The L.A. Basin warms up this time of year, and one of the best ways to beat that heat is to head to the mountains.
Within a couple of hours' drive, folks can drive to elevations of 8,000 feet or higher where temps are always cooler – and an afternoon thunderstorm just may cool things off even more.
A half-dozen ski and snowboard resorts nearest L.A. open back up for the summer. Mountain High is the only one that doesn't crank up a lift for scenic rides, but the resort's disc golf course is regionally renowned, as is the nature hike trail into the San Gabriel Mountains.
The combo Snow Summit-Big Bear continues to be a prime summer destination for SoCal; Ikon Pass works there. Mountain biking reigns on both hills, with Sky Chair delivering riders to a plethora of trails of all abilities on Snow Summit. Down below, the Big Bear nine-hole golf course is laid-back at 9,000 feet. The base of the mountain features a 30-foot climbing wall, bungee trampoline, zip line, and free fall bungee-assisted jump for adventurers of all ages. And, to cool your jets, Big Bear Lake with boating, swimming or just plain hanging your feet in the water await.
At Mt. Baldy – an hour's drive from the city -- the views of the city below and the Mojave Desert are worth the chairlift ride to 7,800 feet, where hiking trails radiate out. Below, there are zip lines and disc golf – and overnight “tent cabin” rentals.
Views also dominate summer at Snow Valley – a short drive up from San Bernardino – where the Pacific Ocean can be seen on a clear day after a ride up the six-seat chair. Bike trails of varied abilities have started opening for the summer.
Sitting astride the Pacific Crest Trail above Pasadena, Mt. Waterman opens on weekends this summer. Noteworthy is a professional-grade disc golf course, plus hiking and biking off the scenic chairlift.