Best Places to Go Sledding in Colorado
By Emily Krempholtz
If you grew up anywhere snow and hills are common, you probably have some childhood memories of barreling down the hill on a sled, maybe with friends or siblings or your parents. Maybe you fell off halfway down and rolled your way to the bottom, or maybe you raced with someone else or competed to see how far you’d get.
Sledding as an adult can be just as much fun, whether you’re taking your own kids or enjoying a day outside with your friends, and in Colorado, where our snow is as plentiful as our slopes, your options for sledding are practically endless.
If you bring your sled to a ski resort or a designated sledding hill, you might even find it’s a much more glamorous experience than you remember from your childhood memories—many established sledding and tubing hills have lifts so you don’t even need to lug your stuff up that hill.
Don’t Have a Sled of Your Own?
That’s okay! If you’re on a ski resort, check out the rental shop—they’ll set you up with a sled, toboggan, or inflatable tube in no time. Most local outdoor stores will do the same, so if you don’t own your own, you can still get in on the fun by renting a sled almost anywhere in Colorado. Some sledding and tubing hills even provide everything you need. Now get out there and sled!
Hidden Valley - Rocky Mountain National Park
Hidden Valley is the one area of Rocky Mountain National Park where sledding is allowed. There are no equipment rentals offered on-site, but if you don’t have a sled of your own you can rent one from most outdoor equipment shops in nearby Estes Park. Hidden Valley has a gentle, fun hill where sledders have the right of way, and a fully-equipped restroom with running water at the bottom of the hill. On weekends during the winter, there is even a warming hut so you can thaw out between rides down the hill.
Dutch Henry Tubing Hill - Leadville
This local favorite sledding hill is open from December to March, with four lanes for you to try, each of which have varying heights and slopes. There’s a small rental hut where you can pick up a snow tube to use for your visit, with affordable per-hour fees (and a discount if you’re a resident!). If you have your own tube, the hill is 100% free.
High Country Tubing Park - Pagosa Springs
This excellent tubing hill at High Country Lodge is perfect for those of you who don’t own your own sledding tube, because they provide everything you need right there! Just bring a smile and be ready to have fun! At High Country Tubing Park, you’ll need to make reservations before you go, so check out their website to see their availability for the 2021 season.
Ellefson Park - Vail
Eagle’s Nest Snow Tubing Hill at Vail Resort gets all the glory, but this year, with COVID restrictions making a day at the resort a bit trickier, and possibly your wallet a little bit tighter, why not check out nearby Ellefson Park instead? Ellefson Park in Vail has a big slope that’s great for sledding, with a long flat catch area at the bottom so you can safely slow down after flying down that hill. Best of all—it’s completely free! Nearby Big Horn Park also has a couple of good sledding hills that are popular with locals, as well as a play area for kids if they get tired of sledding or need a break.
Yee-Haw Hill at Saddleback Ranch - Steamboat Springs
Located just a short drive from Steamboat Springs, Yee-Haw Hill at Saddleback Ranch has three runs you can choose to race down, and a tow system so you don’t have to haul your sled to the top of the hill for more fun. Snow tubes are provided by the ranch, and capacity is limited. One of the best ways to ensure your fun day at Yee-Haw Hill is to make a reservation—you can park at Mt. Werner Transit Center and take a free shuttle to the ranch from there. If you drive yourself to the ranch, there are no reservations, and access to tubes is available on a first-come, first-served basis. When you’ve ridden down the hills to your heart’s content, you can recharge those batteries (and warm up!) in the ranch’s warming lodge, where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a hot drink before heading back out to do it all over again!
Firecracker Hill - Telluride
On the south side of Telluride Town Park, you’ll find Firecracker Hill, a free, one-lane sledding hill that’s been beloved by locals for generations. The climb up is not too difficult, and the ride down is slick and fast. If you’re looking to rent a sled, the local Nordic Center offers rentals, as well as Ace Hardware in downtown Telluride.
Adventure Point, Keystone
Snow tubing at Adventure Point, part of Keystone Resort, means multi-lane runs, tubes provided by the resort, and a convenient lift to get you up that hill faster and with less effort, so you can save your energy for screaming and laughing on your way back down. Reservations for Adventure Point are $45 per person for a one hour session, and can be purchased online or from one of the resort’s Play Experts.
Ken Caryl Sledding Hill - Littleton
If you’re in the Front Range, sometimes it can be a hassle to get all the way out to the mountains for some sledding, especially if you know you’re going to run into ski traffic on I-70. But luckily, there is some fantastic sledding right in the Front Range, like Ken Caryl Sledding Hill, an undeveloped park with a large slope that’s perfect for sledding in the winter, especially if you live near Denver.
Marmot Hill at Hesperus Ski Area - Durango
Located on the western slope of the lower mountain, Marmot Hill is perfectly suited for snow tubing, with many lanes so you can race with your family and friends. Marmot Hill is even open at night, so you can choose to go sledding after dark for a completely different experience. Tubes for a single rider can be rented for $12, and tickets can be purchased outside the Lodge.
Know Before You Go
Before you bundle up and get the kids packs into the car, make sure you know what you’re in for when it comes to sledding. If you’re going to a designated sledding or tubing hill, make sure you check whether you need a reservation, and whether they have any particular COVID regulations in place. If you’re planning on going with young children, check your destination’s rules, because some sledding hills don’t allow children under a certain age or height.
As a general rule, it’s a lot more fun to go sledding or tubing on an already-slick slope, but if you do decide to try it outside of a designated area, always be aware of surrounding wildlife, and make sure you are not on private property. If you are, be sure that you have permission from the owner to be sledding there.
Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, grab your jackets and mittens, and maybe a thermos of hot cocoa. Get on out there and enjoy some of this winter wonderland!