As the snow starts falling on Mt. Hood, skiers, snowboarders and all sorts of other snow enthusiasts start making their annual trek to popular mountain ski resorts. If you're anything like me, however, skiing isn't your thing. Sure it's a great sport, but I fall a lot and I'm getting to the point where it takes a long time to recover from that. But the kids still want to play in the snow, and if I'm honest, so do I. Fortunately there are sledding and tubing options on Mt. Hood.
Mt. Hood Skibowl has an epic tubing hill. They even take the difficult part out of the equation: walking back up the hill for another ride. You can slide on down, then take the conveyor back up to the top, saving your legs for more runs. Weekend nights get even more amazing with Cosmic Tubing, a laser-lit rock show on the snow. Skibowl also has one of the most advanced snow-making systems out there, so even in low snow years the hill will still be open.
While Timberline Lodge & Ski Area is an iconic attraction on Mt. Hood, they don't allow tubing or sledding on their hills. Makes sense. I'd probably get in the way of someone who actually knows how to ski or board and then feel bad about the resulting pileup. Fortunately, Timberline does allow sledding and tubing at Summit Ski Area, which they purchased last year. Summit is just a bit further down the mountain with access located at the eastern edge of Government Camp. Tubing passes include a tube rental, making it as budget-easy as it is a family-friendly fun time.
Another popular spot is Snowbunny Sliding Area Sno Park. Located in the Mt. Hood National Forest, they don't charge any day-use fees from November through May. You will need to have a valid ODOT Sno-Park parking permit, however. The entrance is located 2.5 miles east of Timberline Road, so it's pretty close to other options. It's also a popular starting point for a lot of snowshoe and cross-country ski trips into the Mt. Hood National Forest.
A little further east of Government Camp and Snowbunny is the White River SnoPark. With one of the largest parking lots of any day-use recreation area on Mt. Hood, it's also popular for tubing and sledding, as it offers a lot of options. As the name would suggest, it's located along the White River. While you'll want to keep the sledding activity away from the river, it does make for some truly gorgeous photo ops, so bring the camera when you bring the kids. You will also need a Sno-Park Permit for this location.
All that sledding is sure to get you a bit tired at the end of the day. Fortunately there are plenty of lodging options on Mt. Hood. From rustic cabins to homey vacation rentals and even a full service resort, the options are almost endless. Hope you have a great time on the hill!