5 Places to Enjoy the Snow Near Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the few places in the world where, winter weather gods permitting, you can surf in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon. Here are a few places that are (usually) less than a three-hour drive from L.A. where you can enjoy the snow.

1. Angeles Crest Highway
If you just want to build snowmen, have a snowball fight and otherwise frolic in the snow, you can usually find plenty of the white stuff along Highway 2, north of La Canada Flintridge. Look for turnouts with plowed areas for parking (you'll likely get a ticket if you park along the highway).

2. Mountain High Resort
The closest place to ski, snowboard and snow tube near L.A. is Mountain High Resort in the San Gabriel Mountains. It's conveniently located near the I-15 freeway, so you don't have to drive down any icy mountain roads to get there. Depending on traffic, it's about a 90-minute drive from downtown L.A. Expect huge crowds on winter weekends.

3. Lake Arrowhead
Take the winding, appropriately named Rim of the World Highway (State Route 18) up the San Bernardino Mountains to this picturesque resort. There are no ski resorts in town, but after you play in the snow you can visit Lake Arrowhead Village, which has both outlet stores and mom-and-pop shops, and restaurants serving everything from Belgian waffles to Thai food.

4. Big Bear Lake
There are plenty of activities for adults and kids alike in the Big Bear area, about an hour's drive from Lake Arrowhead. Two ski resorts—Bear Mountain and Snow Summit—welcome advanced skiers as well as snow bunnies, and offer interchangeable lift tickets. If you're driving up to Big Bear on a snowy day, be sure to bring tire chains, or you'll be turned away by the Highway Patrol (and prepare for slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic up the mountain).

5. Mount San Jacinto State Park (via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway)
It's about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs (except during the Friday evening rush hour, when it can take twice as long). From this desert playground you can take a scenic ride aboard the revolving Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, ascending 8,500 feet to Mount San Jacinto. In the winter through the early spring you can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and even camping in the snow.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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