Seattle families are lucky to have the mountains close by. And with fresh pow pow starting to dump in the hills, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about adding a sledding or tubing day to your wintertime (or Christmas Break) to-do list. So bundle up your little snow bunnies and click through the gallery to find out where you can catch all of the powdery goodness this season.
The Washington State Sno-Park nearest Seattle is Hyak Sno-Park, which is close to, but not associated with the Summit East area of Snoqualmie ski resort. The glorious sledding hills are groomed up to five times weekly, but the hill or parts of it can be closed if there’s too much ice. The surrounding park areas are also great for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing or just making snow angels. Take note though that the hill or parts of it can be closed if there's too much ice.
The best news about Hyak is that the sledding is free; the parking however, is not. You'll need a Sno-Park day permit as well as your annual or daily Discover Pass to get into the park, but you can stay as long as you want once you're there! Be sure to bring your own everything (food, water, sleds, tubes, etc.) because potties are the only amenities offered here. If you're looking for quieter snow play, check out the other non-motorized Sno-Parks and Snow Play Sno-Parks around Washington.
Exit 54 off I-90
509-656-2230 (snow report)
Cost: $20/daily Sno-Park permit; $30/daily Sno-Park permit + daily Discovery Pass; $40/Non Motorized Sno-Park Permit valid for the entire winter recreation season.
Open: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., daily (subject to snow availability)
Summit Tubing Center at Snoqualmie
The Summit Tubing Center is snow tubing at its picture perfect best. There are 12 individual lanes of groomed snow on gently sloped hills the length of a football field as well as commercial-grade tubes and a tow to make your ascent back to the top effortless. Your tubing ticket for this winter wonderland of tubing fun is good for a two-hour session (beginning at 9 a.m.), and this will be plenty of time to frolic and tire the kids out. There’s also small café on site for post-tubing snacks.
Good to Know: Everyone in your tubing group will need to sign a Tubing Liability Release. To make the check-in process easier, download, print and sign the form before you arrive. Galactic Tubing sessions usually start at the end of December with sessions from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.-10:15 p.m.
Tubing Center (S.E. corner of the Summit Central main parking lot)
1001 Route 906
Snoqualmie Pass, Wa 98068
Cost: $22-$25/Adults; $20-23/Youth (6-11); $5/Kids (5 & under). Tubing tickets will be available for purchase online as soon as an opening date is announced.
Open: Hours are dependent on natural snowfall. Check the website for days and times.
Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park
Families with older kiddos can check out the Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park in Leavenworth. Kids ages 8 and older will love this thrilling, 100-foot tubing hill which offers 90-minute sessions and tubes and tows up the tow rope. The best part? Everyone can relax in the cozy Ski Hill Lodge before and after your play.
Good to Know: Kids as young as 4 years old can enjoy this hill. All tubers must be able to ride safely, independently and follow verbal and/or written instruction. The park offers a 1-Time-Free trial ride prior to purchasing a ticket. This tubing hill is also available for private rental. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about private parties and plan your tubing party now!
Insider Tip: Leave your ski boots (and your tubes and sleds) at home; they're not allowed on this tubing hill. Tubes will be provided with your tubing ticket. Save time in line and bring your Tubing Release Form with you.
Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park
10701 Ski Hill Dr.
Leavenworth, Wa 98826
Cost: $20/person (valid 90 minutes from time of purchase). Tubers under 8 years old must be supervised by an adult.
Open: TBD (dependent on weather conditions); extended holidays hours also available. Check their website for dates and times.
Paradise Visitor's Center on Mt. Rainier
The Snowplay Area at the Paradise Visitor's Center on Mt. Rainier is usually open late December through mid-March. (At least five feet of snow-pack is required to open the Snowplay Area, so check online before heading out). Be sure to BYO tubes and sleds (only soft/flexible sleds and saucers are allowed; no hard runner sleds or true toboggans). If you're tired of sledding and tubing, grab lunch inside the Visitor Center or for families with kids 8 and older, you can head out on a ranger-led snowshoeing adventure (at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.) from late December through March. Psst...be sure to dress warmly though, as the snow shoe trek lasts about two hours.
Insider Tip: All cars are required to carry chains in winter while in the park. And don't forget your park pass. Psst... fourth graders (and their families) can get their Free park pass by going to the Every Kid in a Park website and following the instructions.
Mount Rainier National Park - Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise
Paradise Rd. E.,
Paradise, Wa 98304
Cost: $25/day per family for up to seven days; $50/family for Mt. Rainier Annual Pass; $80/family for National Annual Parks Pass
Open: Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (see website for opening date and special holiday hours).
Hurricane Ridge Tube Run
Located just 17 miles from Port Angeles in the Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge boasts a small skiing and snowboarding area plus a fun walk up tubing run. If you need to warm up your cold toes, stop by the visitor's center where you will find restrooms, exhibits and a spacious warming area. There is also a snack bar for hangry snow bunnies.
Insider Tip: Be sure to check weather and road conditions online or by phone at 360-565-3131 before you head up.
Good to Know: You must use the tubes provided by Hurricane Ridge. They are provided at no extra charge. The National Park charges an entrance fee, $15 per car, or you can purchase a yearly pass for $30. The road generally opens to uphill traffic at 9 a.m. and closes to uphill traffic at 4 p.m.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor's Center
3002 Mount Angeles Rd.
Port Angeles, Wa 98362
Cost: $10 for 1 hour
Dates: The Bunny tow and Intermediate tow are open mid-December through March. Check their website or Twitter feed for tube run dates (dependent on weather conditions).
Suncadia Resort Tubing Hill
Suncadia Resort has made a name for itself with families across the Sound for being just a hop, skip and a jump away from Seattle and a whole universe of adventure and pampering for kids and grown-ups alike. Turns out, their Winterfest doesn't disappoint either. There's ice skating, a tubing hill and lots of snowshoeing as well as snowy horse-drawn carriage rides, cross-country skiing and snowmobile tours. If you're making a trip over there anyway, be sure to bring your snow gear and be ready to play. If it's not already on your calendar...maybe it should be!
Good to Know: Tubers must be 36” tall; the minimum age for a child to ride is 3 years old. Adults and children must ride alone for safety reasons. Inner tube included with lift ticket purchase (no private sleds allowed). Kids 12 & under must be accompanied by an adult. No pets allowed on the hill.
3600 Suncadia Trail
Cle Elum, Wa 98922
Cost: $20/session per rider. Sessions are two hours long: 8 a.m.-10 a.m.; 10 a.m.-noon; noon-2 p.m.; 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Open: Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10 & Dec. 16-Jan. 2 (tubing hill is weather dependent)
White Pass Winter Carnival
Looking for an all-out snow festival? Plan ahead and mark your calendars for the White Pass Winter Carnival, set for Mar. 3-4, 2018. This family oriented event features a huge snow castle for kids to slide on, snow sculptors, live music, a carnival and snow sports competitions for kids and adults. There’s also a fireworks show in the evening and Ski 4 Kids fundraiser games and races to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The best news is that the castle and most of the events are free!
Good to Know: The White Pass ski resort experienced a serious upgraded (including a new lodge!), so if you want to get in a few ski runs as well, it would be a fun place to do it.
Insider Tip: If you have young ones, plan on arriving around 4 p.m. The kids will have time to play in the snow castle but won't be too worn out before the fireworks start.
White Pass Ski Area
48935 US Hwy 12
Naches, Wa 98937
Open: Mar. 4-5, 2017 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Some old-fashioned winter fun can be found at Happy Trails in Easton, Washington. Hop on a horse-drawn sleigh and ride through a winter wonderland, then finish your day zipping down their sledding hill. Bring your own saucers, inflatables (they provide a compressor to blow them up), tire tubes and plastic toboggans (but leave your metal and wooden sleds at home.) Picnic tables are provided, but you’ll need to pack a lunch and bring all your own utensils, plates, etc. Propane cook stoves and outdoor fire pits are also available.
Insider Tip: If you have babes in need of a nap, let the good folks at Happy Trails know and they'll bring a baby bed along on your sleigh ride. Now, that's a serious perk!
Happy Trails Sleigh Rides
Exit 74 off I-90 (then turn onto Pioneer Trail Rd.)
Easton, Wa 98925
Open: Dec. 27-Mar. 2018, 10 a.m.-dusk (subject to snow availability). Not open on New Year’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday.
Cost: $20/Adults; $10/Kids (2-10); under 2 Free
There’s nothing quite like a full day of snow-bound play to make all the comforts of home and family so delightful. If you get a snow day off from school or work, be sure to try these local golf courses available for snow play: Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, Interbay and West Seattle.
Did we miss your favorite spot to sled or tube? Tell us in the comments below!
— Katie Gruver & Kristina Moy
Feature photo courtesy of Pennuja via Flickr.