Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Play In LA

Wanna Build A Snowman In The Mountains? Here's How To Avoid Pricey Parking Tickets

Snowy mountain slopes with a blue sky in the background. Pine trees dot the mountains, the tops dusted with snow.
Fresh-fallen snow blankets the desert foothills and forested mountains on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood.
(David McNew
Getty Images)
We need to hear from you.
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

With fresh snow in the mountains, it can be tempting to pile into the car and go build a snowman. But be careful where you do it, because you can't just pull over anywhere and lie down to make a roadside snow angel.

That's because most of our local mountain highways are posting "no parking" during the winter to make room for snow plows.

It can be dangerous when drivers double park and let kids walk between cars or have snowball fights near the road.

"If there's a hillside nearby, they will take their plastic snowboards and come down the hill and actually go right out into the pavement," said Brendon Biggs, director of San Bernardino County Public Works.

Support for LAist comes from

The fine for illegal parking on snow plow routes used to be just $17, but it has snowballed in recent years (yes, we went there). It's now $150.

Instead, Biggs says you should go to National Forest parking lots and other posted snow play areas well off the highways — and save your money for some piping hot cocoa.

Here's where to find more detailed recreation area maps:

Forest officials advise you call ahead to check on conditions for winter sports. These offices are open Mon. to Fri. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Be Prepared

To be safe, Biggs advise:

  • Bring snow chains
  • Have extra blankets, clothing, food and water in your vehicle in case you get stuck on a mountain road due to a rock slide, traffic crash or fallen tree.
Authorities say firefighters had to rescue 136 people who got stranded in about a foot of snow during a December 2014 storm in the San Bernardino Mountains. More people were stranded near Mount Baldy.
(Courtesy of )

It's happened before, in 2019, when dozens of cars were trapped on mountain roads outside of Big Bear, and in 2005 when a storm created a logjam of some 200 vehicles on Highway 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Most Read