Snow tubing near Los Angeles? Why not! Living near the beach doesn't mean sand sledding is our only winter sport. A short drive up into the mountains allows our SoCal kids the magical mixture of snow, cold air, velocity, and hot cocoa that makes sledding and snow tubing near Los Angeles endlessly enticing. Skiing is great, but there's nothing quite like good, old-fashioned sledding.
Now, if you've got a kiddo like mine who gets nervous and a little motion sick on the steep hills, you might prefer our roundup of places where you can find snow near Los Angeles for some (stationary) snowball fights and snowman-building. That fabulous list, plus the best local ski resorts, and ski destinations in our Winter Activities Guide for Los Angeles Kids.
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Our list includes established snow play destinations as well as some off-the-beaten-path places to try. Most of the established spots are open on holidays—assuming there is snow or the ability to make it. Always call or check the websites before heading out. The off-the-beaten-path spots don't produce snow, so for those you just have to keep an eye on the weather.
Snow Tubing near Los Angeles in the Mountains
Admission: Prices vary by day, (around $70 on weekends for the snow pass with scenic ride). Must be over 40" to snow tube.
Mt. Baldy has recently introduced a Snow Play Park. An all-day pass includes a round-trip Scenic Lift Ticket and unlimited day access to the Snow Play Park. And yes that includes tubing and sledding with multiple tubing lanes — some as long as 150 feet! What's not to love? Especially since it's the closest skiing/tubing resort to LA.
RELATED: Where To Find Snow near Los Angeles
Mountain High's snow tubing has great views. Photo by Mommy Poppins
Hours: Open on select weekdays starting the week before Christmas and seven days a week during the holidays (check for specific dates).
Admission: All activities pass: $79 (all ages), Tubing, Sledding & Snow Play: $59 (all ages), Children Under 32" are just $30 and have access to Snow Play only. Parking is $20.
Heralded as Southern California's closest winter resort with no mountain driving, Mountain High is worth a visit. The Tubing Park—Southern California's largest facility—is located at the North Resort and has a very basic bar/restaurant adjacent. Moving carpet lifts mean no lugging up the hill, and tubers get a solid push down the slope by attendants who are happy to strive for the longest run possible. Check out the real-time cameras. (While you're at it, check out our review of Mountain High's Children's Ski Academy).
RELATED: Skiing and Snowboarding Day Trips from Los Angeles
Belly flop tubing! Photo courtesy of Snowdrift Snow Tubing Park
Admission: $20/hour per person. Children under 36" are free with a paying adult. Parking is $10. Cash only—there's an ATM on-site.
No fancy lifts here, but there are stairs for your climbing convenience. Snowdrift claims to be Southern California's largest and oldest tubing park. Follow the rules, and you're in for a blast. Everyone who enters Snowdrift must have a signed release. You can download one off the internet and have it filled out ahead of time to get playing faster. Snowdrift is still getting ready for the season as of our publication date, so check the website for opening dates.
RELATED: Where To Go Sand Sledding in Los Angeles
Who says SoCal isn't a winter wonderland? Photo courtesy of Snowdrift Snow Tubing Park
Admission: Snow Play With Magic Carpet General Admission Day Session: $40, Night Session: $40. Children 36" - 42" tall $25. Children under 36" are not allowed past the Snow Play gate.
Sledding luxury? The Alpine Slide just might have it. What could be more welcoming than a Plexiglass-covered (i.e. toasty warm) Magic Carpet lift that carries you back up the hill after your ride? And lights for evening sliding? This tubing destination requires a long car ride, but thanks to regular snow (and the natural stuff) the conditions are almost always fine. Bonus: you might get to see a bald eagle overhead.
Alpine is another sledding spot that requires a signed waiver, and doing that on the premises means signing on a public iPad. If you prefer, you can download, print, and sign a copy from Alpine's website before arriving. Only cash is accepted on-site, though ATMs are available.
RELATED: Outdoor Ice Skating at the Best Seasonal Ice Rinks in Los Angeles
Sledding at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Photo by Jeremy Miles/CC BY 2.0
Admission: Adults $29.95; Children (3-12) $17.95; Seniors $27.95; Under 3 free
Prices and hours of operation are subject to change without notice due to weather conditions.
Hop aboard the Tram in the desert and take a truly breathtaking slow climb up the mountain with a 360-degree panoramic view of Palm Springs and beyond. Arrive in an Alpine winter wonderland. Bring your own sled and run and romp to various makeshift hills. Snowman building and snowball throwing are encouraged. While this is doable as a day trip, think about staying and playing in Palm Springs for an overnight getaway. Palm Springs is glorious with kids in the winter!
San Diego County may be a bit of a trek. But hey, there's lodging, ample space for stomping, and sledding during the snow season.
Admission: Prices range from $14-$52 depending on date and full- or half-day passes.
While the resort is best known for its skiing, Snow Valley Mountain Resort also has Snow Play where sleds are provided! The Snow Play area is serviced by the lift on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. Snow Valley boasts the longest sledding runs in the region.
Go tubing in the middle of Costa Mesa! Photo courtesy of PSQ Productions and Night of Lights OC
Snow Tubing Near Los Angeles Without the Mountains
Admission: Open daily through January 1, 2023; tickets are $25 and up.
In addition to tons of other festival activities, kids can now snow tube at Winter Fest OC in Costa Mesa! Hosted, as ever, at the OC Fair & Event Center, the winter wonderland announced its brand new 150-foot ice tubing slide. There's also an immersive walk-through light display, ice skating, a market with food and drinks, interactive activities, and great photo-ops.
9. Snow N Glow — Ventura and Del Mar
Admission: Open select dates through December 26, 2022 in Ventura and through January 1, 2023 in Del Mar. Open on weekends only and daily the week of Christmas. Tickets are $15 and up.
With two locations, you don't have to travel up into the mountains to enjoy a snow tube ride! The limited-time holiday experience has two locations, one in Ventura and one in Del Mar. In addition to unlimited snow tube rides, there is music, food, a holiday light trail, and a snow play area.
Make Your Own Trails for Sledding Near Los Angeles
Save a little money, perhaps, or avoid possible crowds and lines by seeking your own hilly sled trails. Here are a few options:
Acres and acres (more than 2,000) to roam and sled and cross-country ski. Check the website for specific spots to head for. A Forest Service Adventure Pass is required. Passes are $10 per day.
11. Mount Pinos — Los Padres National Forest
If there's been rain in the city in December or January, there's a good chance that Mount Pinos has snow for the sledding, only 90 minutes away. A one-day pass for parking in the forest covers a whole carload of snow lovers. We recommend calling the Mt. Pinos Ranger District office before making the drive to make sure roads and restrooms are open.
And away we go! Photo courtesy of Mt. Baldy
Things to Bring and Consider
Sledding is usually harmless, and when you're on your own without a tubing attendant, common sense keeps it that way. Make sure you know the sled's path, so you don't end up colliding with a tree, rock, or fence. And always monitor your kids for fatigue and cold. Have water and snacks handy; trudging through the snow builds an appetite. Have a blanket in the car in case traffic is thick on the ride home (and kids are cold or wet). Otherwise, throw caution to the chilly wind and let the snowy decline carry you away.
Sports stores and Target sell inexpensive sleds, tubes, and saucers. But you can also get creative and supply your own. Cafeteria trays work (I’ve used them) as do boogie boards and trash can lids. A piece of thick cardboard will even do in a pinch.
Also, remember: decent snow for sledding means possible snow and ice on the roads as well. Check the local weather and road conditions (or call 800.427.ROAD) before heading out, as you may need chains for your tires.
- Wear layers so that you can start warm and peel off clothing as needed. Waterproof clothing is best.
- Bring a change of clothes; sledding and tubing can make for wet clothing.
- Wear sunscreen. UVB rays are stronger the higher the elevation. Even though it may be cold outside, the winter sun still reaches your skin.
Originally published December 23, 2011