Finding a safe and relaxing place to play in the snow can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately for those who are close to Highway 50 and Echo Summit there are several great choices for sledding or just goofing around in the snow. At the top of Echo Summit are two developed snow play areas, Adventure Mountain and Sierra at Tahoe's Blizzard Mountain. Both have groomed sliding hills with the convenience of nearby facilities to make your day in the snow enjoyable. A third choice as the summit is to take advantage of the SnoPark.
For those who would rather not drive as far as Echo Summit, there are a number of opportunities for snow play at lower elevations. These places are dependent on the snow level and on the availability of parking.
Echo Lake Sno-Park at Echo Summit serves as a great base for taking children to the snow. Unlike most other spots along the highway, you can be sure the lot will be plowed and there are restrooms available. The Sno-Park is on the north side of Highway 50. The parking lot on the south side of Highway 50 is now part of Adventure Mountain, a snow play area.
Sno-Parks are parking areas maintained in the winter to allow people to park safely and pursue winter activities such as cross-county skiing or snow shoeing. They have pit toilets available. To use a Sno-Park you must have a permit. You can purchase a day permit for $5 or an annual pass (Nov. 1 - May 30) for $25. They are good at any California, Oregon, Washington, or Idaho Sno-Park.
Near Echo Summit you can be purchase Sno-Park permits at the following places:
Adventure Mountain is a snow play resort with 40 acres of machine groomed sledding and play areas. It is located immediately at the top of Echo Summit on the south side of the highway. You can bring your own sleds or rent or buy theirs. For safety reasons, wooden and metal sledding devices are not permitted. Adventure Mountain's store sells toddler's through adult's snow clothing, including boots.
Hours: Weekdays 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Weekends and Holidays 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Prices: $30 cash only per vehicle entry fee which includes parking and use of sledding hill.
Additional fees for oversized vehicles, e.g. RVs, buses, large vans. Drop-offs or Walk-ins are charged the regular parking fee.
2-Person Sled Rental: $12 for the day
Tube Rental: $25 for 2 hours or $30 for the day
Helmet Rental: $8 per day
Snowshoes with Poles Rental: $18 per day
General Information: (530) 659-7217 Recorded Message: (530) 577-4352
Blizzard Mountain is a developed snow play area, part of Sierra at Tahoe ski resort. You can use their beginner sliding hill, play in the snow, and for a little extra rent a tube and take advantage of their lift and the bigger hill.
Hours: Weekends only 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Prices: $15 admission to Blizzard Mountain - snowplay and beginner sliding hill
or $30 for admission + 2 hours of tubing on the tube hill with use of lift and tube rental
2-hour Sessions from 10 AM to 12 PM, 12 PM to 2 PM, and 2 PM to 4 PM
The number of 2-hour lift tickets sold is limited, so arrive early to ensure your time slot. Children under 42 inches are free but will need to be accompanied by an adult.
(530) 659-7453 ext. 208
After roads have been plowed, many small turnouts become available that give access to some nice snow play areas. Be sure to park completely off the highway. Few of these places have restrooms nearby.
While the snow level is usually around 4,000 feet in the winter, it can vary greatly. Snow as low as 2000 feet occurs several times every winter and during warm rain periods the snow line can be as high as 6,000 or 7,000 feet.
When the roads have been cleared of snow you often can find places along Ice House Road. At the end of the road at Loon Lake are parking areas, a warming hut, and restrooms.
When the snow level is unusually low, there are areas of National Forest land around Sly Park where you can play in the snow.
At the north end of Lake Tahoe around Donner Summit (Interstate 80) are a number of wonderful snow play areas for children. Soda Springs is among the best in the state. Sliding hills are also found at Boreal and Tahoe Donner. To find out about all the snow play opportunities, see Around Donner Summit.
On nearby Carson Pass there are four Sno-Parks and lots of little hills just right for sliding. Find the information on Up and Over Carson Pass.
Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway (Highway 4) to the south has two Sno-Parks, both near Bear Valley. The
Bear Valley Cross Country Ski center has a sliding hill. For casual snow play there are numerous places along
Highway 4 to pull over and enjoy the snow.
Get details at Ebbetts Pass Adventures.
Farther to the south on Sonora Pass is Leland High Sierra Snow-Play area, a developed sliding hill complete
with a lodge, sliding equipment, and even lifts. All the information is on
Sonora Pass Vacations.