There’s nothing more refreshing than being outdoors on a snowy day in Southern California. The smell of crisp winter air, the crunch of fresh snow under your boots, and the beauty of a blue sky overhead is the kind of winter hike we all know and love in SoCal. But what are the best winter hikes in Southern California?

We’ve laced up our boots, packed our trail mix, and set out for a wintery SoCal snow hike to come up with some of the best winter hikes in California. Here are 11 of our favorite trails you should add to your Southern California bucket list this season.

Southern California is known for its sunny days and hot sand beaches, but winter backpacking in southern California? Not so much. If you weren’t aware SoCal had such amazing snow hikes we hope you’ve enjoyed some of the best winter hikes in Southern California. Hiking is a pretty refreshing way to spend the day when the snow falls on those mountain trails. What are your favorite winter hikes in SoCal?

If you’re more of a Sunday drive kind of person, here’s a leisurely way to spend your weekend in SoCal.

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More winter hikes in Southern California

What are the best hikes in Southern California in December?

Winter in southern California is perhaps the perfect time to enjoy hiking as the temps are cooler. Plus if you head to some higher elevations you can enjoy a hike in the fresh snow. Here are some of the best places to hike in southern California in December.

1. Andreas Canyon: This Palm Spring hike is a nice easy one-mile loop trail through beautiful California fan palms.
2. Boucher Hill Loop: This cool winter hike will take you about two miles to the Boucher Hill Fire Lookout in Palomar Mountain State Park for some amazing views.
3. Aerial Tramway to Mt. San Jacinto: This cool hike in the San Jacinto State Park is a tough but beautiful 11-mile hike. You will be rewarded with amazing views from the top of southern California's second-highest peak.
4. Palm Canyon Trail: A two-mile out-and-back hike near Cathedral City, CA, that rewards you with beautiful desert views of unique palms, cacti, and a few friendly lizards to keep you company.
5. Palomar Mountain State Park: This northern San Diego County state park offers fantastic winter hikes, camping, and fishing.
6. Mount Laguna Ridge: If you love challenging hikes this Pine Valley, CA hike takes you through 16.6 miles (out and back) of the Pacific Crest Trail. It's a very popular hike for trail running and winter backpacking in southern California.
7. Runyon Canyon: This lovely 2.7-mile loop trail in Runyon Canyon is a popular hiking and dog walking trail near the Hollywood Hills. Just try not to go too gaga when you spot famous celebrities out walking their dog.
8. Murray Canyon: The cool rock formations in this hike near Palm Springs, CA are definitely one of the highlights of this desert trail. You'll also enjoy small waterfalls, glacial streams, and stately palm trees.
9. Mount Baldy: Spending time in LA and need a hiking getaway? Just a bit over an hour from LA is the Manker Campground - you can start your hike there. This 11-mile hike takes you to the highest point in Los Angeles with amazing views as far as the eye can see.

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