Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Wrightwood, CA

  • Published 2022/04/30

If you’re searching for an adventurous mountain getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, Wrightwood, California, is a must-visit.

Just 77 miles away from the central metropolis, you’ll discover this picture-perfect mountain village tucked in the pine forests.

It has no traffic lights, so you’ll experience a small-town vibe where people have a laid-back attitude.

As a cattle ranch, apple orchard, and tranquil mountain resort town, Wrightwood has transformed from its original Serrano Indian homestead.

Thanks to the community’s preservation efforts, these old structures are still visible in Wrightwood’s everyday life.

With a 6,000-foot elevation, it is the most accessible mountain highway in southern California.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Wrightwood.

Enjoy Extreme Winter Adventure at Mountain High Resort

Gorgeous sunset over Mountain High Resort

B Murray /

This winter destination resort in Los Angeles County, California, sits atop the San Gabriel Mountains.

It is the nearest place in Southern California for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and having a good time in the snow.

Are you a fan of winter sports?

Perhaps the Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, California, can become your new favorite hangout spot.

Slopes for all skill levels are available on the mountain resort, making it an excellent choice for families, novice skiers, and professionals alike.

People around the Mountain High Resort

Mike Gonzalez (the coffee), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Creekside offers gentle slopes, while the Pipeline offers more difficult inclines.

It is one of the best things to do in Wrightwood with kids.

Please bring them to Mountain High Resort, where they may play in the snow and learn the basics of skiing.

The North Lodge, located at the mountain’s summit, is the perfect place to relax after an exciting day in the snow.

Here, you can have a warm dinner in a pleasant restaurant with spectacular views of the mountain’s snowy foothills.

Glide the Zipline with Ziplines at Pacific Crest

Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, Ziplines at Pacific Crest is an excellent place for families to go ziplining.

Ziplines at Pacific Crest is one of the best options for seeking something new in Wrightwood.

With a height of up to 300 feet and a length of more than 1,500 feet, this exhilarating journey will leave you breathless.

Try the Pacific Crest’s Canopy Tour and Mountain View Tour, two of the state’s most well-known zipline courses, and fly through the skies while zipping between hills and trees.

What new sights are you looking forward to over the next several days?

Get a bird’s-eye view of the San Gabriel Mountains and forest and the satisfaction of completing the zipline course.

Stock up on Food and Supplies from Wrightwood Certified Farmer’s Market

Every Friday, the Wrightwood Certified Farmers Market in Wrightwood, California, opens to the public.

One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the Wrightwood Certified Farmers Market has something for everyone to see and do.

The Farmers Market is a once-a-week event for the local community to bring everyone together.

By purchasing items offered at the market, you can help positively impact the local economy and health.

Drop by the market if you’re looking for organic, locally grown, sustainable, and tasty fruits and veggies and unique crafts and decorations for your home.

Are you looking for free activities in Wrightwood, California?

At Wrightwood’s Farmers Market, you may listen to live music, see performances, learn about healthy eating and cooking, or even get a massage.

Step Back in Time at Wrightwood’s Historical Society And Museum

When you visit a new place for the first time, it’s natural to be curious about the history and culture of the area and the people who live there.

In addition to exhibiting antiquities found in Wrightwood, the Wrightwood Historical Society and Museum opens to the public on Saturdays and offers free admission.

Gatherings occur here on the first Friday of each month.

If you’re lucky, you can listen to historians and keynote speakers invited to discuss the region’s history.

Those who live in the neighborhood or just passing through can join the society for no additional cost.

Go Hiking at Blue Ridge Trail

This trail is ideal for those who prefer an easy trek.

Near the Big Pines area’s Mt High West parking lot exit, you may find the Blue Ridge Trail west of Wrightwood.

The hike begins by crossing a wooden bridge over a brook teeming with the melting snow from Mountain High.

As you climb up the Blue Ridge mountainside, you may spot oaks and pine trees.

You’ll view the chair lifts at Mountain High’s East Resort at the summit.

You may reach campground Blue Ridge after a mile and a half of hiking.

Overall, this path isn’t too challenging, and trees shade it for most of its length.

In terms of Wrightwood area hiking, the Blue Ridge Trail is one of the best.

Go Fishing at Jackson Lake

Winter view of Jackson Lake

Gabriel P Magana /

The Jackson Lake, a small water reservoir east of Wrightwood and Big Pines, adds a new level of tranquility to the town.

There are many reasons to visit Jackson Lake, which formed due to the San Andreas fault line (particularly during the hottest months).

Ducks swimming on Jackson Lake

Rennett Stowe from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most of Wrightwood’s campgrounds sit near the lake since you can go fishing all year round, and it’s a beautiful setting for many of them.

With plenty of picnic tables, lush spaces, and public restrooms, Jackson Lake is ideal for a day out.

In addition to fishing, you may go lake swimming, boating, and kayaking on Lake Jackson’s waters.

Spend the Night under the Stars at Mountain Oak Campground

Mountain Oak is in the Angeles National Forest, making it an excellent place to go hiking and camping in the wilderness.

You may get the cheapest lodging in Wrightwood by staying at one of the many campgrounds.

All campgrounds in Wrightwood offer fine lodging, but the Mountain Oak Campground stands out since it contains the only flushable restrooms.

The campground is adjacent to Jackson Lake and the Big Horn Mine, making it easy to go to both destinations.

You must, however, make your reservations well in advance, as this is a small campground with limited availability.

Let Your Kids Play and Stretch at Hollis M. Stewart Children’s Park

Are you traveling with kids?

This park is the perfect place to take a break and stretch your legs after a long day of travel.

With pine trees and stunning mountain views, you can find this town playground on Pine Street.

In addition to swings and slides, the play area has monkey bars and a sandbox.

Sets for small and large children are both available.

Sit on a bench and watch them play (and burn off the sugar from one of the delicious cookies from the Grizzly Cafe) while taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Check Out the Wrightwood Mountain Classic Car Show

While making your travel plans and reserving your vacation rental, take note of Wrightwood’s unique festivals, such as the Mountain Classic Car Show.

A terrific way to beat the California summer heat is to attend this August event.

You’ll find pre-1973 American-built automobiles here.

As of 2021, around 300 cars were participating in the event. These are hot rods, classics, rat rods, muscle cars, and custom automobiles.

In addition, there is a vendor village with food and other stalls and live music and other forms of entertainment.

Join the Festivities during the Mountaineer Days

Mountaineer Days, a two-day celebration of Wrightwood’s history and present-day accomplishments, follows Independence Day.

Visit the Food Court & Vendor Village, which features a well-liked beer garden, and peruse the artisanal goods on display.

These re-enactments may involve gunfights, cowboys, gold panning, and more.

Visitors of all ages may participate in various traditional activities and competitions such as pie-eating contests, watermelon-eating contests, water balloon throw events, etc.

Explore the Abandoned Mine along Bighorn Mine Trail

A person in Bighorn Mine Trail's abandoned house

RamiFSb, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It wasn’t until Charles Vincent sold the Big Horn Mine in 1859 that the mine began to rake in profits.

The mine has been abandoned since the early 1900s.

In its current form, the Big Horn Mine is part of a famous 6.0-kilometer hiking path that allows tourists to enjoy the stunning scenery of Wrightwood.

You can explore many caverns along the way, including the mine shaft itself.

The route might get crowded around midday, so come early.

Bring Home Souvenirs from Applewood Court

Applewood Court is considered the happiest and coziest place in Wrightwood.

You may find various items in one place at Applewood Court.

Its ice cream and candy shops are often a welcome sight at the end of a long trip.

This area is a terrific spot to visit year-round if you’re looking for a small present for a friend or family member.

Your kids can choose from a wide variety of sweets, promising a great time.

A courtyard is a fun place for your kids to run around as you relax on a bench and eat a snack.

Make a pit stop for some handmade fudge!

Chill with Friends at Village Grind

The Village Grind welcomes you and your friends for a relaxing break at the community tables and lounge spaces.

Coffee, breakfast, and lunch are available at Village Grind, making it an ideal spot to connect with friends.

For a relaxing night in Wrightwood, this is the place to go.

Enjoy a drink or two of wine with a delectable dinner.

To accompany your coffee, enjoy one of its famous jumbo doughnuts.

Its outside seating area treats you with the stunning views of Wrightwood.

Make a Pit Stop at Big Pines Visitor Center Interpretive Site

You may find this visitor center in old masonry buildings near the crossroads of Highway 2 and N-4, four miles west of Wrightwood.

Consult the staff for information on hiking and camping and other activities.

You can also buy Adventure Passes.

The visitor center is a fascinating historical site, but you can also rent it out for private functions.

Don’t forget the taxidermied mountain lion and bear in the corner!

There is also a nature walk and public facilities outside the visitor center’s front door for added convenience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Snow Tubing at North Pole Tubing Park Wrightwood

If you’re going to Mount High, make a pit break at the North Pole Tubing Park, just nine minutes away from Wrightwood.

You can traverse the nine tube lanes faster with the supplied heavy-duty tubes.

You won’t have to lug your big tube up the slopes anymore, thanks to two mobile ramps that take you back to the front of the line for more excitement.

You can ride a tube if you’re at least three feet tall.

It is the ideal place to show your kids the marvels of snow tubing and teach them how to do it.

Your children may join the ten introductory tubing lessons in this beginner-friendly area and have a great time in the snow.

Know the Value of Animal Rehabilitation at Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary

Head ten miles northeast of Wrightwood to Phelan, located approximately halfway down the mountain, to broaden your horizons.

The Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary is located there.

It is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that aims to save the lives of exotic animals abused, neglected, or abandoned.

Rescued birds, reptiles, llamas, and even giant cats have found a new home here.

Group programs, field excursions, guided tours, and animal feedings are available for kids and adults alike at the sanctuary.

Feeding the animals is a great and affordable family activity.

You may also support the sanctuary’s efforts by making a small donation.

Final Thoughts

Escape the California summer heat by heading to Wrightwood, a hotspot for family holidays because of its ski mountain, ziplining, snow tubing, and other outdoor activities.

Wrightwood is the perfect destination for a budget winter trip while still having a great time in the mountains.

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