With the second onslaught of El Niño soaring in our horizon, people will start to remember that it is indeed winter and snow is falling close to home. That is where Mount Baldy comes in. About an hour from DTLA (depending on that pesky traffic), it contains the highest peak in all of Los Angeles and San Gabriel counties with Mount San Antonio (aka Mount Baldy) soaring to 10,064 feet high.
To reach the top of the mountain, you have two options. You can take the Sugar Pine Chair Lift (tickets start at $21), which will ferry you from the parking lot to the Top of the Notch Restaurant. Or, if you are looking for a challenge, you can hike up 4,000 feet to the top via the Ski Hut Trail.
Remember that there can be a 10- to 15-degree difference between the bottom of the chair lift and the top, so dress accordingly prior to arriving. Once you arrive at the top, you have a few options for spending your day. You can grab some food at the Top of the Notch Restaurant, hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard if the weather permits (lift tickets start at $19) or hike the infamous Devil’s Backbone, which takes you to the summit of Mount San Antonio. The view from the top of Mount Baldy is worth the cost of the lift ticket ride alone—it's also a great option as a wedding venue for the warmer months.
Depending on the snow base, and the amount of man made snow, all four lifts may be open, providing runs for all skill levels. However, sometimes only snow tubing is available when the weather is mild—but given that tubing packages start at $29, still worth the trip.
Overall, if your itching for a classic winter experience without leaving California, you have a pretty great option less than an hour away—tell that to anyone who says that LA doesn't have real winters.