Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

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

Some sledding hills are now open

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 visited Hyak for the first time last winter.

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.

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. Many 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: 8 places Seattle families can go cross-country skiing | And also: Teacher’s tips for dressing kids for the great outdoors)

Annette Lake Sno-Park

Open for the 2023-24 season, Washington State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service have opened Annette Lake Sno-Park at exit 47 on I-90 (west of Snoqualmie summit).

Annette Lake Sno-Park has access to ungroomed, marked trails for snow-shoeing and backcountry skiing, plus access for family fun in the snow. There is plowed parking for 40 vehicles, a toilet and an information kiosk. A Sno-Park permit is required.

More detailed directions: Take exit 47 off I-90. Turn right on NF 55 road. Turn left on Asahel Curtis. Continue 0.4 miles to parking area.

Hyak Sno-Park

Easy to reach sled hill in Lake Easton State Park. It is groomed from time to time, (however, currently there is no grooming due to the lack of snow this season). This park 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

Bring your family to the Summit at Snoqualmie for a fun tubing day; this park is now open for the winter 2023/2024 season. Reservations are recommended at this popular park in the bustling ski area closest to Seattle. The ski lifts are open for this season as well.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Elevation: About 3,000 feet

Conditions: summitatsnoqualmie.com/conditions

Activity: Tubing & skiing

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

Ticket prices depend on the day and the time slot. Starting at $19 per person

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. It is open for winter season 2023-2024 for sledding. However, other trails are closed currently.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: About 1,200 feet

Conditions: skileavenworth.com/conditions

Activities: Tubing and sledding.

Ticket prices: $29 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.

Continue to check website to see openings at Leavenworth Ski Hill.

ELSEWHERE:

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).

White Pass

White Pass tubing hill is open daily from December 16-January 1 and then Friday-Sunday and holidays. Tubes are first come first serve.

Driving time from Seattle: 3.5 hours

Elevation: 4,501 feet

Conditions: you can find daily snow conditions here

Activities: Tubing

Fee: $10 for ages 8 and under, $15 for ages 9 and up.

Restrictions: No sleds.

Read More

Downhill ski areas you can drive to from Seattle

Find everything you need to know about sledding at Hyak