The 12 best places to snowmobile in California are as follows:
- Bear Valley
- California Eastern Sierra
- China Wall Staging Area
- Jonesville Snowmobile Area
- Lake Tahoe
- Lassen National Forest Trails/Ashpan Snowmobile Area
- Mammoth Lakes
- Mount Shasta Snowmobiling
- Sherman Pass/Kern Plateau Area Snowmobiling
- Yuba Pass Winter Trail System
People don’t generally see California as a place to go skiing or snowmobiling, but there is so much to this state than beaches, famous marinas, and coastal mountains, and sunshine. For example, here you find the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which means Snowy Mountains. It’s just one of the many places to check out and offers 30+ snowmobile trails to travel along.
California’s population runs around 25 million, but it has the lowest per capita snowmobile registration rate – just 11,000 registered vehicles. As a visitor to the state, you’d have plenty of wide-open space to check out that includes both easy and difficult terrain that will take every bit of your breath away without so much as a worry about running into other snowmobilers.
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular snowmobile trails in California!
12 Best Places to Snowmobile in California
1. Bear Valley
Bear Valley is located between Yosemite and Tahoe and is full of natural, historical spots. Not far from here is Highway 4, which offers incredible sights of the giant sequoia redwoods. Go a little further to the Gold Rush Country and check out gourmet restaurants, limestone caverns and museums.
In Calaveras County, the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway offers some of the best trails California has, and there’s no need for a tour guide along this system.
2. California Eastern Sierra
World-amazing skiing isn’t the only thing to enjoy in the Eastern Sierra area; it’s also got plenty of outdoor recreational events that make it a top spot for snowmobilers. One of the best places is the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area, which includes 7,000-acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. There is plenty of room to enjoy the sights and challenge yourself.
3. China Wall Staging Area
China Wall’s snowmobiling Trail is located to the northeast of Foresthill and the China Wall OHV Staging area. It is the area many snowmobilers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers tend to start at. There are no specified sledding hills, as it’s just a flat route that stretches for 15 miles from the China Wall to Robinson Flat.
4. Jonesville Snowmobile Area
When snow season starts, this area of Butte County is transformed into a winter wonderland. Jonesville is one of the best local spots for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing. There are 60 miles of dedicated snowmobiling trails separated into three loops. The small historic town is located near Butte Meadows within the Lassen National Forest, close to Butte Creek. Most of the winter excursions begin in the Jonesville Staging Area along Humboldt Road.
5. Lake Tahoe
There are plenty of snowmobile services in this region – rental shops, resort-style lodging and guides that make it a great getaway place during the winter. While most people think of Lake Tahoe as a beachy place, think and go beyond into the regal meadows and view the once-in-a-lifetime views of the Sierra’s waters.
There is a huge network of cared-for trails that lead into very remote parts of the country, making it the best of the best in snowmobile vacations. It’s important to note that your snowmobile will be affected by this region’s altitudes, which can reach up to 10,000 feet. Therefore, you’ll need to make some adjustments as you ride.
6. Lassen National Forest Trails/Ashpan Snowmobile Area
Into the southern half of Lassen National Forest is a huge swath of treated snowmobile trails that include 500 miles of snow landscape. If you head south along Highway 44, you’ll come to Ashpan Snowmobile Park.
Here, the elevation reaches 1,660 meters, with the snowmobiling area located in Lassen National Park’s northwestern area. There are nearly 40 miles of trails along with 25 miles of unlisted trails as well. There is always a warming hut for those individuals who need a break from the cold.
7. Mammoth Lakes
Along Highway 395 sits Mammoth, considered one of California’s best ski resorts and offers some of the West’s best snowmobiling trails. There are hundreds of groomed trails, including the active volcanic mountains where visitors can see bubbling hot springs.
There are roughly 30 feet of snow each year among its differing terrain and incredible views. You can take advantage of the guided snowmobile tours and trek it alone. Either way, you can enjoy all the Mammoth Lakes areas have to offer.
There are plenty of places to rent a snowmobile from, as well as to dine and sleep. Mammoth Lakes is California’s best snowmobile vacation spot in the winter.
8. Mount Shasta Snowmobiling
In northern California is Mount Shasta, which is a place many weekend warriors seek out to enjoy the great outdoors. They stake claims at the huge snow-capped stratovolcano and spend time in the national forest to enjoy the pure waters. There are 260 miles of cared-for snowmobile trails that range in elevations of up to 8,000 feet.
Mount Shasta is surrounded by the Shasta-Trinity, Klamath and Modoc National Forests.
9. Sherman Pass/Kern Plateau Area Snowmobiling
Sherman Pass and Kern Plateau Area is located to the northeast of Bakersfield and has roughly 120 miles of cared-for snowmobile trails. Sherman Pass starts seven miles from the Sherman Pass Road. There are all kinds of scenic oases to enjoy, with the main trail connecting to many others. It’s an ideal trail for novice snowmobilers.
On the pass’ western side is a huge snowpark. There is also a grooming program, ensuring that the area stays groomed, including its canyons, meadows and more.
While California offers a plethora of outside-the-doorstop skiing, a most overlooked area is the Truckee-Tahoe area. It has a huge network of snowmobile trails that you can explore. There are over 200 miles of cared-for terrain within 650 miles of territory. With so much available in this area, you’ll always find something to do.
Many people know of Yosemite National Park but don’t realize the winter wonderland it tends to offer to visitors. Located 50 miles east of Fresno, there is a multitude of resorts to stay in. While trails are not widely groomed, it still provides visitors with epic scenery of a snow world.
Although winter is synonymous with hot chocolate and a roaring fire, there is more to this season in this area than you could expect. The area receives over 300 days of sun a year with a deep snowpack – something High Sierra snowmobilers can take advantage of.
12. Yuba Pass Winter Trail System
The Yuba Pass Winter Trail is located to the northwest of Truckee and the west of Sierraville. It has more than 150 miles of taken-care-of snowmobile trails that the California/Nevada Snowmobile Association.
The trail has a breathtaking view of the Sierra Valley adjacent to the Sierra Valley Overlook at the Sierra Summit’s conifer forest. There is plenty of parking for visitors to check out the area by foot or recreation vehicle. The Yuba Pass is enjoyable any time of the year, even though it’s well-known for its Yuba Pass Snow Park.
California may not be known for its winter wonderland status, but it does provide snowmobilers trails that are well-cared-for with average 40-degree temps for at least six months. If you live out of state, the best time to come to California for snowmobiling is from February to May. So let’s go and visit one of the best places to ride a snowmobile in California!