Get out your inner tube, sled, or snow disc, it’s time for snow on Mt. Hood! Sledding is an accessible way for little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy the snow without the cost of lift tickets, expensive gear, or lessons. If you’ve got warm clothes and something slippery to ride on, you can join in the fun. Read on for all the details on the best places on the mountain!
photo: Roderick Elme via flickr
Before You Go
Most places on the slopes require a Sno-Park Permit, available in daily, 3-day, and annual increments. Pick one up at your local DMV or at many Bi-Rite and outdoor stores. Check the road conditions before you head out: even though Mt Hood is only an hour away, the weather can be quite different than Portland. Pack tire chains in addition to cold weather gear, food and water, and other comforts to keep you happy on a day in the cold. Also be aware that some locations require tickets and gear rental on-site (no personal equipment allowed), while other slopes just provide the snow!
For a great introduction to snow tubing, head to this resort for full-service fun. With a cozy lodge, and snow tubes included with your tubing ticket, the whole family can enjoy a full day of frolicking in the snow. Kids under 42” should try out the Children’s Snow Carousel, a merry-go-round that pulls children around in the snow, while taller kids can head out to the hills. When your crew is tuckered out, take a break in the lodge with a mug of hot cocoa! Be sure to leave personal sleds and snow discs behind– they aren’t allowed on the hills– and check the website for weather conditions that might temporarily close tubing lanes.
$14/person for tubing
Sat. & Sun 9 a.m.- 5p.m.
10755 Cooper Spur Rd
Mount Hood, OR
photo: Tom Markham via flickr
A few extra miles down the road, this unregulated sledding spot is great for free, old-fashioned fun. Bring your own tube or disc (no sleds, toboggans, or skis, please,) and be prepared to trek back to the top once you’ve slid down one of many hills (there’s no conveyor lift here). But that’s part of the fun, right? To make sure the good times keep rolling for your gang, be sure to read safety information posted near the play hill, and consider bringing along helmets for kids under 12.
Free, Sno Park Pass required
30 miles south of Hood River on Oregon Highway 35
This is Portland’s favorite sledding destination, and for good reason. There’s a lot to love, with specially-designed tubes and well-groomed slopes. A conveyor lift makes the ride to the top of the hill almost as fun as the tube ride down, and a tubing ticket gets you into several additional play areas. Frosty’s Playland offers kids under 3 something fun to do while older kids can enjoy the Adventure Park and Extreme Tube Hill. Plus, come back at night for Cosmic Tubing, where LED lights illuminate the slopes for even more downhill exhilaration.
$18-$28/person for 2 hour tubing, other deals and packages available online
Mt Hood Skibowl
87000 U.S. 26
Government Camp, OR
photo: Shawn Harquail via flickr
Since 1927, the Summit Ski area in Government Camp has been providing consistent, family-oriented fun for both beginning and more experienced winter-sport aficionados. Pick up an all-day pass for the dedicated tubing hill, which includes use of a snow-tube, and enjoy a full day of fun. Or, take a short drive east to Snow Bunny, which also offers tubing on weekends and holidays. It’s a little smaller than summit, making it a good option for younger kids. Call ahead for conditions and openings.
$27/person for all-day tubing
90255 Government Camp Loop
Hwy. 26 at Government Camp
Pick a spot, any spot, on this unregulated hill between Mt Hood Meadows and Timberline, about a half mile uphill from the parking lot. It’s free and offers a variety of terrain, but be sure to choose a spot well away from the river, and watch for exposed rocks when snow is low. With beautiful views of Mt. Hood, it’s also a popular destination for snowshoeing. Get there early on snowy weekends to grab a parking spot.
Free, Sno Park Pass required
Oregon Highway 35 approximately 4 miles north of US Highway 26.