If you’re looking for a different winter activity to do with your family, consider one of the following spots for a day of snowplay.
Be mindful of your fellow sledders and outdoor lovers, and always follow the proper Covid etiquette around others. Wear a face covering, maintain social distancing, and stay home if you feel ill. Along with Covid safety, remember to park responsibly.
- Purchase a durable sled that can handle the fun and won’t break into pieces. Look for wooden, metal, or inflatable sleds – they’ll hold up the best!
- Rent a sled or saucer from a Truckee-Tahoe retailer. Just here for a day? View a list of rental locations in this How To Sled guide.
- Pack out your broken sled and know how to properly dispose of it. Recycle it if you can or toss it in the trash.
The Truckee River Regional Park is your one-stop-shop for family fun in the snow. Here you’ll find the Truckee Ice Rink, open for public skate and other programs, as well as a new sledding hill (conditions dependent) just around the corner. Parking is easy and convenient, and there’s no end to flat open fields to build a snowman or nooks and crannies to wage a competitive snowball fight. Those wanting to lace up their skates at the Ice Rink should make a reservation online ahead of time.
Kids can enjoy all of the snowplay activities here, like sledding, tubing, snowman building, snowball fighting, and more. There’s a fun sledding hill with monitored tubing lanes, and best of all, you don’t have to pack a thing – sleds and inner tubes are included in the price of admission. This is a great place to bring small children, with gentle hills that are just steep enough for little ones to feel an exhilarating thrill. Face masks must be worn at all times and reservations are required, make one online. Learn more about Tahoe Donner Snowplay Covid-19 policies.
If you want more of an adventurous feel to your snowplay, visit the Donner Summit SNO-PARK. You won’t find any manicured runs here, and you’ll need to bring your own sledding gear. What you will find are endless nooks and crannies for epic snowball fights and the possibility of your own private hill – if you’re willing to hike for it.
Don’t forget your SNO-PARK pass! They are required to park so make sure to buy one online before you go. This winter, keep an eye out for friendly US Forest Service rangers who will be on-site Friday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. to help alleviate parking issues. On weekends, parking will be limited to 100 cars and as cars leave, US Forest Service staff will let more in.
The best way to enjoy the Donner Summit SNO-PARK is to arrive early and display your parking pass on your dash. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, just in case parking is full. When that happens, check out the other great snowplay areas on this list!
There is so much fun to be had at Soda Springs Resort. Families will love Planet Kids, a snow playground located just across from the ski resort. There are snow “rides,” such as a tubing carousel, and lots of open space for snowball fights, snowman building and whatever else your imagination can think up. While the little ones will enjoy the gentler terrain at Planet Kids, older kids will love spending the day at Tube Town which has up to ten groomed lanes for tubing. Make sure to make a reservation online ahead of time. Face coverings and gloves are required. Soda Springs Resort Covid information.
Enjoy a peaceful escape to Johnson Canyon, a quiet forest with options for everyone who wants to play in the snow. There are gentle hills for sledding, flat areas for making a snowman, and lots of tall pines to take cover behind during an epic snowball fight. Caltrans and California Highway Patrol have begun to plow the Wendin Way Trailhead which means access to this gorgeous canyon just got a whole lot easier!
You won’t find a ton of sledding hills at Donner Memorial State Park, but it sure is one of the most scenic spots in Truckee-Tahoe to play in the snow! Just a short walk will bring you down to the beach where you can marvel at the frozen lake (when temperatures allow) and make a snowman with Donner Summit as your backdrop. Wide-open trails and vistas give it an “off the beaten path” feel, making it an ideal location for an intimate family adventure in the quiet of the State Park’s forest setting.
Saturday nights are for disco tubing under the lights! Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ SnoVentures Activity Zone comes to life every Saturday from 5-8 pm with colorful LED lights, lasers and live DJs. For a unique family-friendly activity, you can’t beat the thrill of spinning down the lanes under the stars and fun lights. Reservations are required so get your ticket online ahead of time and don’t forget your two-layer face mask.
Did you know that Truckee has an abundance of dog-friendly winter trails that are plowed in winter and clear of snow? There are 21 miles of trail where you can get out for a refreshing walk with your pup, go on a crisp run, or push a stroller. Click here for the complete map!
Siobhan traveled the American West as a National Park Ranger before setting down roots in Truckee. Outdoor adventure is her bread and butter and most days you can find her skiing, trail running, or backpacking. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @siokenney.