There’s something invigorating about spending time in the snow-covered peaks of the High Sierra. Maybe it’s the warm sunshine hitting your face or the crystals glistening below your feet. No matter the reason, it brings out the youthful spirit in all of us. Go sledding, build a snow man or just enjoy the scenery. Here’s a few places to have family fun & snow play in the High Sierra.

Tahoe Donner Resort Community


Tahoe Donner Snowplay
Image appears courtesy: Tahoe Donner Resort Community

If you’re struggling to find a family friendly base camp in Tahoe, you may want to consider the historic town of Truckee. Nestled between world-class ski resorts, it provides a charming downtown and affordable places to eat, stay & play. Speaking of play… the Tahoe Donner resort community is THE spot for families looking for more than ski, ski, ski. Offering downhill, cross-country, sledding (with SLEDS provided), tubing and even a snowball launch, it truly is a one-stop shop for the kiddos.

Leland High Sierra Snow Play Area

Leland Snow Play Area in winter with tubing
Image appears courtesy: Visit Tuolumne

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the biggest & largest snow play dedicated facility on the West Coast is in the High Sierra. 39 miles east of Sonora on Highway 108 is a piece of snowy heaven called Leland High Sierra Snow Play Area. Within its twelve acres, you’ll find well-groomed tubing hills and two rope tows to the top. You’ll even discover a magic carpet to whisk kiddos to the top for downhill fun at a fraction of larger resort prices.

Deadman’s Summit

June Lake

Mono County Snowplay
Winter in the Eastern Sierra is breathtaking – Image appears courtesy: Mono County Economic Development, Tourism and Film Commission

Located halfway between Mammoth Lakes & June Lake on US-395, Deadman’s Summit is a perfect option for those looking for a great sledding hill that’s a little bit off the beaten path but still easily accessible. Not just a snow play area, it also has an interesting history. Named after a decapitated victim found at the summit in 1868, it crosses the northern rim of the Long Valley Caldera, one of the Earth’s largest calderas.

Woolly’s Tube Park & Snow Play Area

Mammoth Lakes

Woollys Tube Park Mammoth Mountain Snowplay
Image appears courtesy: Mammoth Mountain

Ready to glide and slide? Venture over to Woolly’s Tube Park & Snow Play Area in Mammoth Lakes. Home to the LARGEST rope tow specifically for snowtubing, there’s six groomed tubing lanes, a large snow play area to sculpt a snowman and even Woolly’s Tube Rotondo (Merry-Go-Round). The little ones and the young at heart in your family will bask in all the fun. After you’re done playing, you can enjoy a hot cup of cocoa. It will be the “cherry on top” of a day full of winter amusement.

Goat Meadow Trailhead And Snow Play Area

Goat Meadow Snow Play Area just outside of Yosemite National Park
Image appears courtesy: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Located between Fish Camp and Yosemite National Park, the Goat Meadow trailhead is a good choice for snow play on your way to see attractions in the park itself. It’s a great snow play area just steps from your car to access tubing, sledding, and making snow peoples. Be aware that it sits at ~ 5,200’ elevation which means it’s dependent on good snow years to be best.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon Snow Play Areas

Sequoia National Park in Winter two women playing in the snow
Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia

Out of all the national parks, both Sequoia & Kings Canyon don’t come to the top on places where there’s snow. But there is! Just like the rest of the High Sierra, all you need to do is ascend a bit further up.

Wolverton Meadow

In Sequoia National Park, Wolverton Meadow is the basecamp for all things snow fun related. Just two miles north of the legendary General Sherman tree at an elevation of 7,200’, you can play your heart out in the snow. It’s the perfect gateway to go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even some sledding.

Bit Stump

Just to the south in Kings Canyon, you’ll find the Big Stump snow play area. Although wide sledding hills are in short supply, you’ll find enough snowy areas for small children to enjoy and even a few little hills to slide down. Another option is to head a bit lower in elevation to Grant Grove. National park rangers provide snowshoe nature walks alongside naturalist and evening programs at Grant Grove. For more winter fun in either park, head over to Visit Visalia’s page: Winter In The Parks.

As you can see, winter-fun doesn’t need to intimidate those new to snow-fueled entertainment. These snow play areas in the High Sierra give you the opportunity to play in the snow safely AND leave you smiling. Are you looking for more ideas on wintry outdoor adventures in California? Even if you aren’t an adrenaline junkie or a snow lover, these winter outdoor adventures in California High Sierra are a must for all.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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