The Best Sledding Hills In Colorado Springs
Don’t let the mild winter days fool you; Colorado Springs has its fair share of snowy days that are perfect for fun winter activities like building snowmen, staging snowball fights and, everyone’s favorite, sledding! When the first flakes begin to fall, you can practically hear the fervent prayers for a true school snow day from kids all over the Pikes Peak region as they hunt for sleds and saucers in the garage. Hunting for the perfect sledding hill might be even harder than digging the old toboggan out from the attic. While our proximity to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains makes finding a slope fairly easy, it’s not always easy to find a sledding hill that has everything necessary for a fun day.
Safety, incline and accessibility are just a few of the features most sledders look for in the right hill. You want a slope with speed, but not so fast you careen into a Wal-Mart like Clark Griswold. You want one with minimal trees to prevent the need for premature bail-outs and close calls. You also want to avoid roads, cars (parked and mobile) and areas with high pedestrian traffic, like popular sidewalks or trails. Last, you want to be able to get to the hill without hiking five miles with two toddlers and a toboggan strapped to your back. You’re out for a day of family fun, not a pioneer slog on the Oregon Trail.
We’ve compiled a list of local favorites that have all of the above, plus one or two hills with a few extra fun features for good measure.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center — Downtown Colorado Springs
The Fine Arts Center has a broad, steep hill that faces the Santa Fe Trail and overlooks Monument Creek. It’s a great location due to the very long, flat straightaway that gives you plenty of time to slow down once the hill peters out. There is ample parking along the street and access to several parks nearby. In the summer months, the hill outside the museum is covered with lush, thick grass that offers an extra bit of padding even when it’s dormant. That means a softer fall if you fly out of the sled. We strongly suggest you jaunt over to the downtown area when you are done and warm up with some hot cocoa. It’s worth your time to check out the ice-skating rink in Acacia Park while you’re there. There are only so many days of the year for this type of outdoor fun!
Shooks Run — Mid Schools Run Park
Located in a bowl at the corner of Willamette Ave. and N. El Paso St. is a small and easy sledding hill with lots of different grades that are especially appealing to younger kiddos. This pocket park is nestled alongside the four-mile Shooks Run Trail just east of Downtown Colorado Springs. Like the Fine Arts Center, this little park has plenty of street parking with quick and easy access to the hill. While this is a beginner hill, it is worth noting that a shallow creek runs along the outer base of the hill. If your run gets particularly packed, you’ll want to ensure you don’t become an involuntary polar bear diver.
Bear Creek Regional Park — Old Colorado City
All Skill Levels
Bear Creek Park works hard to be all things to all people, and they succeed marvelously. With an epic dog park, multiple playgrounds and beautiful hiking trails, it’s no surprise the park also has a pretty rad set of ideal sledding hills. Bear Creek Park sits on a vast 545 acres of hilly terrain with plenty of open spaces to slide the day away. The areas around the playground are low-grade hills with a wide, flat plain that allows you to slow down a huge distance from the busy street. Other areas of the park may offer more challenging terrain. Be sure to read signage carefully to avoid damaging habitats or reclamation areas. Avoid damaging plants or wildlife habitats and pack out all trash and pet waste. Speaking of pets, there is no sledding in the dog park even if it does have one of the steepest, treeless hills in the area. Dogs and sleds are not the best combo.
Monarch Mountain Tubing Park — Salida
Sometimes it’s fun to let someone else do all the work of hauling gear up the hill after every ride. That’s where Monarch Mountain swoops in to save the day. The sledding hill is operated by the popular Monarch Mountain ski resort and is located west of Canon City and the Royal Gorge, just outside of Salida. They provide the tubes; all you have to do is show up in your warmest winter gear and pay the hourly access fee. The best part about tubing at Monarch is that you don’t have to climb up the hill. They provide a pully system that allows you to chill in your tube as you are hauled up. It’s like a ride to your ride! It can get a little pricey at $28 per hour during peak season, but sometimes it’s just fun to splurge.
Mountain Shadows Park and Mountain Shadows Open Space — Flying W Ranch
All Experience Levels
Mountain Shadows Park, located just off of Flying W Ranch Road (yes, the Flying W of chuckwagon fame), offers a short and easy hill located right next to an engaging playground. The hills are easy for littles to navigate, and the grade flattens out safely with zero danger of drifting into the street. There’s plenty of places to park, too. If you want more hill for your sledding adventure, upgrade your experience to the nearby Mountain Shadows Open Space. There are quite a few hills without trees or bushes, although you will want to watch for rocks and the occasional cactus. Parking can be a bit trickier near some of the hills because of its proximity to residential driveways. Be a polite visitor and park where you won’t impede traffic or block driveways. You may find a few icy spots on the drive up.
We hope you have the snow day of your dreams on at least one of these fun and fabulous Colorado Springs sledding hills. Remember to stay warm, wear sunscreen and drink a lot of water. Time (and hydration) fly when you’re having fun and you don’t want to end your day dried out and sunburned. Happy sledding!