While your probably won’t be sitting next to Miss Fanny Bright behind a one-horse open sleigh and chances are good that you won’t find yourself upsot, bells on bobtails will surely be ringing while you and your kid crew sing a sleighing song at one of these picturesque places to take a good ol’ fashioned sleigh ride. If you’re ready to hit the trails, put on your woolies and read on for our list of six spectacular spots where sleigh bells will be ringing this winter.
photo: Red Tail Canyon Farm
Red Tail Canyon Farm – Leavenworth
Seattle kids are lucky because they don’t have to travel all the way to the North Pole to play in a full-fledged Christmas town. Leavenworth is just a little over two hours away and a rock-solid alternative to a trip up to Santa’s village. From street corner to street corner, Leavenworth is filled with holiday decorations, Christmas shops and sweet candy stores, plus a makeshift sledding hill right in the center of town. And of course, you’ll find horse-drawn sleigh rides there as well. Two miles down the road, Red Tail Canyon Farm has sturdy Belgian and Suffolk draft horses guiding sleighs through woods and fields as you sit cozy under blankets breathing in the crisp mountain air. After a 30-minute ride, you and your little elves can get toasty with fire-side hot chocolate. Psst… be sure to bring your selfie stick for photo ops with the horses afterwards.
Hours: Reservations are required. 30-minute sleighrides depart on the hour from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: $20/Adults; $10/Kids (ages 3-12); Free for 2 & under
11780 Freund Canyon Rd.
Leavenworth, Wa 98826
photo: Bruce W. via Yelp
Icicle Outfitters & Guides – Leavenworth
Take a free shuttle or a short drive from Leavenworth to Icicle Outfitters where you’ll meet your guide and some friendly horses geared up and ready to whisk you away across the snow. On a sturdy sled, you’ll head out onto a trail that winds along Icicle River underneath the snow-capped Stuart Mountains. After the 1.5 mile trek (about 30 minutes) you can warm your fingers and toes next to a wooded stove while sipping your choice of coffee, cocoa or spiced cider.
Hours: Reservations are available daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $18.50/Adults; $9.25/Kids (ages 3-12); Free for 2 & under; $32.38/person for a private ride
7935 E. Leavenworth Rd.
Leavenworth, Wa 98826
Advanced Reservation: 1-800-497-3912
Same Day or Next Day Reservation: 509-669-1518
photo: Eagle Creek Ranch
Eagle Creek Ranch – Leavenworth
Giddy up on over to Eagle Creek Ranch and spend a snow-filled afternoon hitching a ride with draft horses, Belgian and Percheron, as they trot their way across two miles of frosty fields. You and your little snow angels will travel through downy-covered meadows and woods snuggled under blankets, then return for a complimentary hot apple cider next to an old-fashioned barrel wood stove. Standard sleighs carry approximately 10 people, or there are private cutters available that hold up to two adults plus an infant.
Hours: Call ahead to make a reservation. Time slots are available from 10:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
Standard Ride Costs: $18.50/Adults; $9.25/Kids (ages 4-12); Free for 3 & under
Private Ride Costs: $80/Couple (additional baby or toddler is fine too!)
7951 Eagle Creek Rd.
Leavenworth, Wa 98826
photo: Mountain Springs Lodge
Mountain Springs Lodge – Leavenworth
Don’t bother telling your kids you’re going home after a day spent lingering in Leavenworth. Mountain Springs Lodge has luxury cabins, suites and lodges for families to stay in, so you can continue your fun for a whole weekend. This popular all-season resort has made its name with zip line adventures they offer in the warmer months, but during the winter there are snowmobile tours, cross-country skiing and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Early risers won’t want to miss the morning breakfast ride, where they are served a farm-style feast before hopping aboard a sleigh. In the evening, families can enjoy a delicious dinner ride that features filet mignon and smoked salmon, plus plenty of over the top side dishes and for the kids there are chicken strips, mac and cheese, hot dogs and fish and chips. Sleigh rides at all other times stop off at the Beaver Creek Barn for hot apple cider next to an open fire. Each ride last about 40 minutes.
Hours: 10 a.m. for the breakfast ride; 4 p.m. for the dinner ride; for all other rides, contact the lodge for available times.
Breakfast Ride Costs: $40/Adults; $25/Kids (ages 3-12); Free for 2 & under
Dinner Ride Costs: $79/Adults; $42/Kids (ages 3-12)
Daily Rides: $25/Adults; $15/Kids (ages 3-12); Free for 2 & under
19115 Chiwawa Loop Rd.
Leavenworth, Wa 98826
photo: Sun Mountain Lodge
Sun Mountain Lodge – Winthrop
Boasting as the largest cross-country ski destination in all of North America, the Methow Valley in Winthrop also has some stout horses that know a thing or two about making their way through the snow. At Sun Mountain Lodge, both visitors and staying guests alike can enjoy an hour-long ride across shimmering, snow-covered fields that flank the edge of the stunning Cascade Mountain range. Kids (and parents, too) can then finish off their tour with hot chocolate inside a heated packers tent. On Saturdays, make your reservation for the dinner ride where you can top off your snowy adventure with an authentic Western-style meal.
Hours: Daily, by appointment
Sleigh Ride Costs: $17/Adults; $12/Kids (ages 12 & under)
Dinner & Sleigh Ride Costs: $54/Adults; $41/Kids (ages 12 & under)
04 Patterson Lake Rd.
Winthrop, Wa 98862
photo: Suncadia Resort
Suncadia Resort – Cle Elum
At Suncadia Resort, the snow is plush and so are the amenities, which is why it’s become a go-to place for Seattle families looking to make a wintertime getaway. During the resort’s Winterfest celebration (through Jan. 1), there are activities galore, including inner tubing, ice skating and even holiday sleigh rides. Percheron horses are there, hitched and ready to take you away on a 20-minute tour of the Suncadia property and its breathtaking views of woodlands and snow-covered slopes.
Hours: Call ahead to make reservations. Rides leave every half-hour from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: $24/Adults; $18/Kids (ages 3-12); Free for 2 & under
3600 Suncadia Trail
Cle Elum, Wa 98922
Have you taken a sleigh ride with your family before? Is it a family tradition? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
— Jeffrey Totey & Rachael Brandon