On the way up the hill from the Bay area, or on the way home, here are the spots you can go sledding for free!
Armstrong tract sledding hill, right behind Donner Bliss – Grab a sled or two from the backyard, walk out the door of Donner Bliss, turn left onto the main road and left again for a short block. Off to the right is a hill with a gate a few hundred yards. It takes you up to the water tower and splits off into more trails up the hill. The gate is open and the hill is plowed in the winter, which makes it perfect when snowy because you’ve got a super accessible, sledding-ready hill.
You can also hike, snowshoe and cross-country ski in the trails back here. Lots of locals walk their dogs back here. And you’ll even find people snowmobiling. Once you get to the top, there’s roughly a 1.5-mile loop around that’s great winter or summer. If you ever feel like you’re lost, you can just pick your way down the hill and you’ll find your way back to the houses in our neighborhood.
The second video is across from the Village Nursery off of Donner Pass Road. Park on the street and not in the lot for the shopping center across from the hill, because they tow.
Check out the Donner Bliss calendar to see when you can make make magical sledding memories with your family and friends.
Donner Summit Sno-Park, I-80 Castle Peak/Boreal Resort exit – This is a good spot because there's usually snow even in a dry year, it’s always plowed and there are pit toilets. But it's also very well-known and very busy. Technically, you should get a day permit to park here. They only cost $5 and can be bought at the Boreal Inn, which is on the way once you get off the highway.
A lot of people also park at the Rest Station at the top of the summit and hike just past the parking lot where there are small (very) hills. If you venture much further back and down a steep hill that has very deep snow, you get to a broad flat slope that you can hike up and sled back down on. It can be tricky, so watch your step. See the California State Park site.
Nyack, I-80 Exit 156 – Across from the iconic gas station with the neon eagle sign. $15 parking fee but free to bring your own sled (gas station store sells them if you didn’t bring one). OK for little kids. Gas station has bathroom and fast food facilities. Has snow in good years but not drought years. 5,200 feet elevation. See the Nyack Snow Park site for conditions.
Cisco Grove, I-80 Exit 165 – Has a snow-covered hill that is steeper, wider and more kids, so older kids may prefer it.
Please remember to take any trash...especially broken sleds back home with you!