Yes, it does snow in California particularly in the mountainous regions. Present in western US, California is the most populous state in the country. It is known for its diverse geography, ranging from fertile valleys to deserts and mountains.

The state is home to many major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento. Silicon Valley is also located in this region, which is the center of the tech industry and hosts companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and much more. 

California has a diverse climate due to its large geographical area. It can be broadly classified into several climate zones, ranging from coastal climate in the western region to desert climate in the south.

Snowfall is very frequent in the mountainous region in California, including in the Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and San Gabriel Mountains. Low lying coastal areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco rarely receive any snow. 

How are winters in California? 

Winter temperatures in California aren’t as extreme, except in regions with high altitude in the northern part of the state. The coastal and low lying areas hardly receive any snowfall throughout the year. A precise statement may be difficult as California has a huge landmass. Some of the hottest and the coldest places in the US may be found in this state. 

The average minimum temperature is -35°F in Sierras and the highest is 120°F in Death Valley. The Sierra Nevada Mountains witness about 300-500 inches of snowfall while Southern California may accumulate up to 60 inches. January and February may be considered the snowiest months. Most of California has a Mediterranean type climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. 

When does it snow in California? 

It snows in California during the winter months. January and February are the coldest months in the state, with peak snowfall. Although snow at or near sea level is relatively rare, it is quite frequent in the mountainous region. 

The Sierra Nevada Mountains is the snowiest place in California. Late February is the best time to witness icy blankets in high altitude regions. For Southern California, Mt. Laguna is the best place to witness snowfall. 

The exact timing for snowfall may vary from region to region. While the Sierra Nevada range may experience snowfall from November till March, the coastal region may witness occasional showers somewhere between December and April. 

Where does it snow in California? 

Snowfall in California varies depending upon the state’s diverse geography and climate. Here are some places where you can see snowfall in California.

Sierra Nevada Mountains 

The Sierra Nevada Mountains is the snowiest place in California. It is present on the eastern border of the state and includes many popular locations like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and Mammoth Mountain. These places are a must visit if you intend to experience a white Christmas in California. 

Northern California 

The high lying regions in Northern California, particularly the Cascades experience significant snowfall during the winter months. An average of 37 inches of snowfall is witnessed in Cascades annually. 

Southern California 

In Southern California, the San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, and many other places witness snowfall during the winter season. 

High Desert Regions 

The Mojave Desert and other such areas witness occasional snowfall. Winters may sometimes be freezing in Mojave and light showers may be witnessed at times. 

Eastern California

The eastern part of California, including places like the Owens Valley, experience snowfall. Other areas including the towns of Bishop and Lone Pine may also witness snow season. 

Winter activities in California

California offers a wide range of winter activities despite having a mediterranean climate. Here are some of the best things to do during your stay there: 


California has a number of ski resorts, particularly in the Sierra Nevada range and in the Southern mountains. Some of the most well known include Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake, Mammoth Mountain, and Tahoe Donner. Different sort of slopes for varied skill levels are offered in these resorts. 

Ice Skating 

Ice skating is another adventure that you must try during the winter season. Several ice rinks are set up during the winter season in California. Some of the best options include rinks at Union Square in San Francisco and the Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square in Los Angeles

Winter Hiking 

Hiking is a great option to enjoy the winter season in California. Make sure you check the daily weather predictions before you embark on a hike. 

Hot Springs 

Soak yourself in natural hot springs to get away from the freezing temperature in California. Locations like Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra offer hot springs where you can relax in warm mineral waters.