The Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station was not my first plan of trails. In fact, we had the grand plan to do the three peaks trail from Nordic Station. It was covered with about a foot and a half of snow when we arrived. There was zero chance we were going to do the 10-mile trail. So we settled on a very hard 3.6-mile trudge through the snow. When I say it was one of the hardest things I’ve done, it was.
About Los Padres National Forest:
The Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station is located in Los Padres National Forest. With 1,950,000 acres of land, Los Padres National Forest is one of the largest National Forests in the US. The trail actually leads into Chumash Wilderness which is 38,150 acres large protected wilderness. Plus, it’s home to 150 plant species and plenty of wildlife, including bears, bobcats, California King Snake, and even the endangered California condor.
Elevations in Los Padres National Forest range from sea level to 8,847 feet.
Quick Stats of the Mount Pinos Trail From Nordic Station:
3.6 miles with about 500 feet of elevation gain
Gear Used for hiking Mount Pinos Trail From Nordic Station in the Winter:
CamelBak Zephyr 10L Running Vest
Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe
Crash Polartec 2.0 Tights and Crash Polartec 2.0 Jacket
PNG Electrolytes Hydration Drink Mix
That isn’t a lot, but with 1.5 feet of snow, it was tough. The Mount Pinos Trail is located near Frazier Park. I wanted to get to Sawmill Mountain, but the day and weather was not right. So we settled on Mount Pinos.
Mount Pinos is the highest point in Ventura County at 8847 ft, and Sawmill Mountain is the highest point in Kern County at 8822ft. Sawmill Mountain in Kern County will have to wait until Spring because the Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station was challenging enough.
We arrived to Nordic Station and were fairly surprised with the amount of snow. While we didn’t have any snow near me, or even at the base, Nordic Station had a good 1.5 feet. The trail was not plowed, so we had to trudge our way up. I don’t think we even planned to make it to the Mount Pinos Summit; we just wanted to see what we saw. About .1 into our hike, I thought it was the most challenging thing I had done. My body was already tired, but for some reason, we kept going. My spouse and I traded leads (snow crushers) and just continued up. By the time we made it one mile in around 45 minutes, we decided to were committed to make it to the Mount Pinos Summit.
At the Mount Summit Pinos Summit, it was gorgeous. You can see so much of Los Angeles and the Central Valley. After stopping briefly, we headed back down the Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station. We didn’t want to stay too long because we were getting cold from so much snow in our shoes. Luckily we came down much faster, and it took us about 90 minutes to go up and only 60 minutes down. Although going down Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station trail, I got more snow in my shoes.
I would love to visit Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station and hike to Sawmill Mountain as well. I looked at photos from where there is no snow, and I can barely believe it’s the same trail. In all, it was a fun but challenging hike. If you are looking for snowy adventure, it’s a great option. I was also surprised of how many people were at the top. I thought we would be the only ones, but that was not the case.
You can see more hikes here.
Questions for you:
Have you climbed Mount Pinos Trail from Nordic Station?
Do you like snow?