north of San Bernadino and west of Victorville. Good ski area, with snow play areas and small resort town at the base. It's on the north, or shady side of the mountains so the snow doesn't get heated up by the sun as soon as the other resorts, so they can have good extended ski seasons while still being within 2 hours of LA.

    - Mt Pinos. If you're heading north of LA via I-5, you go over the "Grapevine", down into California's central valley. Mt Pinos is at the top of that pass, a bit west of I-5, and at 7000' + can get significant snow. I attempted to drive through the area over towards the coast last January, and ended up having to turn around since I was driving in about 2-3" of fresh snow on the road, and about 2 inches of black ice underneath it on the road (very slippery), and I didn't have chains. So I know they get snow here as well.

    There are several other ski & snow areas potentially available to you, but these are the ones within about 2 hours drive from LA, or on the direct route. Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks will probably have snow in Januaray, along the western slopes of the Sierras up the California central valley. Similarly, Mammoth Mountain is a world class ski area, but on the eastern side of the Sierras, about 5 hours north of LA. Lake Tahoe/ Reno will also probably have snow, about 3-4 hours east of San Francisco.

  6. Default

    I very much appreciate this info and I'm sure with your help, it will make our short stay a most memorable trip.


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