What: White River West Sno-Park
Where: Hwy. 35 at Mt. Hood (about 4 miles north of Hwy. 26)
Who: All ages
When: Sunrise to sundown whenever there is snow
Why: Inexpensive winter fun with a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood
Cost: $4 for an Oregon Sno-Park permit
After weeks of no snow, the Mt. Hood area finally turned white last week. Yesterday we joined my sister’s family up at White River West Sno-Park for some serious sledding.
White River is pretty basic—hills, trails, and the small river. But it has a killer view of Mt. Hood and diverse terrain that makes it a popular spot for sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and short-distance snowboarding. Fortunately the sno-park is large enough that even on busy days you can still easily find a place to play.
There are public restrooms and plenty of parking (200 spots), but you’ll need to pay for an Oregon Sno-Park permit ($4 from a DMV, resort, or retail store in the mountain towns). The parking lot is right next to the sledding hills, which is a plus when your small kids are dragging their 15-pound snow boots around.
Our group ranged from toddlers to teenagers to adults, and we all had a blast. There are small hills for the little kids, and large hills for the braver folk. We brought sleds and a snowboard, but we wished we’d brought tubes—people were flying on them!
White River is also really easy to get to. From Highway 26, turn north on Hwy. 35. Drive about 4 miles and you’ll see the sno-park on your left (just look for the signs).
A word of warning: Sledding on the east side can send you right into the river, so with small children it’s best to stick to the west side. You’ll also need to be careful of rocks and boulders if the snowfall isn’t deep (my husband found a rock with his tailbone, and he doesn’t recommend it). You’ll also have more fun if you dress in layers and wear proper snow gear.