Does it Snow in California? The Last Place May Surprise You

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Does it snow in California, The the Golden State? Where does it snow in CA?

The answer is yes!! Well, sort of! There are so many areas of California where you will find snow such as the Sierra Nevada and northern California around Lake Tahoe. However, it’s fair to say that a lot of California’s low-lying regions have a climate that is too temperate (warm) to experience nothing more than a dusting, if at all.

In this blog article will reveal the best spots for snow in California.

California And Snow

Most of us think of California for it’s hot endless summer days and sun-seekers rejoice here.

However, if you’re living on the west coast and want some snow, you will often hear the question asked, ‘where does it snow in California?’.

California snow in winter
California gets snow in winter

If you’re in California and fancy a snow ball fight and that thrill of numb fingers and toes, then you’re going to love all the places on this list.

Where can I go to see snow in California? The answer to your question is in this list!

Believe it or not there are quite a few winter wonderland getaways in CA so if you are you looking for best snowfall places in California that will allow you to feel the joy of the cold we have your covered in this article with some neat suggestions on how to clothe yourself for the cold too.

Are you ready Californica snow seeker? Let’s go!

Further reading – Got some questions about U.S State Parks? Read our US State Park FAQ – we got your pub quiz questions answered!

Where to find snow in Northern California

Mount Shasta (Siskiyou County)

It sure does snow in this fabulous little mountain town called Mt. Shasta. This little town gets around 60 inches (5 feet) of snow every winter.

Mount Shasta in California gets snow in winter
Mount Shasta in California

On the actual Mountain of Mount Shasta prepare to see a whole lot more snow. So called the ‘Snow Bowl’ you can expect to see around 100 inches (9 ft) of snow.

If it’s winter sports in California you’re after, you can ski and snowboard here. Up on Mount Shasta you’re at an elevation of 7,600 feet.

This area of California is fast becoming a hot spot for winter getaways but it is a lot quieter than Tahoe if you’re seeking a calmer Winter Skiing trip.

Lake Tahoe – when does it snow in Lake Tahoe?

Where can you find the most snow in California. Well, raise your snowy mittens Lake Tahoe as this honor falls to you.

Lake Tahoe receives approximately 215 inches of snow per annum a massive 18 feet.

Lake Tahoe winter snow
Does it snow Lake Tahoe

As you can imagine, this snow attracts all sorts of winter sport enthusiasts and so the area of Lake Tahoe has many snow resorts to house the droves of people coming here for skiing, snowboarding and hiking along the stunning lakeside trails.

It snows most in Lake Tahoe in December and February while January still has snow, it tends to be sunnier and therefore some melt.

Expect huge walls of snow when heading to places like KIRKWOOD SKI RESORT.

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Truckee in Nevada County

This is an area very popular with Skiers and snowboarders and other winter sports in California.

Truckee Nevada County snowing
Truckee Nevada County

Incredibly, this region of the Golden State received just over 200 inches of snow every year and therefore ranks it as the snowiest city in the United States.

Bet you didn’t expect California to have the title as snowiest city but it’s all down to the climate here in the Sierra Nevada region.

Destination Big Bear – When Does It Snow In Big Bear?

A great place to visit year round but it get a whooping 120 inches of snow most winters. Snowstorm occur about 5 times a year and on those days around 5 inches when it snows at all.

When Does It Snow In Big Bear
When does it snow Big Bear

When does it snow in Big Bear, CA? Expect the first snowfall of winter for Big Bear as early as October or as late as December.

Normally – Snow starts falling in November and the Big Bear ski resorts start to open just in the nick of time for Thanksgiving weekend and festivities running up to the holiday season and new year.

Big Bear can get snow as late as May but this more often than not April is when you can last expect to see snow falling in Big Bear.

Yosemite National Park

Such a popular area for climbers and free soloists. Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in the United States.

During climbing season from spring to late summer the place is over run by day with mini camper fans and skoolies who all vacate the park by night. Yosemite was the site of the now infamous Free Solo climb of El Capitan.

Yosemite National Park winter snowing
Yosemite National Park snow

Yosemite is one of the best places in California for snow during the winter months. Where does the snow fall in California?

Well this is one of my top destinations during the Californian winter where you can meet like-minded people interested in the winter outdoors and gathering in the chilly shade of the imposing mountains.

Yosemite is simply stunning all year round by a certain magic exists here where the snow falls in California.

Sequoia National Park

Where does it snow in California?

Sequoia National Park is one of the best places in the CA state for seeing snow! Sequoia National Park should be on your list of the best places to visit in California.

Sequoia is renowned for it’s enormous trees and expanses of forest. You can only imagine what a winter wonderland this can be when the tall trees and ground are covered with snow.

Sequoia National Park sign
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia is a perfect skiing destination and you won’t be disappointed by the snow levels here making it one of the best ski trails in California if not the entire US.

The best time for snow in California, in particular Sequoia is from December to February,

The normal Winter season operates from December through May and so it’s perfect if you can’t manage to get away around Thanksgiving or the Holiday Season in December.

Key Takeaway – No matter what time of year you visit Sequoia National Park, it’s a great place. With a dusting of snow over the forest and land here it surely is one of the best places to see snow in California.

Mammoth Lakes (Eastern Sierras)

Where does it snow in the Eastern Sierras area of California? Mammoth Lakes is a great place to be in winter.

This is an immensely popular winter holiday spot for Californians and those on winter break.

It has a great Ski culture, all centered around the Mammoth Mountain Resort.

Mammoth Lakes winter ice snow
Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth lake caters for a lot of abilities and age groups.

If you don’t fancy skiing downhill or cross-country around Tamarack, it has a magical Ice Rick, called Mammoth Ice Rink.

There you can have some great fun and then enjoy the winter wonderland which comes to life at nighttime when the lights are on and reflecting off the snowy buildings and everyone is strolling about drinking and eating with merriment.

Mammoth lakes ranks as one of our favorite areas to visit with family and a one of the best places where you can see bucket loads of snow in California.

Convict Lake (Mono County)

Convict Lake in Mono County is where can you find snow and have some peace and quiet at the same time.

Convict Lake California snow
Convict Lake

It’s a gorgeous natural area to retreat to for a quiet getaway on snowy days in California.

Convict Lake is en route to resort areas such as Mammoth Lake so you should take the time to stop off and have a relaxing lake side walk on Convict Lake. Make sure to bring your snow shoes.

Mount Whitney

Still asking where does it snow in California? Where else?

Mount Whitney is an area of great snowfall in CA. It’s a mountain often scaled during the warmer months but it’s a beast during those snowy winter months.

Mount Whitney winter snowing
Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney doesn’t rank as the area with the most snowfall in California but it gets it’s share from December to February.

Climbing Mount Whitney is still possible during the winter months with various routes to the summit for varying capabilities.

The better route does lie along the trickier route but the easier ones are no less beautiful.

The summit won’t be covered in snow unless it’s Snowmageddon but it’s worth the hike to look out upon the whitened terrain below.

We Recommend – Be sure to add Mount Whitney as a destination for a good hike in snow and frost whitened Californa.

Mt. Laguna (San Diego County)

If you’re living in San Diego, Mt. Laguna represents the closest place to the city where you can see snow. Yay! It’s only an hour’s drive from San Diego.

Mt Laguna winter snow
Mt Laguna

Mount Laguna, San Diego gets around 13 inches of snow per year.

You won’t be skiing up here but as a day out with the kids you can head up to Laguna and engage in whatever snow frolics take your fancy.

Snow in California? You got it here and just a stone’s throw from downtown San Diego.

Los Padres National Forest & Mount Pinos/Frazier Mountain

Within Ventura County, CA, Los Padres National Park is home to peaks such as Mount Pinos and Frazier Mountain.

These peaks among others experience a huge amount of snowfall during winter. Mount Pinos alone has been know to get up to 7 feet of snow some winters.

Los Padres National forest California
Los Padres National forest

If you’re wondering where does it snow in California look no further than Los Padres National Park.

A short distance from Santa Barbara, it’s an amenity of epic natural beauty and a great place to head to on a day trip if you’re looking for snowy places in California without having to venture off on snowy roads to the main resorts such as Mammoth Lakes.

Los Padres and the snow that falls there will present you with some fantastic views and stunning forest hiking trails only a hop skip from your door.

Mount San Jacinto, Palm Springs – The Big Surprise

Snow in Palm Springs? I gotta be kiddin’ you right? Well, I kid you not.

When thinking of Palm Springs, you think of a desert like oasis in SoCal so it beggars belief that there should be snow here and in the region.

Mount San Jacinto
Mount San Jacinto

As it turns out, Palm Springs is right near Mount San Jacinto and the town is home to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which can bring you up and close to the summit.

With an summit elevation of 10,000 feet above sea level, Mount San Jacinto gets a hell of a lot of snow days up here.

The tramway represents an ideal way to bring your snow gear and get up there with sleds and warm jackets and have a day of fun before chilling out in Palm Springs by night.

Final Words – Does it Snow in California

At this stage, if you read this far, you surely see that there are loads of places to see snow in California.

Those of us from other places of the world may not be familiar with the area of California and only think of the sun when we think of The Golden State.

Truly there are so many areas in the state where droves of people go every winter for a skiing holiday. Wondering does it snow in California? Wonder no more. Enjoy your winter snow.

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