Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Let’s go sledding! Places to play in the snow around Seattle

Snow is falling in the mountains! Get ready to go play

Update for Winter 2022: It’s an unprecedented year of snowfall and freezing rain, causing the passes (Snoqualmie, Stevens, White and Blewett) to close for hours and sometimes days. According to the Northwest Avalanche Center, all this wintry weather has rated many of our mountain regions as dangerous avalanche zones. Before heading out, check the mountain pass reports on the Washington State Transportation website for pass closures and delays. Call 511 for the most up-to-date highway, pass, and road conditions. Check park openings and closures on the Washington State Park website.  

Be prepared for your trip to the snow! Carry extra water, food, clothing, and blankets in anticipation of slow-downs, crowded parks, and closures.

Also: Read this review from a parent who recently went.

Snow is a wonderful thing. It is gorgeous and useful for building. It can also be wonderfully slippery, allowing people to hurtle down hills in all kinds of conveyances.

Sledding and tubing are ways that kids can explore the potential of snow, using simple, affordable tools that do not require lessons to master. And while you’re there, take some time to build a snow creature, pelt each other with snowballs, catch a snowflake on the tongue, make snow angels and stop and listen to the way sounds travel when the world is covered in white.

Safety reminder: Wear helmets.

2022 disclaimer: COVID precautions should apply. Keep a distance from those not in your household; don’t share snacks or drinks; wear masks; pay attention to shared surfaces.

To sled or to tube

There are two kinds of options listed here: sled hills and tube parks.

With sledding, you use a toboggan or sled or a tube that you buy. Some toboggans and sleds are theoretically possible to steer. Some are not. You don’t need a special track, but you’ll go farther if you are on a hill that has already been sledded on. (A few choice spots are groomed from time to time.) And once you sled down the hill, you have to carry your sled back up the hill.

At a tube park, you go downhill riding a round inflated tube that is provided as part of the ticket price. It is impossible to steer, so places with tubing tend to have specially designed chutes that will send your tube rocketing down without bumping into other people. Once you sled down the hill, you ride some kind of lift, or at least a rope tow, back to the top. For this reason, access to tubing always involves tickets and waivers. It may also require reservations.

Before you go, check the conditions. A number of places take a little while to get enough snow, so they are likely to open later than ski areas tend to. And if they are open, you don’t want to drive two hours to the sledding spot, only to find it is raining or so cold your face hurts.

Here are some local hotspots for families sliding downhill on snow. Driving time estimates are based on leaving Seattle at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning. (More mountain fun: Downhill ski areas you can drive to from Seattle | 8 places Seattle families can go cross-country skiing || And also: Teacher’s tips for dressing kids for the great outdoors)


Hyak Sno-Park

Easy to reach sled hill in Lake Easton State Park. It is groomed from time to time, and has heated bathrooms. There’s a lovely cross-country ski trail nearby. (Make sure you are in the area clearly designated as Hyak Sno-Park — and not at Summit East (Hyak ski hill), which is not safe for sledding.)

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Elevation: About 2,500 feet

Conditions: Recorded message line 509-656-2230

Activity: Tubing hill and designated snow play area.

Open 8 a.m. until dusk daily.

Fees: Each vehicle needs a Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.


Summit at Snoqualmie Tubing Park

Reservations are recommended at this popular park in the bustling ski area closest to Seattle.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Elevation: About 3,000 feet


Activity: Tubing only.

Open Fridays, Saturday, Sundays and holidays, for six two-hour slots per day. Online reservations only this year, no tickets sold onsite.

Ticket prices depend on the day and the time slot.

Age restrictions: The park does not recommend tubing for kids under 3.


Lake Wenatchee Sno-Park

In the summer, Lake Wenatchee is a popular camping getaway. In the snow, there’s still fun to be had. Along with the tubing hill and snow play area, there are also trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: About 1,875 feet

Conditions: Lake Wenatchee State Park’s phone number is 509-763-3101

Activities: Tubing hill and snow play area.

Fees: Each vehicle needs a Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.


Leavenworth Ski Hill

This historic facility, in operation since the 1920s, has a tubing park. There’s also a sled hill at a nearby golf course. Leavenworth Ski Hill also boasts two runs for skiing and snowboarding, along with Nordic trails, snowshoeing and the chance to take a spin on a fat bike, a mountain bike with tires for snow.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: About 1,200 feet


Activities: Tubing and sledding.

Ticket prices: $23 for six tubing runs, use of the sledding hill is $9 per person or $22 for a family of 4.

Restrictions: Tubers under 8 years old must be supervised by an adult. On the sled hill, no sleds with steel runners.

Many facilities closed with no date to reopen. Check website to see openings.


Lots of families have their own “secret,” less, crowded sledding spots. Lucky them! Washington Trails Association mentions a few somewhat “off the beaten path” locations in this blog post (scroll down).

Paradise Snow Play Area (closed until snow conditions allow opening)

Mount Rainier National Park has a sledding hill at its Paradise area. It is closed right now.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: 5,400 feet

Conditions: here

Activities: Sledding

Fee: Entry fee for Mount Rainier National Park is $30 per vehicle.

Restrictions: No wooden toboggans or sleds with metal runners.


White Pass  (Check website for opening days and times. Currently closed due to road closure)

White Pass Ski area, south of Mount Rainier, has a groomed tubing area.

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Elevation: 4,500 feet

Conditions: here

Activities: Tubing

Fee: $10 for ages 8 and under, $13 for ages 9 and up.

Restrictions: No sleds.