On The Trail

2019 Winter FAQ

We have received a number of questions of general interest and will attempt to answer them here.

Hello. I would like to cross country ski tomorrow, Thursday, at Mount Pinos if no chains are required. I’m coming from the Los Angeles area. Can you please help me to better understand the kerns road status page regarding chain requirements for this and future trips?

Kern Roads is in charge of plowing and deciding if the snow gate is closed. You can track the Kern road status on their website. Sometimes they will refer to “Mt. Pinos Highway”, sometimes “Cuddy Valley Rd” and sometimes will refer to “the Y” (which is the last intersection before the snow gate).

Highway Patrol decides, on a day to day basis, if chain control is needed. There is a CalTrans page that can show chain control but I don’t think it ever shows the MtPinos chain control status. The best bet is to have chains or other traction control (cables, etc.) in your vehicle and be prepared to install them.

Thanks. Can you advise as to how I understand the Kern road status on their website for Mt. Pinos? It is not very clear.

First, the road name changes from “Cuddy Valley” to “Mt. Pinos Road” or “Mt Pinos Highway” at the lower snow gate which is located just a little ways up from “the Y”. So you are looking for references to one of those names. Confusingly, there is a “Mt Pinos Way” in the town of Frazier Park that you should ignore.

Entries on the page are in salmon (pink) for closed roads and green for open roads. When a road is closed it is added to the page, when a closed road is reopened the entry is changed to green and a time and date is put into the “date opened” column. Sometimes when the road is open but there are restrictions they will add something to the “comments” column.

At the time of this writing, you can find an entry on the Kern Roads page for “CUDDY VALLEY RD”. The entry is green (road is currently open). Based on the date closed and date open columns, it was closed two days ago from 9AM to 2:45 PM. Under the comments is the notation “CHAINS REQUIRED” which is self explanatory.

Where can one rent cross country skis for Mt Pinos anymore?

We are not aware of a location where cross country skis can be rented.

Is night snowshoeing allowed?

Mt. Pinos is an undeveloped recreation area. You are free to visit overnight, but we strongly recommend that you take appropriate precautions. If you are not aware of what precautions are suitable for visiting a snow covered wilderness at night then we suggest you don't.

Hi, I understand that Thursday will be sunny with no snowing. If so will the road to ski trails be open? Will road be plowed? Will chains or 4 wheel drive be required? Also what time does the xc ski area open? Thank you!

We do not know what the status of the road will be ahead of time. Your best bet is to monitor the Kern Roads status page. Please be aware that there have been a number of times this season where the status posted on that page was inaccurate. Unfortunately we have no control over that.

Chain control decisions are made each day by law enforcment after evaluating the conditions. We are unable to say in advance when chains will be required. You should have chains in your vehicle anytime you are in snow country in the winter.

The ski trails are on undeveloped US Forest Service land and are available to the public at all times.

Are there outhouses at the parking lot at Nordic Base?

There are currently portable toilets in the parking lot at Nordic Base, at the “Y” at the base of the mountian, at the McGill Campground, and at the Pinos Campground parking area.

Are there trash bins at the parking lot at Nordic Base?

Yes, there are currently trash bins in the parking lot. Please pack all trash out.

If ski patrol is not there what do we do if someone gets hurt or lost?

Find a place where your cellphone has coverage and call 911.

I am planning to head up there tomorrow with my family. I just wanted to make sure the roads were open. Is anything affected by the shut down? How much snow is on the ground?

During the week, our knowledge of the road is limited to what is posted on the Kern Roads status page. You should have chains in your car anytime you are traveling in snow country during winter.

Please be safe. Call 911 for emergencies and please pack out all trash.

Is there a webcam at the parking lot where the trails begin?

No. There has been a suggestion to get one installed but budget is an issue. Issues are as follows:

• Insufficient power at present, so upgraded solar system would be needed.
• No current Internet connection, so something would have to be set up.
• And no current funds to pay monthly charges for above Internet.

Maybe someday we will be able to do this but it is not likely in the near future.

Driving front wheel drive van to MT Pinos Nordic Base. are chains required this Sunday just to go to parking lot thanks.

Chain control decisions are usually made by law enforcement, specifically the California Highway Patrol. Those decisions are based on conditions observed on each morning. At this time we don't know what the chain control situation will be on any given day. You should always have tire traction devices in your vehicle when driving in the mountains during winter.

We are aiming to sled at Mt Pinos on Sunday morning. What do you estimate the base at, 12 inches?

We are unable to estimate the amount of snow that has fallen during the week. We try to update our Twitter feed with conditions during the weekend but are not always able to do so.

I’m interested in taking a group of 16 snowshoers to do Knoll Loop / Harvest Trail. Is there any sort of permit I need to obtain in order to do this? I provide all their gear/equipment.

We've not been asked this question before so are unsure of the correct answer. Permit requirements, if any, will be managed through the Forest Service.



Posted on January 18, 2019
Updated on February 6, 2019

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