SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Now that a snowy storm is reaching San Diego County, many will head up to the mountains and East County to enjoy a taste of winter.
That means trips up to Palomar Mountain, Mt. Laguna, Alpine, and Julian to frolic in the fresh, fluffy snow. But, that also means being prepared.
Tire chains, four-wheel drive, extra supplies, and appropriate clothing are all a must. So is knowing exactly where you're allowed to stop off on land that's open to the public.
And where ever you go, check road conditions ahead of time for possible closures or to see whether you'll need chains for tires. The county's Department of Public Works posts road updates online on Facebook and Twitter.
It's also recommended not to simply stop off the road to enjoy snow or hop fences into possibly private property. Here's what you need to know about enjoying snow in our county's upper elevations when the time comes.
What you'll need:
- Chains for tires
- Water and snacks — enough for general hunger and in case you get stuck
- Heavy jacket, sweater, gloves, hat or beanie, snow/hiking boots, heavy socks, thermal clothing, extra clothing if desired
- Blankets for car ride or stopping off outside
- Toys for the snow, like sleds
- Chapstick or sunscreen — it's still San Diego
Where to go:
Julian: When Julian gets snow, locals and tourists flock to the quiet mountain town — and largely residential, so be respectful. While crowds are expected, there are still spots to get in your snow fun. Head over to the town's community parks, such as William Heise Park, Jess Martin Park, or Julian Memorial Park.
Mt. Laguna: For quick access to snow on Mt. Laguna, stop off at the Mt. Laguna Lodge. Numerous trails, including Big Laguna Trail and Sunset Trail, make the mountain perfect for checking out the snow off the roadside.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park: Enjoy the snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park at campsites like Paso Picacho or Green Valley, and they also include bathrooms, which families will likely find important. Or head to trailheads leading up to Stonewall Peak and Cuyamaca Peak or Lake Cuyamaca for a scenic view.
Palomar Mountain State Park: Hiking trails and family campsites at Palomar are a great option for enjoying snowfall. When snow hits, it transforms the large pine, fir, and cedar trees into a winter wonderland. Visit Doane Valley Campground or Cedar Grove Group Campground as a stop off to visit the snow and the park's hiking trails also make great options.
Local towns: If you choose to stop in towns such as Alpine, Pine Valley, or Santa Ysabel when snow falls, be considerate of local parking and property. Many residents may have fenced off property, so it's never recommended that visitors cross into private property or stop on the side of the road.