Winter Travel Tips
-Check road conditions before heading up the mountain. The Cal Trans “QuickMap” app is a great tool. The app will show road closures, traffic, and chain requirements in real time; you can monitor the conditions and alter your route if needed. This app is really invaluable when traveling in snowy conditions. http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/QM/app.htm
-Always carry snow chains when driving in the mountains as weather conditions change very rapidly. From November 1 to April 1 in California, all vehicles are required to carry tire chains (or cables) when they enter a chain control area, even if it isn't snowing at the moment. Practice installing the chains in the comfort of your driveway before heading up. There is nothing worse than trying to figure out how to install snow chains in cold and snowy weather. Due to liability issues, we can not install snow chains for you.
Getting Here in the Winter
You can reach Cienaga Creek Ranch by one of the following routes:
Highway 18- Starting in San Bernardino, this route takes you through Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, and Big Bear Lake. The highway consists of many twists and turns and is usually a slow drive due to traffic and snow play along the highway. Travel through Big Bear is often congested due to ski resort traffic as well.
Highway 330- Starting in Highland, highway 330 intersects with highway 18 in Running Springs. This drive is normally faster than highway 18 through San Bernardino as there is less mountain travel. You must still navigate highway 18 from Running Springs through Big Bear Lake.
Highway 38- Redlands to Cienaga Creek Ranch. The most direct route to the ranch from Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and western Riverside counties. Highway 38 is much straighter than highway 18 and travel is typically much easier. There may be some slowing due to traffic and snow play but much less than highways 18 and 330. You also miss the resort traffic in Big Bear.
Highway 18- Victorville/Apple Valley to Big Bear. Known as the back route, this route is an alternative in the event that highways 18, 330, and 38 are closed.
Once You are Here
-You may need snow chains on the ranch even if the highway is clear. We plow our roads but sometimes snow chains are still needed so have them ready to install. Remember, we can’t install them for you so make sure you know how to install them.
-Back your vehicle into the cabin parking spot if snow is in the forecast. At the end of your stay, it’s much easier to pull forward than to have to back up in snowy conditions. Pull your windshield wipers away from the windshield and leave them in the “up” position. Removing snow from your windshield is much easier when your wipers aren’t frozen against your windshield.
-CHP actively tickets drivers who don’t remove accumulated fallen snow from their vehicles. Take a few minutes to remove any snow from your vehicle's roof before entering the highway.