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  1. #1
    Registered User Jack89's Avatar
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    Default Weather from Campo to Big Bear Lake in February?

    I currently have an approved PCT Nobo start date of 22 March. I've been considering changing that to February 20th, hike to Big Bear Lake or Wrightwood, then get off trail until after Easter.

    Not ideal, but there are some obligation I don't want to miss in April.

    What's the weather like in this section in late February/Early March?


  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Sierra Madre, California


    Be prepared for foul weather. A windshirt ain't going to cut it. Be prepared for snow travel at the higher elevations. A freezing rain storm in the Laguna Mountains would not be unusual.

    Most of it would probably be OK. Hiked Warner Springs to Hwy 74 two years ago and it was nice.

  3. #3
    imscotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    North Reading, MA


    You should definitely be prepared for alpine conditions on Mount San Jacinto. The walk down Fuller Ridge should be 'interesting' in February too.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”

    John Greenleaf Whittier

  4. #4


    Below freezing temperatures at night won't be uncommon. Feburary can be very wet as SoCal gets most of it's yearly rain during the winter months which means snow at higher elevations. Even in a wet year, days will tend to be sunny, but when a storm hits, it can hit hard. March may or may not be as it can change from year to year. Hiking the desert sections in winter can be fun and not usually a problem. The issue is SoCal isn't all desert and has some really tall mountains the PCT travels over. A piece of trivia on why LA has such bad smog. The tall inland mountains which range up to 11,500ft, form a large basin around the Los Angeles metropolitan area and trap much of the polluted air.

    Your problem areas are as follows: Mt. Laguna, a few days north of the border, will snow during a storm, but it will melt off soon after. So it's not too bad as you are over it pretty fast and the terrain isn't steep. The San Jacintos can hold a lot of snow as the trail goes over 9000ft there and you hike part of the time along steep ridges (such as Fueller Ridge) where a slide can drop you down several hundred feet if you don't hit a boulder or tree on the way down. You could hike the highway around it, but you are missing some nice country. John Muir wrote that the San Jacintos were very like the Sierra Nevada with the tree types and granite. I personally agree with him which is why I normally spend time up there in the spring and fall. Big Bear makes money in the winter months off the ski slopes that operate in the area. That should tell you something. But the terrain is easier to deal with in snow than the San Jacintos. After Big Bear the trail once again climbs up over 9000ft near Wrightwood (which also has ski slopes). In between all these are lower more deserty enviornments.

    When it snows, the snow levels can drop down to all the way down to 4000ft, but will usually melt off quickly (on the southern slopes at least), till somewhere over 6000ft while slowly melting higher over the next few weeks unless another snow storm dumps.

    Now if we have a dry year, you could have an easy time of it. There is no way to know right now.

  5. #5


    Oh you Golden State folks are shining. TU.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Upper East Side of Texas


    You probably won’t find the springtime water caches stocked. You may find natural water sources flowing.
    Good luck.

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