Frequently Asked Questions
We have received a number of questions of general interest and will attempt to answer them here.
How much snow is there at Mount Pinos?
We often do not know until we show up on Saturday morning. We can sometimes make guesses based on the weather forecasts but those are often inaccurate.

Will the road be open this weekend?
We do not know. We track the road status on the Kern County roads website. Occasionally we get some advance word but that advance information is very, very inaccurate.

How much does it cost to visit Mount Pinos?
In winter the “Adventure Pass” program is in effect. Your parked vehicle will need to display an Adventure Pass or other Federal recreation pass. When staffed, daily Adventure Passes are sold at Nordic Base for $5 (cash only). Adventure Passes are also available at many outdoor and sporting goods stores in Southern California.

Hello. I would like to cross country ski tomorrow 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 Kern County 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). A pretty typical closed status report for the Mt Pinos road looks like:
Road closed status

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 Mount Pinos 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.

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.

I have a Toyota Tacoma TRD all wheel drive, so it’s made for off roading. When I go snowboarding at Mt High they’ll usually say something like 4x4 or snow chains required. So if Mt Pinos or Fraizer Park says snow chains required, am I okay with my truck? Or do I still need snow chains?
California state law requires that you have chains (or equivalent) in the vehicle when any chain control is in effect.

Where can one rent cross country skis for Mt Pinos?
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 most times. Exceptions to the “most times” are rare and generally are related to fire closures or other public safety issues.

Are there restrooms at the parking lot at Nordic Base?
In winter there are portable toilets in the parking lot at Nordic Base and also generally at the “Y” at the base of the mountain. Sometimes also at the parking area for Pinos Campground.

Are there trash bins at the parking lot at Nordic Base?
In winter there are trash bins located in the parking lot at Nordic Base and also at the “Y” at the base of the mountain.

Hi there, can you tell me your non-summit elevation? Can you tell me the name of the nearest towns and lower elevation vacation towns with hotels? Thank you!
The end of the road, officially “Chula Vista Parking” area or lot, and our Nordic Base facility is at 8,300 feet elevation.

The nearest communities to Mt Pinos are Pine Mountain Club (PMC) (about 15 miles by road from Nordic Base), Pinion Pines (guessing about 11 miles), Lake of the Woods (guessing 12 or so miles), Frazier Park (guessing about 15 miles) and Lebec (about 21 miles). The Frazier Park exit on I-5 is at Lebec.
  • There is a Motel 6 and a Holiday Inn Express located at the I-5 freeway exit.
  • In PMC there is the Pine Mountain Inn and a number of short term vacation rentals (AirBnB, etc.).

If staying in a hotel, you will likely want some restaurant information. By the freeway exit in Lebec there is a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and a couple of fast food locations. There are a couple of restaurants in Frazier Park including an Indian restaurant, Mexican restaurant. There is also a fairly complete grocery store in Frazier Park. There is a pizza restaurant in Lake of the Woods. In PMC there is a pizza restaurant, a grill location, a Mexican restaurant, and the restaurant at the club’s golf course. For breakfast and lunch, there is also a bakery in PMC.

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.