So the snow is here and you are trying to figure out where to take the kids and have some fun outside. Washington hills are a bit tricky to track down because they're all covered in trees. Not really the obstacles you want popping up in the middle of your path down a steep snow sledding hill.
To help anyone looking we've compiled a short list of fun and safe sledding hills in our area. You may have to drive a bit and some even cost money, but rest assured the laughter generated (and sometimes tears) always make for fun life-long memories.
(in no particular order)
1. Tubing Center at Summit of Snoqualmie
Just off I-90 at exit 53, The Summit at Snoqualmie's tubing center is hugely popular. You can either walk back to the top of the hill or ride your tube back up on the magic carpet. The Summit recommends that children be at least 3 years old before tubing, but does not restrict admission for families with younger children who want to try. Children less than 42 inches tall can ride double with a parent. You do have to use the resorts sleds however, so no need to bring your own. asdfasd
Cost: Regular admission for a two-hour session is $23–$25 for everyone older than 5, and $5 for children age 5 and younger (sharing a tube with an adult). Summit season pass holders pay only a $5 tube-rental fee.
Pro Tip: Book your session online before you go to make sure there's space, it's quite a drive to get there and find out it's full. Weekdays if you can swing it are great times to avoid the crowds.
Hours: Open Friday–Sunday; hours are determined by weather conditions. During winter break and other school closures, the tubing area is generally open on weekdays. Check the website for updates on hours and conditions.
Staying Warm: There is a small café with restrooms onsite and if you're up for a bit of a walk the Silver Fir Day Lodge provides a second option.
2. Stevens Pass Sledding Area
New in 2018/19 Stevens Pass has opened an area at their Nordic Center for free family sledding hill and snow play area. The Nordic Center is located just 6 miles east of the ski resort at the top of Stevens Pass. There are no rope tows so you'll be hiking up and down but that's a good way to stay warm up there. You'll also need to bring your own tube or sled. The hill is designed to be for kids 10 and younger so your thrill seeking big kids might need to grab their skis and get dropped off at the resort on your way to the sledding hill.
Pro Tip: Maybe consider avoiding weekends and holidays or be prepared to battle crowds. Also, it is a 'kid friendly' hill (10 and under) but some kids are bigger than others and this is already a busy sledding hill so be prepared to look out for your little ones.
Hours: no listed hours of operation
Staying Warm: Located at the Ski Resort (6 miles away) you'll find full restaurants, bars, hot coffee, and also some 'sack lunch' areas for those just looking for a warm place to eat their own food and warm up. Parking can be an issue on weekends and holidays so you may have a small hike ahead of you if the ski resort is super busy.
3. Leavenworth's Tubing Park at Ski Hill
From Snohomish county and Seattle areas you're looking at about a 2.5 hour drive. Leavenworth's Ski Hill is a small ski area with two Alpine runs serviced by rope tows. While there it might be a good time to look into their miles and miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails.
Leavenworth tends to have more snow and earlier snow than the Summit, but not always. On the tubing hill, all tubers must sled independently. Recommended age is 8 and older, though kids as young as 4 have tubed.
Cost: $20 for 90-minute session with inner tube provided. $32 gets you a full day of Alpine or Nordic skiing plus a 1.5-hour tubing session.
Pro Tip: They offer one free ride prior to purchasing a ticket to make sure your kids will enjoy it.
Hours: Once open, the tubing hill will be open daily through Jan. 2, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m and close early for Christmas Eve and Day. Be sure to confirm by check the website before heading out.
Staying Warm: Food, beverages and warmth are available at the historic Ski Hill Lodge on site, or a short drive away is the festive downtown Leavenworth full of shops, restaurants, lights, music and more!
Also you can sled for free in the Leavenworth down town park, there will be plenty of "no sledding" signs as well as a small hill of kids and plenty of sledders.
These are going to be your two resorts closest to residents of Snohomish County, but since this there are some reading that may be willing to travel a little farther I'll link up a few more sledding hills for you to scope out.
4. Hurricane Ridge
Located on the Olympic Peninsula you'll find a few less people and access to fun free sledding and some additional access to snowshoeing, skiing, and cross country trails as well. Check their website below for additional details.
Cost: FREE for any kid under the age of 9 on the small hill and must bring their own sled/tube (no sleds with runners allowed). Kids 9 and older must rent a tube from the Tubing Park within the Ski Area for $10 per hour.
Pro Tip : Plan a whole day and take advantage of the other onsite activities with snowshoe guides, and ski rentals. Also call ahead for road conditions, schedule, and prices as they change from season to season. Also most cars are required to carry chains. This park is also subject to government shut downs and susceptible to weather conditions.
Hours: Open typically from mid-December through March Fridays - Sundays and additional weekdays during the schools winter break. To see if they are open call 360-565-3131 and confirm their winter schedule.
Staying Warm: On site is the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center that is typically open any time the road is. Inside you'll find warming areas, restrooms, and other area exhibits and a park film. The restroom and foyer area are always open. The Shop onsite is also open for ski and snowshoe rentals during park open hours and the Mountain View Cafe is also open for some snacks and warm drinks.
5. Hyak Snow Park
Hyak is a groomed sledding hill located up I-90 on exit 54 near Snoqualmie East. Hyak is a Washington State Parks snow play area, and is not affiliated with the Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort. The area is groomed and tree free for some safe sledding, but is not supervised by rangers or snow patrol.
Fee: No admission fee, but you'll need to have a Discover Pass or pay the daily parking rate of $25. There is also a Seasonal Sno-Park permit plus Special Groomed Trails Permit sticker, without a Discover Pass. This pass gets you into many parking lots if snowshoeing or cross country skiing is your thing. There is an electronic pay station where you can buy one-day Sno-Park or Discover Pass permits. Bathrooms are the only onsite amenity.
Pro Tip: This Sno-Park gets VERY crowded; go early or late to avoid peak times and weekends if possible.
Status: Hyak is open daily from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and the sledding hill opens and closes due to snow conditions changing. Be sure to call 509-656-2230 for a recorded message about current conditions before heading out.
Staying Warm: Other than the parking lot and some very chilly bathrooms there aren't any other onsite fixtures. You'll need to head up the road to the Snoqualmie Pass area (about 10 minutes) to find some small shops and restaurants if you're looking for a place to thaw.
6. Mount Rainier National Park
With dedicated area of the park meant for sledding, snowshoeing, and winter exploring there is no resort or rope tows or fees. There is a park entrance fee of $25 but no additional cost. To learn more and get updated snow reports check out the Nation Park's website.
7. Mt Baker
Another honorable mention is Mt Baker. There is a ski resort located at the very end of the only road up the mountain, and right next to it is some un-official sledding hills with more snow than you could imagine. Just head to the resort and you really can't miss it. Just keep driving, skip the lower parking lot and head to the very top. (snow tires, 4x4, or chains are often required) Mt Baker gets more snow that our more southern passes and is sure to wow you with epic views and plenty of room for everyone to play around. There's no website or condition updating phone number for the sledding hill, but if the Mt Baker Ski Resort is open, you can be sure there is plenty of snow around to sled. Parking is free. The ski resort just up the road offers a great pit stop for those looking for some food and a little warmth.
We know there are more crowd favorites and a plethora of smaller local hills to be found so if there is one you think deserves some recognition just shoot us a message and we'll make sure to add it to our list.