You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy making snow angels or speeding down a slippery hill. If you're traveling to Oregon during the winter, check out the Sno-Parks near Mount Hood that is tailor-made for wintry family fun. Mount Hood is about a 2.5-hour drive from Portland. Take a road trip through the scenic Columbia River Gorge region on your way to the spectacular Mount Hood, which reaches an elevation of 11.245 feet, making it the highest peak in Oregon. It's climbed more than any other mountain in the world except Japan's Mount Fuji, says National Geographic.
What Is a Sno-Park?
A Sno-Park is an Oregon state park that’s set aside for recreational activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, and sledding. Oregon has Sno-Parks all over the state. For a complete list, visit the website of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
- White River West Sno-Park is a free, undeveloped snow play area at White River on Oregon Highway 35 about 4 miles north of the Oregon Highway 26/Highway 35 junction. It is heavily used so expect crowds during the season and especially on weekends.
- Little John Sno-Park is a free, developed snow play area 11 miles north of the Highway 26/Highway 35 junction. This area is restricted to tubes and discs (no sleds, toboggans, snowmobiles, snowboards or skis).
- SkiBowl is south of Government Camp off U.S. Highway 26. It's part of the Mount Hood National Forest. SkiBowl provides lessons, rentals, and racing; tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, cross-country skiing, and snow play. It's called the best place to go night skiing in the U.S. by Powder Magazine. Choose from four lodging options and eight places to tame your hunger and have an adult beverage after all day out in the snow.
- Summit Ski Area is at Government Camp on U.S. Highway 26, part of the Mount Hood National Forest. Summit offers skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. This is the place to go if there are beginners in your group; it has been teaching people how to ski and snowboard since 1927.
- Snow Bunny Sliding Area Sno-Park is 3 miles east of Government Camp on U.S. Highway 26 in the Mount Hood National Forest. This area is great for kids, with a 20- to 30-foot slope for sledding and tubing. It's also a trailhead for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and snowmobiling at Mount Hood.
Are Sno-Parks Free?
There are no lift tickets or admission prices to pay, but vehicles visiting Sno-Parks between Nov. 1 and April 30 must have a current Sno-Park permit displayed in the windshield; if you have no permit displayed you will get hit with a fine. Sno-Park permits can be purchased for a single day, three consecutive days or an entire season.
Where to Buy a Sno-Park Permit
- DMV offices
- Ski resorts
- U.S. Ranger offices
- Sporting goods stores
- Stores along US 26
Find Out About Snow Conditions
For current conditions, check the website of the Mount Hood National Forest.