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Snow tubing near Los Angeles

So much fun so close.
So much fun so close.
North Pole

If you tried to go up to the snow last weekend with your kids, you know that it wasn’t the best and brightest idea you’ve ever had. This is, after all, Southern California and last week was Storm Watch 2010! Los Angeles County was in a state of hysteria because it wouldn’t stop raining…and then it did. If you were anywhere near the 101, 134 or 210 freeways (even the 5, the 110 and 10, at certain locations) on Saturday morning, you thought for just a moment you were in Switzerland. The mountains were more than snow-capped. They were snow-decked, snow-loved, snow-fabulous. Thousands got in their cars and headed to the hills and were promptly told to go home, because again, this is the Southland and it was just too much.

Good news. Although today the rains came again, it looks as if the mountain folk have gotten their act together and cleared the roads, just in time for everyone to play hooky and enjoy a winter wonderland. Or don’t play hooky, and head up this weekend with the crowds. Just be warned, there will be crowds.

While it’s not tough to simply pack the kids, drive up to the snow and park alongside the road for some playtime, it’s much better to have a specific destination. Skiing is going to be great for a time, but it’s much more complicated with children and far pricier than just tubing down a hill. Here are four options:

The North Pole Tubing Park at Mountain High, Wrightwood. Should take about 90 minutes to get there, without much traffic, from most locations in LA. They have a lot of rules at the North Pole, so you won’t get in as many runs as you might like, but it’s very organized. Like all of these tubing parks, they supply the tube and don’t allow outside sleds and saucers. North Pole also has moving carpets that get you back up the hill, so don’t plan on getting much exercise during your visit. Nice outside pit fire and grill for when you get hungry.

Snowdrift, right before you get to Snow Valley on Highway 18, is much more relaxed that Wrightwood. Steps allow you to climb up and slide down at your own pace, on various runs. Their website looks to be a little sick at the moment, but it will at least give you directions. Should take less than two hours to get there.

The Mt. Baldy Monster Tubing Park is by far the closest. I can easily get to the Mountain Ave. exit off of the 210 in an hour and then it’s up the mountain from there. You can see Baldy in front of you as you drive. The prices here are comparable with the other tubing parks. The only catch is that you have to take a chair lift from the parking lot up the mountain to get to the ski and tubing area. It’s a lot of fun, but little kids might be scared.

I’ve never been to Big Bear Snow Play because I don’t want to drive that far. It’s a two and a half hour trip. But if you want to make a weekend of it, you can ski at Big Bear and go tubing at Snow Play.

Don’t miss some fun in the snow. It’ll be gone before you know it.

Wondering where I’ve been? Visit me at and you’ll see.


  • Beth Gunn 5 years ago

    It's further away, but Sequoia National Park is an awesome place for a weekend trip -- snowshoe hikes, crazy sledding, and lots of gorgeous giant sequoia trees. I highly recommend. Love your columns, JoAnn.

  • Snow Mom 5 years ago

    You should note that the Mt. Baldy Tubing Park has 2 separate charges -- 1 for tubing and 1 for the required chair lift ride to get from the parking lot to the tubing park.

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