Extreme winter adventures in Los Angeles

Extreme winter adventures in Los Angeles is an oxymoron, right? Los Angeles doesn't have extreme winter conditions—well, except for driving the 405 Freeway during a rainstorm (or even a light drizzle). Yet, we citizens of the southland think the winter is the best time to participate in more adventurous activities. The air is cooler (sometimes even cold), the skies are clearer, and it's a great time to take advantage of living in an environment where you don't have to be cooped up inside during the winter months. So outdoorsy people of the world, here are four winter adventures around Los Angeles.

Hiking Mount Wilson via Chantry Flats
Located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest, Mount Wilson is home to the Mount Wilson Observatory (closed during winter months), broadcast towers, and acclaimed hiking trails. For those truly adventurous, the Mt. Wilson/Chantry Flats hiking loop is nearly 14 miles, and is rated difficult with an elevation gain of 4,200 feet. It also has an estimated hiking time of 7 hours. Starting at the trailhead at Chantry Flats (where you can park for a fee), hikers will walk through chaparral, ponderosa and sugar pines. You'll even pass a waterfall called Sturtevant Falls. On clear days you can see all of Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean.

Running the Griffith Park Trails
Many a marathoner has taken up training at Griffith Park with their 53 miles of trails over the park's 4310 acres. The park even boasts Half Marathon and 5K races. Favorite trails include those along Crystal Springs Drive at the Pony Rides to Griffith Park Drive over the hill to Zoo Drive and back – it's about a 6-mile loop.

Surfing in Santa Monica
Of course, surfing is associated with the summer, but one can surf year-round in southern California, particularly around Santa Monica. Plus, many think that winter is the best time to surf because of the lack of crowds. Yes, you should don a full wetsuit because the water is chilly – the range is in the high-50 degrees as opposed to the mid-60 degrees during the summer months.

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit
True it's not exactly in Los Angeles, but Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are two winter ski areas that are only 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Located in San Bernardino County, winter enthusiasts can hit these 8200-foot mountains for some pretty great skiing or snowboarding. It's hard to believe that just over two hours away from the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean, one can find themselves in the snow-covered mountains of the Big Bear Resort.

Author's bio: Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, travel and the arts. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, television, and arts organizations.

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