If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, grab your scarves and mittens and head out to the San Jacinto Mountains for a Winter Wonderland. Although winter storms will occasionally bring snow to areas below 5000 feet in Riverside County, this Southern California mountain range is almost certain to have snow during December and January. The San Jacinto Mountains span the Whitewater River Watershed and the Santa Ana River Watershed with popular destinations in both watersheds to enjoy a day in the snow.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will take visitors 8,516 feet up Mt. San Jacinto to Mountain Station. From the Station, weather permitting, visitors can embark on miles of hiking trails in Mt San Jacinto State Park. When there is plenty of snow, the Winter Adventure Center is open and snowshoes or cross country ski equipment can be rented. Bring a sled and the kids, and enjoy a wonderful snow day without the long drive and crowded lines of major ski areas. Finish up your adventure with hot chocolate at Pines Café, with its amazing views of the valley below.
Pack for a day of fun but be sure to pack out everything as well. It’s important to remember that snow is the same as rainwater, and trash and debris left behind will end up in the watersheds.