Skiers and boarders head to Mount Pinos for a backcountry experience like no other from December to April depending on conditions. Beginner routes like Iris Point and South Ridge are sure to please. Head to Condor Summit Road for a longer, more intermediate route. Experienced skiers and boarders will enjoy the Meadow and Overlook routes.
What Makes It Great
Snowshoeing and sledding are also popular on Mount Pinos. The Southern California Ski Patrol patrols Mount Pinos, performing search and rescue. If the Nordic base is open, you can purchase the needed daily Adventure Pass there. Otherwise, you can purchase a pass at Mount Pinos Winter Sports- the closest place to rent skis and other relevant gear. Avalanche gear is recommended for the Mount Pinos area, including shovels and beacons. Windy conditions are common on the mountain causing frequent changes in snow pack. Be mindful and have fun!
Who is Going to Love It
Backcountry winter enthusiasts will enjoy getting turns in from high on Mount Pinos -- the terrain can be friendly or intense, depending on what you want to ski. There are good cross country ski options, some more rugged than others. The snowshoeing is also suitable for all levels, though beware of avalanche conditions.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Summitpost.org:From either L.A. or Bakersfield, leave I-5, take the Frazier Park/Mt. Pinos exit. (If coming from L.A., you will go over Tejon Pass) Go west on the Frazier Park Road for about seven miles to a junction with the Lockhart Valley Road (on the left) which is at Lake of the Woods.
At the junction, one road goes left one mile (Lockwood Valley Rd) to a ranger station which is a good place to go if you need an adventure pass or information. If not, take the right fork which is the Mt. Pinos Road (used to be called the Cuddy Valley Road) and go five miles to the Mill Portero road which should be signed for Mt. Pinos.
Turn left up this road and follow it as it twists and turns its way up the mountain to a large parking area (9 miles) which serves the Mt. Pinos Nordic area (when there is sufficient snow)