Few winter activities elicit as much joy in children as sledding, so it’s no wonder that snow tubing—similar to sledding, but on large inner tubes and much larger hills—is plentiful in our Rocky Mountains. Here are a handful of spots no more than 90 minutes from Denver to try it out.
Dress the family for tubing as you would for the ski slopes: long underwear, ski pants and coat, warm socks and waterproof boots, sunglasses or goggles, and, most importantly, a helmet. (If you don’t have one, we’ve noted which places provide rentals.) Also remember that procedures and restrictions are constantly changing due to COVID-19—all listings currently require or strongly encourage reservations—so be sure to contact any facility before heading to the hills.
Colorado Adventure Park features a wide hill of varying thrills, plus a Magic Carpet lift giving kids a smooth ride back up the hill. Be careful to hustle out of the way of other riders while heading back to the lift. Helmets are required for riders under 18 and are available free of charge.
Details: Single tube: $25 per hour; double: $40 per hour, kids ages three to five must ride with an adult. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 566 Co. Rd. 721, Fraser, 970-726-5779, coloradoadventurepark.com.
The Historic Fraser Tubing Hill offers a broad, open tubing hill with a lift that pulls you, tube and all, back up the hill. Helmets are recommended but are not provided, so bring one from home (a ski or bicycle helmet will work). The minimum age to tube at this location is three years old, and kids ages three to six must ride with an adult.
Details: $25 per hour, $30 for 90 minutes, tube rentals included. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 455 Co. Rd. 72, Fraser, 970-726-5954, frasertubinghill.com.
The closest ski area to downtown Denver (36 miles), Echo Mountain’s tubing hill offers six lanes and a conveyor lift. If you lack ski apparel, you can rent it all on-site, from snow pants to helmets. Even better? There’s night tubing. The minimum rider height is 36 inches.
Details: $26 per hour, non-holiday, Monday through Thursday; $30 per hour, holiday weeks and Friday through Sunday; $10 per person for a second hour, based on availability. Open Monday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Night tubing: Wednesday through Saturday until 7 p.m. 19285 Hwy 103, Idaho Springs, 720-899-2100, echomntn.com/tubing.
This spot features several 1,200-foot tubing lanes ranging from mellow to steep, as well as a lift to haul you up the hill. After a couple of runs, add to the fun by asking tube operators for a “super spin.” A public sledding spot is also adjacent to the tubing hill.
Details: $28 per hour non-resident, $32 per hour non-resident holiday (December 17 to January 3, MLK Jr. weekend, Valentine’s Day weekend). Hours vary by month and day. Riders must be 36 inches tall. Helmets are not available. 621 Recreation Way, Frisco, 970-668-2558, townoffrisco.com.
Perched at the top of Dercum Mountain at Adventure Point, this tubing hill boasts a minimum of five tubing runs. Take a lift back up the hill for repeated entertainment. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall (usually around four years old). Single riders only. Ski boots are allowed. Linking tubes in “trains” is prohibited. Helmets are not available.
Details: $45/hour, $30/half-hour starting at 3:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.; One-hour sessions are available every 15 minutes, 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. with later hours in the spring. 100 Dercum Square, Keystone. 800-354-4386, keystoneresort.com.