If snow is in the forecast, a Big Falls Trailhead snow day near Forest Falls, California, is a great option. We loved our visit, and it’s easy to get there from the 38 highway. You follow the Valley of the Falls road to the trailhead parking lot, where you’ll need to display an adventure pass.
See The Full Detailed Video Below
Big Falls Trailhead Snow Play Visiting Information
- GPS Coordinates:
- 34.08220, -116.89350
- Hwy 38 to Valley of the Fall Roads and continue all the way up to the Trailhead’s parking lot.
- Be sure to download the map to use offline before heading out since there isn’t any cell phone reception in the area.
- Adventure Pass is required on national forest lands: $5/day or $30/year. We purchased ours at Big 5.
- There was no one there to check the pass, but we didn’t want to risk our car being towed while sledding.
- Park in the dirt lot.
- Make snowballs and snow angels.
- Build a snowman.
- Short hike to the Big Falls Waterfall Trail (¼ mile walk)
- Time spent:
- 2 ½ hours
- Food/Places to eat:
- We packed our own food, but there is a restaurant called El Mexicano that is about a mile away.
- Plenty of tables in the picnic area.
- Stroller friendly:
- Yes, a vaulted toilet. Bring your own TP.
- We brought our portable toilet and @Suds2go hand wash.
- What we observed:
- Check here for live cam footage of current weather conditions: https://mtncare.com/web-cams/forest-falls-web-cam-at-downtown
- We prefer to check on Instagram to find recent photos/videos using Big Falls or Forest Falls hashtags and/or location tags for weather conditions. If we see any snow post, we comment or message a few people to ask if their visit was recent and more details of their location and snow condition of their post.
- We went three days after it snowed, and it was a quick and easy drive without snow chains.
- We prefer to visit snow play areas at least a day or two after it has snowed. That way the roads have been cleared and we can still enjoy some powdered snow.
- Do the family-friendly hike at Big Falls Trail (0.7 miles out and back)
- Most people left the area around 3 pm.
- No cell phone reception in the area.
- Always have a set of snow chains in your car.
- We don’t recommend parking on the side of the road with kids. Best to park in a designated parking lot area or a legal pull off.
- Make sure to pack extra food, water, blankets, cash and fill up your gas tank just in case you run into traffic or road closure.
- We recommending finding a wide and open area to sled. Make sure it doesn’t end near a drop, creek or road and always stay away from rocks, trees, and poles.
- Check the weather before you go. The weather can be changeable; layered clothing would be best.
- What we packed:
- Snow chains for the car, sunscreen, sunglasses, sled, snowball maker tool, external phone charger, Adventure pass, snow gear (beanie, jacket, pants, gloves, shoes), bag to put the wet clothes, extra clothes to change afterwards, carrot to make snowman, meal, fruits, veggies, and water.
- Ways to save money:
- Pack your own food. Borrow snow gear and sled from friends or family.
- Other places to visit in the area:
- Greenspot Farms
- Pls pack in, pack out and leave no trace.
- Follow us on Instagram @thecaliforeigners, Youtube @Califoreigners, TikTok @Califoreigners
What We Said In Our Big Falls Trailhead Snow Play Video
Not only is Big Falls Trailhead the easiest waterfall hike you can do with younger kids, but it’s also a great spot for snow that doesn’t require you to drive all the way up into the mountains to get to it.
*adventure pass required* Remember you always need an adventure pass to park in our local, national forests. We got our annual pass from Big 5, but you can get them from a long list of places, even online.
We got there at 2:30 pm, and the parking was full. Thankfully we were lucky enough to snag a spot on our first pass-through in the dirt lot.
By 4 pm, most visitors had cleared out, and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
Our sledding spot was less than 100 yards from our car, so you don’t need to venture far.
Similar Options That Might Interest You
Here are some similar options you might enjoy.
Mt. Baldy Snow Day Montage (YouTube)
San Antonio Falls Near Mt. Baldy (YouTube)
See you again with more around California with kids.
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