In the winter, we took our kids up to the San Gabriel Mountains nearly every year. They could frolic in the snow, not quite in our back yard but pretty darn close (by LA standards, anyway). They learned the thrilling dangers of sledding on toboggans, saucers, sleds, and plain cardboard (yes, cardboard worked just fine). It seemed like every winter the San Gabriel Mountains became a wonderful snowy playground for everybody. We weren’t the only ones. Families would find a good spot, pull the car over by the roadside, pile out, and go enjoy. When we reached the snow, we would watch for a bunch of families sledding by the side of the road. Our kids loved to join in, the more the merrier.
Of course, our kids are all grown up now; and it’s been quite a while since any of us have been up in the mountains in the wintertime. The other day, when my wife and I heard how the snow kept getting deeper and deeper, we got excited. We decided it was time for us to take a long overdue trip. For those of you not familiar LA’s weather, we’ve been suffering in a serious five-year drought; the San Gabriel Mountains got a little rain but very little snow (well, no significant amounts). We had to go see it for ourselves.
Since it was a mid-winter and a nice sunny day we thought it would be an ideal time to enjoy a bit of the cold stuff, sort of like the good-old-days. Yep. Newcomb’s Ranch, a landmark roadhouse (see the map below) proudly sat be the highway covered in snow. The friendly waitress told us that after five years of drought, it really was like the good-old-days. Everybody coming up to the mountains welcomed the snow.
Historically Los Angeles always looked to The San Gabriel Mountains as a major recreational area. Actually, the mountains have been part of the Angeles National Forest since the creation of the park in 1908, and recently (2014) it was designated the San Gabriel National Monument (a status that insured funding and appropriate recreational use). The mountain range covers a huge area. They traverse from the Newhall Pass (Interstate 5) on the western end, over to the Cajon Pass (Interstate 15) on the eastern end, about sixty-eight miles. The range separates the Mojave Desert on the north side from the San Gabriel Valley and adjacent city of Los Angeles on the south. The various mountain peaks range in elevation from about 5,700 feet at Mt. Wilson on the west to around 10,000 feet at Mt San Antonio (aka Mt Baldy) in the east.
We were glad the drought had finally broken. Our most favorite snowy destination has always been the San Gabriel Mountains and it will be once again now that the weather is returning to normal (anyway, we hope so). Heck, we got out our old toboggan that was buried under a heap of stuff in the garage. But, we had to stop and give ourselves a reality check. When old cartilage and old bones get twisted and torn, they don’t heal as well as they used to- and we know it. But, the grandkids are almost old enough to enjoy the snow. Yes!
By the way, if you plan to take the family for some snow fun be sure to first visit the Department of Public Works website. They list where roads closed: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures. Also, you might consider getting snow chains. It’s a sure bet, they’ll be required if you plan to navigate roads covered in ice and snow.
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Here are posts of other Uniquely Los Angeles destinations you will enjoy reading. If you’re looking for a pleasant outing plan a visit and enjoy yourself.
-Friends, Romans, and …Angelenos
-Bradbury Building-A Lasting Gem in Los Angeles
-The Last Book Store
-The Magic Castle
-Grauman’s Chinese Theater
-Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits
-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
-Rose Bowl Stadium