It’s Snowing in San Diego

If you’re new to San Diego, you probably don’t realize that it actually snows right here in our county. Yup, within 30 minutes to an hour’s drive from San Diego’s East and North counties you can frolic in the white stuff with your littles. 

Sledding Fun at Mt. Laguna, 30 minutes east of La Mesa

There are a few things you should know before you go to Julian, Cuyamaca Peak, Mount Laguna or Palomar Mountain. Follow these Mom’s Guide tips, and you’ll be sure to enjoy an awesome winter day trip …

  • You will almost certainly need snow chains on your car. For information about road closures and chain requirements, visit  San Diego County Department of Public Works’ Facebook page.

  • If you’re headed to Mt. Laguna in the Cleveland National Forest, you will need a Recreation Pass. Cars without a pass displayed are subject to fines. You can purchase a day pass from the ranger station during normal hours and in advance from a variety of retailers. For a list of locations that sell the pass, click here. You can also call the Cleveland National Forest Administrative Office  858.673.6180.

  • Be sure to pack changes of clothes, a trash bag to take back wet clothes and another trash bag to take away any garbage you may have. Garbage cans can be hard to find — along with restrooms!

  • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas. You may not see a gas station for many miles and traffic can be bad.

  • Don’t forget your sled (or boogie board), snowman-building supplies, warm clothes, gloves and snow boots.

Photo from Palomar Mountain Snow Play’s Facebook Page (2013)


Sixty miles northeast of San Diego, the historic mountain town of Julian rests between the Cuyamaca Mountains and the southern slope of Volcan Mountain. From central San Diego, it is about a 60-90 minute drive to explore the quaint area.

This rural town was founded by Civil war veterans and cousins Drue Bailey and Mike Julian who traveled west to start a new life. Julian was San Diego’s only gold rush area, and the place was named for Mike Julian who was the San Diego County Assessor during that time.

The mountain is 4,235 feet high and receives quite a few feet of snow during the winter, generally covering the mountain. Besides sledding and playing in the snow, the small village has plenty of antique shops, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, mine tours, apple picking in the fall, and, of course, apple pie eating to enjoy.


Cuyamaca Peak

Roughly 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Cuyamaca Peak resides within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park east of San Diego and southwest of Julian. This is on of the highest peaks in San Diego at 6,512 feet. On clear days, the view is absolutely breathtaking with visibility of both the Coronado Islands and El Cajon Mountain. It is not uncommon to have thigh high deep snowfall during the winter ideal for snow shoeing and sledding


Mount Laguna

Located on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest, this rural community sits at almost 6,000 feet. Mount Laguna is known for its campgrounds adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail. The small town also offers a quaint general store, rustic lodges, and local restaurants. In the winter months, there are plenty of recreational activities from sledding to cross country skiing to hiking and just playing in the snow.


Palomar Mountain

In northern San Diego County, Palomar Mountain sits in the Peninsular Ranges. It is famous for the Palomar Observatory, Hale Telescope, and Palomar Mountain State Park. Until 1992, the Hale Telescope was the world’s largest and most important. Now, two more telescopes reside within the Observatory.


At this California State Park, there are campgrounds for vacationers and other campgrounds specially designated for local schools to use on field trips. A densely wooded area, the forest boasts many hiking trails and unique tree species. Dwarfed by the San Bernardino Mountains, this range is 6,140 feet which is almost as tall as Cuyamaca Peak.

Enjoy this awesome video from Mother’s Kitchen in Palomar Mountain!

Snow, peacefully, beautiful.

Posted by Mother's Kitchen Restaurant on Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One thought on “It’s Snowing in San Diego

  1. Stacey says:

    Speaking of Julian, do you happen to know if they still have tours of the mine up there for our kids who are going to be learning about the Gold Rush?

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