Last season’s record-breaking snowfall left plenty of places to see snow near Los Angeles. If the promising 2023 El Niño brings another extended snow season then we’re in for another fun-filled winter of tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and, of course, building snowmen.
Luckily, there are several great places for snow near Los Angeles that offer snow play and activities of all kinds. In our ultimate guide to the best places for snow near Los Angeles, we’ll explore some of the best spots to visit for a winter wonderland experience, as well as some tips to make the most of your snow day. So put on your coat and boots, and let’s go explore some of the best snow spots near LA!
Before we get started, here’s some frequently asked questions about snow in Los Angeles
When does it snow in Los Angeles?
The snow season in Los Angeles usually runs from early December to March, but the snowfall varies greatly each year. The best time to go skiing or snowboarding is typically when there is a storm system in the area, as this will ensure that there is enough snow on the ground.
If you are heading to the snow, be sure to read our post on Top 5 Tips for Planning a Trip to the Local Mountains From the South Bay.
Does it snow a lot in Los Angeles?
The snowfall in Los Angeles varies greatly from year to year. Sometimes LA will get a lot of snow, while other times there is barely any snow at all. Forecasters are predicting an El Niño event in the 2023 – 2024 season, which means chances are pretty good that we’ll enjoy another snow-filled winter with plenty of snow near Los Angeles.
Do you need chains when there is snow in the Los Angeles mountains?
Chains are not always necessary when driving in the snow, but it is always a good idea to have them in your car just in case. The best way to find out if you need chains is to check the California Highway Patrol website or call the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Road Conditions Hotline: 1-800-427-ROAD (1-800-427-7623).
How much does it cost to ski or snowboard in Los Angeles?
The cost of skiing and snowboarding varies depending on which resort you go to. Typically, the closer the resort is to Los Angeles, the more expensive it will be. However, there are some great deals to be found if you do a little bit of research.
Where can I find snow clothes in Los Angeles?
With nearly year round sunshine it’s likely your kids don’t own a pair of snow boots. The best way to get the family prepped for the snow? Hit up your neighbors! Chances are families have leftover winter gear their kids have outgrown after last year’s snow getaway. Check with friends or neighbors on our Local Anchor Facebook group. Not only will you save money but you’ll help out otherwise unused snow gear to good use.
Best Places for Snow Near Los Angeles
Mountain High is one of the closest winter resorts to Southern California that doesn’t require mountain travel. You won’t find an easier journey to the mountains anyplace for Los Angeles snow than at the Angeles National Forest, about an hour and a half from West Los Angeles and Orange County. Tubing, snowboarding, and skiing, as well as a scenic lift ride and lessons are available. Yeti’s Snow Play is the place to be for families with kids, where you can play and tube all day.
If you just want to play in the snow and bypass the ski resort scene, there are plenty of spots to check out in Wrightwood. Just make sure you come prepared with your own sleds and saucers, as well as an Adventure Pass which can be purchased at Mountain Hardware.
For decades, Mt. Baldy has been regarded as having the best natural skiing and snowboarding terrain in Southern California. With just a two hour drive from downtown Los Angeles, it’s also one of the closest places for snow near Los Angeles. With ski lifts and a massive tubing park, there’s something for kids of all ages and you can enjoy the snow and be back home before nightfall.
For an easy snow day head to Frazier Park in Kern County. There are no ski lifts or resorts here, so you’ll want to check the weather conditions to ensure there is snow on the ground. After a snowfall, put on the snow chains and head up Mount Pinos, where you’ll find some unofficial snow play areas at the Chula Vista campground or off of Frazier Mountain Park Road.
Mammoth Mountain is the perfect place for a family getaway to one of the best places for snow near Los Angeles. With skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and lessons, you’ll find something for kids (and grown-ups) of all ages. For your snow-loving kids, a season pass can also make an excellent experience gift.
Lake Arrowhead Village is tucked away in the woods, with the charm of Swiss chalets and a wide range of modern facilities. The Village is home to Lake Arrowhead Resort as well as a variety of charming specialty businesses as well as outlet stores including Jockey, Bass, Famous Footwear, and Coach, to name a few. There are also a number of convenience stores, such as Stater Bros, dry cleaners, florists, and a post office.
If you’re looking for snow play mixed with holiday cheer then SkyPark at Santa’s Village is the place to be. In the San Bernardino Mountains just outside of Big Bear you can enjoy the magic of the winter season. While there isn’t any tubing or skiiing here, the elevation is right for snowfall in the winter months. So you can enjoy the snow-capped scenery while you play and check out all the fun activities at SkyPark, including ice skating, train rides, and of course Santa.
Big Bear Mountain Resort featuring the family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort is the place to for snow near Los Angeles. In addition to skiing and tubing you’ll find plenty of spots for Big Bear snow play for the younger kids. If you want to bypass the bigger resorts and just enjoy some snow play, Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain is the place to be. The Magic Carpet conveyor lift will carry you up to access five family-friendly snow runs. The streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial district, are lined with boutiques, gift shops, and restaurants. Mountain routes can be found in the rocky San Bernardino National Forest, which surrounds the city.
With over 80 years of snow fun, these ski lifts have been designated as a national monument. Check weather conditions before heading up as this is an entirely natural snow spot, no snow is manufactured here. While there is a snack stand, there are no gas stations on the mountain, so make sure to fill up before you arrive.
The San Jacinto Mountains are home to this hidden gem. You won’t find skiers among the tall woods, sweet-smelling cedars, and legendary rocks, but Idyllwild is the perfect spot for families who simply want to experience the snow. Take a day trek to hike through the snowy woods, or rent an Air BnB and make it a relaxing weekend getaway. The city has maintained its “small town” feel. You’ll only find locally owned stores and eateries here, perfect for an escape from the traffic and the bustle of city life.
Set in the San Bernardino Mountains, Running Springs is home to Snow Valley, the oldest running ski resort in Southern California. Snow Valley Mountain Resort is located at the intersection of SR-18 and SR-330. You’ll find skiing and snowboarding, as well as lessons on the mountain. The real draw for families with young kids is the massive snow play area. A scenic chairlift ride and sleds make for the perfect day of snow play.
For a snowy getaway outside of San Diego, take the family for a ride to Mount Laguna. Mount Laguna is a magnificent pine and oak woodland that rises 6,000 feet above sea level, found along the S1 Scenic Byway – Sunrise Highway. This breathtaking setting, just one hour east of downtown San Diego, is one of the city’s best hidden secrets.
Enjoy amazing views of the desert below from the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar. It’s only a few minutes’ drive from downtown Palm Springs. There are 54 miles of hiking trails, restaurants, breathtaking vistas, and gift shops to enjoy. Also, check out: Fun Things to do with Kids in Palm Springs.
Not Snow, But Still Fun
No snow gear? Grab your boogie boards and enjoy some sledding fun the So Cal way with sand sledding at the beach.