Frazier Park’s Mount Pinos is probably the closest place for unorganized and free snow play in the Los Angeles area. Whether you live in Northern Los Angeles County or Ventura County you can usually get to Mt Pinos in about two hours. There are a few beautiful unorganized snow play areas around the Frazier Park/Mount Pinos area. Read on to see my favorite snow play areas around Mt. Pinos.
Frazier Park snow play is part of my detailed article about best snow play spots in Southern California. Let’s explore together the best snow play area near Frazier Park.
1. Snow Play Areas at Chula Vista Campground Near Mount Pinos
Frazier Park, California – Small children enjoy sledding on the slopes near Chula Vista Campground
See my photos from Mount Pinos
As you exit the I5 freeway at Frazier Mountain Park Road and drive past the village of Frazier Park, you will be driving through a beautiful valley flanked by mountain peaks.
Frazier Park Road goes through the village of Frazier Park and becomes Cuddy Valley Road as it continues through the beautiful Cuddy Valley. As the roads turn left and starts ascending, Cuddy Valley Road becomes Mt Pinos Road which takes you all the way up to Mount Pinos. That’s where the road ends.
If you are patient and drive past Frazier Park and Cuddy Valley, the road ends with a large parking lot and a natural sledding area right next to the parking lot near the Chula Vista Campground.
Once you reach the end of the road and park your car, use the trail to the right of the Forest Service building and walk a few hundred feet. There is a beautiful meadow with two long sledding slopes, perfect for kids and adults.
Mount Pinos, California – Map of snow play areas around Chula Vista Campground near Mount Pinos
See my photos from Mount Pinos
If you drive all the way up to Mount Pinos on a sunny winter day, when the road is open, you will simply love it. We found the Mt Pinos snow play area is much better than large, commercial snow areas around Big Bear Lake or Mountain High.
2. Snow Play Areas on the Road from Cuddy Valley to Mount Pinos
Frazier Park, California – The road from Frazier Park to Mount Pinos is often covered in snow during the winter
See my photos from Mount Pinos
Frazier Park’s Cuddy Valley doesn’t get much snow during the winter and most of the winter the roads are clear. However, when you keep following Cuddy Valley Road and start climbing towards Mount Pinos, the road gets icy and snowy pretty soon. Often times, you need chains to keep driving.
When driving to Mount Pinos always carry chains with you and be ready to install them. While most of the times the weather is sunny, many times in the winter the weather is unpredictable, so be prepared with chains and several changes of clothes.
As you go up to Mt Pinos, you will start noticing cars stopped on the left and right side of the road where snow play is possible. However, the designated parking areas are at Mount Pinos Campground and Chula Vista Campground. Also, you need an Adventure Pass to be displayed on your car. Last time we went, we bought an Adventure Pass at the gas station in Frazier Park.
Frazier Park, California – Snow play areas in Frazier Park right before driving up to Mount Pinos
See my photos from Mount Pinos
As with most unorganized snow play areas, you will see slopes made sled suitable by the many people stopping on the side of the road and sledding. Most snow is on the side of the mountain with most shade. There are two good sledding areas right before Mount Pinos Campground sign on the right hand side of the road. The second one is on the left side of the road right past the Mt. Pinos Campground sign. Parking at Mount Pinos Campground is your best bet for these snow play areas.
3. Snow Play Areas right outside Cuddy Valley, Frazier Park
Frazier Park/Cuddy Valley with a bit of snow covering the ground in December.
See my photos from Frazier Park
Cuddy Valley itself gets some snow in the winter time, but not very much since its elevation is only 4600 ft. You would have to visit right after a snow storm in order to enjoy some snow playing in Frazier Park’s Cuddy Valley without having to drive up to Mount Pinos.
However, Frazier Park and Cuddy Valley don’t have any snow play areas as most land is private. If you are planning to go to this area, check the road conditions and make sure the road to Mount Pinos is open before you go. Stopping in Frazier Park for snow play will be disappointing and will get lots of local residents really upset. So, plan to through Frazier Park towards Mt Pinos as that is the best area for snow play.
Please beware that the Frazier Park village and Cuddy Valley areas do not have any official snow play areas and most land is private. If you decide to stop in Frazier Park for snow play, make sure you are parking in a public place…otherwise you would be trespassing on private property. Also, make sure you pick up your trash before you go back home.
If you make it to Frazier Park, the only public place suitable for snow play is the Frazier Mountain Park, across from the library. Find parking along Park Drive and make sure you don’t block any driveways. This is the closest place to the freeway, but most of the times it doesn’t get much snow.
Driving a little further through the community of Lake of the Woods and turning left on Lockwood Valley Road you can can also find suitable snow play area near the Mt Pinos Ranger District Office at Frazier Mountain Trailhead. This snow play area is also on public land and you should be able to find parking on the forest road.
As you leave Cuddy Valley and the road curves to the left going up to Mt Pinos, you can try snow play at the Mt Pinos Vehicle Meeting Point (also known locally as the Y), but make sure you stay on the North West side of the area so you remain on public land. You can also try St Nicholas Campground Area a little further up the road before the snow gate.
Snow play areas outside Cuddy Valley on the way to Mt Pinos
Continuing further from the Y, as you pass the snow gate, and drive up the road, you can find suitable Frazier Park snow play areas both on the left and on the right of Mt Pinos Road as I indicated above in my article.
Is Frazier Park open for snow play? Well, that’s the wrong question to ask as Frazier Park doesn’t have any official snow play areas. A more appropriate question would be: is Mount Pinos open for snow play? For an answer to this question please check the current snow conditions in the Frazier Park Area using the links towards the end of this article.
Remember that Frazier Park and Lake of the Woods are very small communities so please check the resources page at the end of the article before visiting Frazier Park/Mount Pinos area. Check especially the weather/snow report page which will tell you if the roads to Frazier Park and Mount Pinos are open or not. If the road are not open, you might want to postpone your trip so you can enjoy the snow properly.
Plan Your Trip to the Snow at Mount Pinos
- Stay in Frazier Park. Pine Mountain Club is my favorite mountain retreat from the busy Los Angeles area, especially if you can stay a few nights. You can check out Pine Mountain Club snowfall by using the link below. Also, Frazier View Motel is a great budget choice right in Frazier Park. For a great place right on I5, I recommend the Holiday Inn in Lebec, right off the freeway going into Frazier Park.
- Make sure your kids have some good snow gloves and a water bottle to keep them going.
- Check current snow and road conditions around the Frazier Park area. Locally maintained website with accurate information, updated daily. This website has links to Frazier Park snow cam that can show you current snow conditions.
- Pay attention to the entry for Frazier Mountain Park Road (look for CHP traffic restrictions) and Mt Pinos Road (this is at the snow gate). During the pandemic, in January 2021, local police cars blocked the entrance and only allowed local traffic through Frazier Mountain Park road invoking COVID concerns. Not sure what will happen during 2022-2023 winter season.
- Here’s the Frazier Park Sheriff’s Substation phone number: (661) 245-3440. However, I am not sure what information you can gather from here.
- Look for Mt Pinos Road on the Kern County Road status website.
- Check the Los Padres National Forest website for latest alerts. You can also call them at 661-245-3731 to see what roads are open and where you can park. The forest service has created a great resource for public snow place areas around the Frazier Park/Mount Pinos areas.
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Thank you so much for this detailed guide! We bought an Adventure Pass, stayed at a local inn and enjoyed the snow and found the people there very friendly.
Frank…I am glad you had a great experience in Frazier Park. Glad to hear my article was helpful for planning your trip.
Don’t call the the hotels about snow play their are other resources you can call. We are a business not the weather Chanel.
Anonymous…I have removed the phone numbers for FlyingJ and HolidayInn per your complaint. Not really sure if you are the general manager, but maybe just and employee that answers the phone and wants less work. A friendly answer to people on the phone might actually earn you some more business.
Thank you for writing this article. I’ve never heard of this area but would love to visit and your article is what I needed for snow play areas. Planning to visit the last week of December. Do you know/think if it’ll snow that time of year? Thank you.
Kim…check the current weather link in the article to see if there’s snow around the Frazier Park area. Look specifically at Mt Pinos and check if the road to Mt Pinos is open.
Thank you for taking the time to write this. It’s much appreciated. I’m hoping to go this week but am having trouble working if there’s enough snow. Not entirely sure how to verify.
Feb 2021 update. There is good snow only at Mount Pinos and the road is open. However, check in the morning before you head out and make sure you would be allowed to pass through Frazier Park. I would call the FlyingJ facility and ask if CHP is blocking the road.
Why is access blocked to traffic in Frazier Park? The road seemed to be clear and all entrances were blocked.
Is there an other explanation to this please let me know. Thanx!
Javier, we also went with a small group of friends this past Saturday (January 29, 2021) and were turned back at the Frazier Mountain Park Road exit from I-5 freeway. Police would not let anyone pass through because of COVID concerns…at least that’s what we were told. The local page has been updated to indicate that CHP (California Highway Patrol) limits traffic to allow only local traffic. We even called the Forest Service and they said that the road was open, but the snow gate was closed which we knew. So, the short answer is no, not really, I don’t really know why CHP blocks traffic to a public road.
Please take down the picture of private property in Cuddy Valley in #3 labeled snow play area in Cuddy Valley. Clearly ranch land and having people cut fence and put cattle at risk is a felony in California. There are no snow play areas in Cuddy Valley.
Stephanie…I have removed the picture you refer to and replaced it with the Google Map insert. Mt Pinos Vehicle Meeting spot is on federal land according to the Los Padres National Forest map.
I know you probably don’t want anyone to come in your area, but people will come to Frazier Park/Cuddy Valley….so what is a better place for them to enjoy the snow if the road to Mt Pinos is closed?
I think is better to help people go to the right place instead of telling them not to come at all.
I have lived in Pinon Pines, a subdivision on the way to Pine Mountain Club, for 16 years. Snowbunnies have made even a “quick” trip to the store a ride from Hell. They litter our mountain, clog the roads, make it impossible for emergency vehicles to get through…then they leave their trash and go back to their wherever they come from. But that wasn’t my real purpose for writing: actually, this guy doesn’t live here and although his “literary prowess” contains a bit of truth, 98% of this rubbish is not accurate. I can see how manipulative people can be just to see their name in print.
There is no “Woodyard” unless you are looking for firewood. Nothing is reasonably priced during this time and if he knew what he was talking about, he would have said that. Anyone who is a resident here knows how destructive these “visitors” have been. And no, there is not any income from these people to speak of because they bring their own food, grills, dirty diapers, sleds and other crap and then they leave it for us to clean up.
It makes a season that should be beautiful something to be dreaded.
“usually towards New Year’s there is a large snow storm when it rains in Los Angeles…”
FR Resident…thank you for your comments. Every year I get angry comments from local residents. However, please let me know which of my information is inaccurate and I will try correcting it. All the snow play areas I indicate are located on federal land which is publicly accessible.
Unfortunately, most people stopping in Frazier Park for snow play really show that they do not read my article at all. If they would, they would actually drive to Mt Pinos and not stop in Frazier Park. As far as the Woodyard goes, thank you for pointing out that the comment added is not really accurate. Hope people read your comment.
Just curious when does everybody decide to go out to Frazier Park for snow play? What time does the snow start coming in?
Carrie…. usually towards New Year’s there is a large snow storm when it rains in Los Angeles. That’s when I check the local weather report and see how much snow there is. I also check if the road to Mt Pinos is open, as that is the best place for snow play.
Be sure to stop by “The Woodyard” just off the freeway on the right hand side. Sleds, (round and toboggan style) gloves, mittens (kids and adults) and hats are available at reasonable prices!
Thank you Kelly for the suggestion. However, another resident indicates that everything is overpriced at the Woodyard. I hope adventure passes are also available at “The Woodyard”, for those going to Mt Pinos.