Once you make it to the snowy top of one of these sledding parks, it’s all downhill from there.
THE SLEDDING HILL I grew up with in the Midwest was steep, or at least that’s how I remember it. Every winter, I would bundle up and walk with some combination of my dad, sister and friends to the local park, dragging our sleds behind us. Once there, we would huff and puff our way up the hill. The speed while sledding was worth the effort, and we did it over and over, sometimes crashing on the way down. Triumph was making it all the way to the bottom … although then you had to climb back to the top again.
Seattle has an abundance of hills — and not so much snow. On rare snowy days, you might be able to sled on your own hilly street. Most of the time, we need to drive to play. But it’s worth the effort, both the drive and the burn in your legs from climbing hills. You’ll get tons of exercise making your way uphill through snow, particularly if you are with kids, and you are toting the sled.
Sledding gets you outdoors into fresh air and tops it off with exercise, too. That’s my idea of a great winter day.
If you’re ready to make the effort to sled, here are some options.
Pacific NW Magazine: Outdoor Living 2017 editionPick up a hard copy on Sunday, Feb. 19 for a Great Plant Picks poster on the inside cover.
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- A look at Dale and Leslie Chihuly’s minimalist garden
- There’s nothing polished or perfect in this Mount Baker garden
- For garden sanctuaries like these, simple design is key
- How to make your own pho at home
- Get outside — and climb up high — for sledding, a fun-filled exercise
- A peek up Pike Street pre-Interstate 5
- How climate change is affecting Washington winemaking
Cost: Permits required, including a daily Sno-Park permit and a daily or annual Discover pass, or a seasonal Sno-Park permit plus groomed-trails pass.
The Hyak Sno-Park is closest to the city and thus the busiest place to sled. The parking lot does fill up with ambitious sledders. That said, the cost is relatively low, and the hill is one of the bigger ones nearby. It also has cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails nearby for other winter fun. It’s an easy, close spot to get your snow fix.
Summit at Snoqualmie Tubing Center
If you’re looking for a more adventurous sledding experience, head to the tubing center at the Summit at Snoqualmie. Your ticket includes a tube and a lift, or you can walk up the hill each time for a more vigorous experience. The center has eight groomed lanes to optimize speed! Tubing also tends to fill up, so reserve in advance.
Paradise at Mount Rainier
Cost: National Park Service entrance fee.
If you think of Paradise as a summer-only place to visit, consider heading there for a winter adventure. The upper parking lot is open in the winter for snow play and sledding (soft sleds, tubes and saucers only), with an epic vista on a clear day. The Jackson Visitor Center is open on weekends in the winter, and is a good spot to grab a cup of hot chocolate and warm up after sledding.
Lake Wenatchee State Park
Cost: Permits are required, including a daily Sno-Park permit and a daily or annual Discover pass, or a seasonal Sno-Park permit plus groomed-trails pass.
If you’re willing to head farther afield for smaller crowds, the south park at Lake Wenatchee State Park has a long, groomed sledding hill — walk to the top, and sled or tube down. You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful woods around the park, and Lake Wenatchee is a short walk from the sledding area. Other winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog-sledding.