Sledding, Tubing & Snow Play Spots Within Two Hours of Sacramento
Sacramento is smack dab in the middle of some of the best outdoor recreation in the state, including Sierra snow. But you don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy California’s winter wonderland (although we do have excellent ski resorts nearby too). There are several dedicated snow parks designed just for sledding, tubing and even snowmobiling. And you don’t have to spend hours on curvy mountain roads to join in on the fun — many of these spots are within a two-hour drive of Sacramento. So, bundle up, fill a thermos with hot cocoa and head up the hill!
Photo courtesy hmschl from Pixabay
The state of California operates 18 snow parks, from Sierra County to as far south as Fresno. More than a half dozen are within a two-hour drive of Sacramento. These are protected areas with groomed runs, parking, and, in many cases, restrooms. Permits are required and can be ordered online or purchased at nearby vendors locations for $5 a day.
The California Sno-Parks closest to Sacramento include Donner Summit Sno-Park, Echo Lake Sno-Park, Blackwood Canyon Sno-Park, Taylor Creek Sno-Park, Iron Mountain Sno-Park and Hope Valley Sno-Park. Most allow for general snow play, tubing, sledding and cross-country skiing. Blackwood Canyon, Hope Valley and Iron Mountain also allow snowmobiling. Note there are no rentals at California Sno-Parks, so bring your own equipment!
Photo courtesy Soda Springs
Just an hour and a half from Sacramento, Soda Springs Mountain Resort is best known for its skiing and snowboarding. But they also have several options for snow play and tubing. Tube Town features groomed runs — up to 10, to be exact — plus a 400-foot lift so you don’t have to haul your tube up the hill yourself. For younger kids, Planet Kids has a snowy playground and plenty of space to roam. Tickets start at $25 and include tube rental (no personal tubes or sleds permitted).
Just over an hour from Sacramento, the Nyack Snow Park is an easy and affordable option for a day of snow play. Gentle hills and rolling, snow-covered paths make it perfect for young children. No rentals are available, so bring your own, or pick up a plastic saucer or sled (even mittens!) at the neighboring gas station. Parking is $20, otherwise there’s no cost to play.
Photo courtesy Brian Walker Photography/Sierra-at-Tahoe
At Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort, Blizzard Mountain is an adrenaline-pumping adventure without the skis. There are two lift-accessible tubing lanes, a sledding area and plenty of places to throw snowballs. Tubing tickets start at $40 and include tube rentals and lift tickets, while all-day snow play starts at $20/day.
Photo courtesy Tahoe Donner
Tahoe Donner is another good bet for a day in the Sierra. Tahoe Donner Snowplay offers monitored, groomed tubing lanes and included use of tubes, sleds and other snow toys. They also offer special events throughout the season, like snowman-building contests, snow-bowling competitions and snowball-launching challenges for the whole family. Prices start at $23 for kids and $35 for adults.
Just off I-80 near Soda Springs, Kingvale Resort is a no-frills spot to enjoy a little snow play. You can bring your own sled or buy one there and race down one of several groomed runs. Need some snow gear? You can also buy gloves, hats, snow pants and snow boots as well. Parking is $20 per day (cash only) plus $15 per person for entry to the snow park.
Photo courtesy Granlibakken
Further up the hill near Tahoe City is Granlibakken Tahoe, an all-in-one winter adventure for the whole family. There’s a beginner’s ski and snowboard hill, cross-country and snowshoeing trails, and a designated sledding hill. Plastic saucers are provided. There’s also an onsite café so you can fuel up (and warm up) before or after your runs. All-day passes start at $20, and Granlibakken also has lodging if you’d rather make a weekend out of it.
Photo courtesy sk via Flickr
Located at the top of Echo Summit, Adventure Mountain comprises more than 40 acres of pristine alpine wilderness. There are 15 machine-groomed sledding and tubing runs, plus plent of space to make snow angels and snowmen. No need to bring your own gear — Adventure Mountain has sled, tube and helmet rentals. There’s also a lodge where you can warm up by the fire and grab lunch. The day use fee is $35 per vehicle; rentals are extra.