Looking for a quick place to get out of the scalding SoCal summer heat? Then head up to Snow Summit at Big Bear Mountain Resort or Mt. Baldy Ski Resort. Both resorts offer plenty of ways to cool off outdoors in the more temperate mountain air rather than sitting indoors next to the air conditioner.
Mountain temperatures at the two resorts average 47-80 degrees in mid-summer. Breezes often temper any heat, and an occasional thunderstorm can cool the air off more.
Snow Summit runs a high-speed quad for scenic chair rides. The 15-minute ride on the Scenic Sky Chair climbs to 8,200 feet for views of Big Bear Lake and the surrounding pine-covered mountains. Hikers can walk down the mountain or tour the ridgeline.
The resort also caters to cross-country biking. Big Bear Lake has two bicycle shops that rent mountain bikes. Riders can depart on trails from town or the top of the Scenic Sky Chair. Cross-country bikes can be hauled up the chair, but downhill bikes are not permitted.
The golf course and driving range at Big Bear Mountain Resorts offers milder temperatures than the lowlands due to the 7,000-foot elevation. The course, which usually opens by late May, includes a restaurant, pro shop, and rentals.
Snow Summit usually operates weekends in early summer and fall for sightseeing, hiking, and biking. Daily operation runs late June through Labor Day.
Mt. Baldy Ski Resort in the San Gabriel Mountains is open year round. Once the ski season ends, Chair 1 continues to operate on weekends and holidays for sightseers, diners, hikers, and mountain bikers.
The double chairlift ascends to 7,800 feet at The Notch. From here, visitors have the option of dining at the Top of the Notch Restaurant or heading out on adventures. Hikers can climb the Devils Backbone Trail for a tiptoe across the narrow ridge to reach the top of Mt. Baldy. The 3.1-mile hike requires stamina to ascend 2,300 feet, but you may have the chance to see bighorn sheep.
Mountain bikers, after riding up the lift, have several routes departing from The Notch. Choices include hillclimb, downhill, and cross-country courses targeting different ability levels. Rental bikes are not available; bikers need to bring their own gear.
More information: Snow Summit