California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division today announced a fee increase for California’s SNO-Parks Permit. Effective Nov. 1, 2022, the daily permit is going to increase from $5 to $15, and the season permit from $25 to $40. The fee increase, the first since 2000, will help offset the cost increase of operating 18 SNO-Parks along the Sierra Nevada due to the need for additional maintenance, staffing, and safety needs, as well as addressing site damage due to increased visitation and recent wildfires.
Winter recreation opportunities are provided at 18 SNO-Park sites with each SNO-Park providing visitors with snow-cleared parking lots and sanitation facilities. Visitors have access to self-guided activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and other general snow recreation activities. SNO-Parks are open seasonally between November 1 and May 30 and require visitors to display a parking permit for each vehicle.
SNO-Parks draw thousands of visitors from all over the state, the country, and the world. During the peak season, high visitation means full parking lots, congested roadways, and long wait times for open parking spaces. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and have alternative locations to visit in case their destination is full. The public can find the list of the 18 SNO-Parks here.
The SNO-Park program is coordinated and administered by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, and other various community organizations. Plowing services and restroom facilities are supported by the Winter Recreation Fund, which is funded by the sales of SNO-Park parking permits. SNO-Park passes can be purchased online here, at a local vendor, or by mail. Passes will go on sale starting Monday, October 24.
SNO-Parks can be identified by distinctive brown signs located along the highways throughout the Sierra Nevadas. Visitors are advised not to park along the highway interchanges as it is against the law.
Winter recreation activities may be hazardous. Your common sense, skill level, use of proper clothing, and respect for the terrain and weather will combine to affect your safety.
Tips for Visiting your favorite SNO-Park:
- Remember that SNO-Park plowing cannot be maintained without highway plowing. For this reason, under certain weather conditions, some SNO-Parks may not be cleared for vehicle parking until the highways have been cleared.
- Parking is first come, first serve at all SNO-Park sites. No refunds are issued if your favorite SNO-Park is full.
- Park and drive carefully within SNO-Park sites. Watch for pedestrians.
- Overnight parking, including in-vehicle camping is allowed except where noted or signed at SNO-Park sites.
- When overnight parking is allowed tent camping or sleeping outside a vehicle in the parking area is prohibited at all SNO-Park sites.
- Vehicles parked overnight need to be staked at all 4 corners with 1×2 inch by 8-foot poles to prevent accidental damage by snow removal equipment.
- Do not build campfires on paved areas.
- Do not litter SNO-Park sites. Trash containers may not be provided, pack out your own refuse.
- Carry a shovel and tire chains.
- Lock your vehicle and do not leave items of value in sight.
For more information on locations, approved activities, and to purchase permits, visit www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/Snoparks.