23 Jan Terrific Oregon Sledding Destinations
A child carrying a round plastic saucer marches up a snow-covered hill to a predetermined launch pad. His eyes radiate happiness as warm steam exits his mouth into the crisp winter air. The slippery vehicle gets placed beneath his bottom—carefully, so as not to launch prematurely. The child centers his body on the saucer, grabs hold of the handles and readies for lift off. With a side-to-side shimmy—or a gentle nudge on the back—the child begins to careen down the hill, slow at first, then picking up speed. While only a few seconds long, the run manages to produce an exhilaration seldom experienced in life. A tinge of fear rounds out the emotions as the ride carries his breath away. There’s barely enough time to replay the excitement—both in his mind and to anyone within earshot—before gathering
himself and repeating the steps.
As an adult, it’s difficult to remember the first time you went sledding—perhaps on a ski hill during a Christmas vacation, or at a local golf course’s frozen sand trap on a school’s rare snow day. What you don’t forget is that euphoric feeling during those 10 seconds of pure freedom.
Through the years, clothes have changed from layers of cotton to fleece and down. Modes of transport have expanded to include large, donut-shaped inner tubes. Even ski resorts have cashed in on the family fun by offering tubing parks for those who aren’t hitting the slopes. But the activity’s core has not changed: climb the hill, sled down the hill, repeat. This winter, head to one of these local—and not so local—sledding hills to show your kids how it’s done.
Hoodoo Autobahn Tubing Park
Central Oregon’s most family-friendly ski resort presents what they call “five acres of gravity-fed excitement.” Six 800 foot-long tracks that vary in terrain and pitch are all accessed by a rope tow. For a little bit less excitement, check out the Snow Bunny Sled Hill located near the Easy Rider Lift.
Cost: All day rate: $25/youth, $30/adult
Mark’s Creek Sled Hill
This remote location offers a steep grade and elevation for sledding as well as a large communal fire pit for those preferring to sip hot chocolate.
Directions: Head east on Highway 26, 28 miles out of Prineville.
Cost: Sno-Park permit is required.
Mt. Bachelor Snowblast Tubing Park
Located at the bottom of Mt. Bachelor’s Red Chair, the Snowblast Tubing Park boasts an 800-foot rolling run and a pull rope to get you up the hill. Understandably busy, the tubing park usually sells out on busy weekends and holidays.
Directions: Head up Century Drive (Highway 46) 22 miles until it dead ends into Mt. Bachelor.
Cost: Adult: $25 (two hour session), $45 (all day)
Youth: $20 (two hour session), $35 (all day)
SHARC Winter Tubing Hill
Available during select dates between November and February, Sunriver’s SHARC Winter Tubing Hill offers three runs of varying steepness.
Directions: Head south on US-97 to exit 153. Follow the signs to SHARC.
Cost: Included with SHARC admission, or $10 for all-day riding.
This king of Central Oregon sledding hills is aptly situated in the middle of a “snow play” area. Wanoga’s sledding hill stretches several hundred yards and parallels the parking lot, which also serves Nordic skiers setting out to ski the dog-friendly trails. A warming shelter, bathroom facilities and food cart round out the amenities. But be forewarned, on a snowy weekend or holiday, the sledding hill can be crowded.
Directions: Head up Century Drive (Highway 46) to milepost 15. Take a left into Wanoga and another left towards the sledding hill.
Cost: A Sno-Park permit is required. $25/year, $9/3-day pass, $4/daily pass.
As the only recommended tubing site at Santiam Pass, the sno-park provides tree-cleared runs at an elevation of 4800 feet.
Directions: Drive west out of Sisters on Highway 20 to Forest Road 893, near the crest of Santiam Pass.
Cost: Sno-Park permit is required.
White River Sno-Park on Highway 35 between Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline is a popular spot for free sledding.
Crater Lake National Park
allows self-contained sledding in a beautiful winter locale. In the winter, only the south entrance road is plowed and open.