Top Places to Go Sledding for Seattle-Area Kids and Families
Sledding and tubing is the definition of a screaming good time. Here are five places to enjoy the simple pleasures of sliding down a hill. Don't forget to check conditions before you go. (See also our guides on skiing and snowshoeing,)
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1. Snoqualmie Tubing Area. Off I-90 at exit 53, The Summit at Snoqualmie's tubing center is hugely popular with kids and grown-ups and a great way to wear kids out fast. You can either walk back to the top of the hill or ride your tube back up using a rope tow. The Summit recommends that children be at least three 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. There is a small café with restrooms onsite, or, for more seating and options, the brand-new Silver Fir Day Lodge is nearby.
Fee: Regular admission for a two-hour session for children five and under costs $5, while all others pay $18-$23. Summit season pass holders pay only a $5 tube-rental fee (personal sledding devices are prohibited).
Hours: Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays and holidays 9 a.m.-5:45 p.m. (check the website, hours may vary). Check the website for hours and conditions.
2. Mt. Rainier National Park. The only place where sledding is permitted in the national park is the designated snow play area immediately north of the upper parking lot at Paradise, which you can access through the Nisqually entrance to the park. (The entrance to the park is located about 87 miles from Seattle, about 65 from Tacoma.)
This ungroomed area, open starting on Jan. 18, is supervised by park rangers. It is near the Jackson Visitor Center, where families can get food, use restrooms, and warm up between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Wooden toboggans and sleds with metal runners are prohibited. You can also take guided snowshoe walks from the center.
Fee: $15 fee to enter the park for a private vehicle; no cost for sledding.
Hours: Hours are weekends and holidays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
3. Hyak Sno-Park. A groomed sledding hill located off of I-90 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 up to five times a week (depending on conditions, check here) but is not supervised by rangers or snow patrol. You can also go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the groomed trail. Tip: The parking lot can fill up. Go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.
Fee: No admission fee, but you'll need to have a daily Sno-Park permit and daily or annual Discover Pass; OR a Seasonal Sno Park Permit plus Special Groomed Trails Permit sticker, without Discover Pass. Bathrooms are the only onsite amenity.
Hours: Hyak is open daily from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Check the website for conditions.
4. Leavenworth’s Tubing Park, about a two-hour drive from Seattle, is open earlier in the season. Head east to Ski Hill and use the rope tow to easily climb back up after you tube down. You can also do skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating at Ski Hill.
Fee: $17 for 90-minute session with inner tube provided).
Hours: Wednesday and Friday, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
5. Hurricane Ridge. Located 17 miles from Port Angeles in Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge has a small skiing and snowboarding area that also has a tubing run. Stop by the Visitors Center for restrooms, exhibits, movie and warming area. There is also a snack bar. Check weather and road conditions online.
Fee: $10 for two-hour session, $8 for 1-hour session. Tube provided with both.
Hours: Open 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Check website and Twitter feed for condition updates and information on whether the road is closed.
This article was originally written in 2012 and updated in February 2014.