We’re lucky to live in a place surrounded by many different options to take a winter day trip. Mt. Hood is the obvious choice, but summits in SW Washington, the Central Oregon Santiam pass, and even the coastal range of the Tillamook Forest all provide a great place to find some fluffy white stuff.
There’s nothing like heading to the mountains to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe, and you winter sport adventurers probably already have your favorite go-to places, but what about a family with young kids who just wants to slide down some small hills or make snow angels? PMB has your kid-approved list and details of the closest places to Portland to get your family snow sledding fix.
Depending on annual snow pack, most sno-parks are open between November and March. A few charge for entrance, sled rentals, and refreshments. Please see websites, or call resorts directly for up-to-date information on prices, hours, and closures.
An ODOT Sno-Park permit will also be required. You can buy a daily permit from the DMV for $4, or many grocers and gas stations on the drive up sell them for less than $10.
- White River Sno-Park: About 4 miles north of US 26 on Oregon 35 just south of Mt. Hood Meadows, the White River Sno-Park is great for easy, fun and free sledding. It’s quite popular, and often crowded, but larger than most the other free areas. Vault toilets are available. Bring your own sleds, tubes or discs.
- Little John Sno-Park: At 3,700 feet just 30 miles south of Hood River on Oregon 35, this free sno-park is fairly low in elevation. A warming shelter and vault toilet are also there. Bring your own inner tubes and plastic discs/sleds; no wooden/metal sleds allowed.
- Trillium Lake: A few miles past Government Camp is a popular, free sno-park favorited by many long-time snowaholics. It’s very primitive with no warming shelter or restrooms, and can get crowded on snowy winter weekends. Bring your own sleds, tubes or discs.
- Summit Ski Area: Mt. Hood’s oldest ski area, just east of Government Camp, also has a large tubing hill. They are open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week. All- day tube tickets are $20 per person (5+ years) on weekends and holidays, and $15 on weekdays. Only rental tubes allowed. The heated lodge has restrooms and dining.
- Snow Bunny: Two miles east of Summit, this sledding hill is only “officially” open on weekends and holidays for $15 per person (5+ years). Only rental tubes allowed. No restrooms.
- Cooper Spur Mountain Resort: A small resort on the north side of Mount Hood, Cooper Spur is only open on weekends and holidays. In addition to ski lifts, they offer a tubing center with one lane, and a rope-towed snow carousel for children under 42”. Four hour tubing tickets, either morning or afternoon, are $12 (all ages). Only rental tubes allowed. The heated resort offers lodging, dining and restrooms.
- Skibowl East: Also known as Multorpor Sno-Park, this low elevation ski area is closest to Portland and has a sledding/tubing hill. $25 for two hours, $19 for children under 48” (35” and under are free). Evening sled rates are also available. A snow playland for children under 60” is free with ticket purchase. Only rental tubes allowed. The heated lodge has restrooms and dining.
- Santiam Sno-Park: Located 5 miles east of Santiam Junction between Salem and Bend, on Highway 126/20, this free sno-park sits at 4,800 feet in elevation and has a tubing hill popular with families. Public restrooms on site. Bring your own sleds, tubes or discs.
- Autobahn Tubing Park: Part of the Hoodoo ski resort in the Santiam Pass, this sled hill is only open on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Tickets are $20 all day for children 12 and under, $25 for 13+, OR pay only $14 per person (all ages) for up to ten runs. Only rental tubes allowed. For a cheaper option, try their Snow Bunny sled hill near the ski slopes. $5 per person (all ages, all day) and you can use your own sled/tube/disk or rent their kiddie tubes for another $5 (sharing is allowed). Heated lodge with restrooms and dining.
- As an alternative to the Oregon Cascades, SW Washington has a few sno-parks just as close to Portland as Mt. Hood. Check out Oldman Pass and others in Skamania County, just over the river from Hood River.
- You can also find some playable snow in the coastal range of the Tillamook State Forest on highways 26 and 6 between Hillsboro and the Oregon coast. There might not be any official sno-parks there, but that just means you don’t need a Sno-Park permit! And if you’re up for making a weekend of it, stop and play in the snow on the way to your next midwinter beach vacation!