Best Places to Sled in Calaveras’ High Sierra

From roadside slopes to pay-to-play facilities with restrooms and sled rentals, we’ve rounded up a handful of options to help you have a safe and fun snow day next time you venture up.

⚠️Know Before You Go – Swing by the Calaveras Visitors Bureau for a FREE Hop Lightly pack-it-out trash bag, great for diapers, broken sleds, and picnic trash. Wherever you choose to sled, please remember that the Stanislaus National Forest and surrounding areas are home to many species of wild birds and animals that can be seriously harmed by any trash you leave behind. Please pick up after yourself and your family, dress warmly, be safe and have a wonderful time!

Planning a first time snow adventure with kids? We’ll take the guesswork out of packing for the trip by hooking you up, not only with snow gear rental resources below, but also by providing this super thorough Bay Area Parent guide “How to Pack for a Snow Trip with Kids” linked at the bottom of this page.

❄️Need a snow report? Call 1-209-736-0049.❄️

? Find Snow Gear Rentals + Supplies Here

Snow Gear Rentals and Supplies

  • Snow Gear Rentals and Supplies – Arnold, CA
    • Sierra Nevada Adventure Company (known locally as SNAC)
      • Offering: In addition to year round gear for purchase, SNAC has a great selection of parkas, pants, Merino wool long underwear and socks, snow boots, ice cleats, goggles and sunglasses, gloves, helmets, books, maps, toboggans, saucers for purchase. They also rent winter and summer gear.
      • SNAC Winter Rentals: Explore SNAC Winter Rentals on-line here.
    • Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods
      • Offering: Specializing in High Sierra sporting goods; as well as  a variety of snow goods such as snow boots, goggles, ski gloves, troopers, beanies, sleds and discs. They also rent winter gear including skis, snowboards, snowshoes and winter apparel including adult and child-sized snow boot and clothing rentals
      • Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods Winter Rentals: Explore Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods Winter Rentals on-line here.
  •  Snow Gear Rentals and Supplies – Bear Valley, CA
    • Bear Valley Cross Country
      • Offering: Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company is a year-round mountain resort with one of the largest cross country ski areas in California with 35 trails for 65 kilometers of groomed track and skating lanes, and summer mountain recreation activities including kayaking and mountain biking.They also rent winter and summer gear.
      • Bear Valley Cross Country Winter Rentals: Explore Bear Valley Cross Country Winter Rentals by activity on-line here.
    • Bear Valley Resort 
      • Offering: Ebbetts Pass corridor’s only ski resort, Bear Valley Resort offers terrain for all skill levels. Rentals include helmets, boots, skis, and snowboards. Hitting the mountain? When arriving at Bear Valley, follow signs for Equipment Rentals.
      • Bear Valley Resort Winter Rentals: Explore Bear Valley Resort Winter Rentals on-line here.
    • Bear Valley Snowmobile
      • Offering: Bear Valley Snowmobile has been renting snowmobiles on the groomed trails of Lake Alpine and Spicer Reservoir with the US Forest Service for over 45 years. Bear Valley Snowmobile is the only snowmobile rental operator who has the privilege to rent snowmobiles in the Ebbetts Pass corridor.
      • Rent a snowmobile: Rent a snowmobile at Bear Valley Snowmobile here.
❄️ View Snowy Destination Map ❄️
❄️Need a snow report? Call 1-209-736-0049.❄️ ❄️Need a snow report? Call 1-209-736-0049.❄️
Sled, Sledding, tubing, snowplay, snow
Cute Family Sledding in the snow I Courtesy of Instagrammer @malloryreidphotography

1. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – Calaveras Big Trees

While playing in the snow among the giant sequoias is a unique experience for the whole family, Calaveras Big Trees State Park offers slopes more suited to smaller sledders,  The park entrance fee of $10 per vehicle will get you into the North Grove and you are free to explore. The newly renovated Visitor Center has restrooms and a fabulous selection of interpretive displays and cool Calaveras County gifts as well. Be sure to stop by the warming hut for hot chocolate and spiced cider.

Looking for more ways to enjoy the snow?Learn about places to downhill ski, snowboard, cross country ski, snowmobile and more with our guide here Snow Play – 7 Different Ways to Enjoy the Snow in Calaveras’ High Sierra.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Winter | Dave Bunnell
Winter snowshoeing at Calaveras Big Trees State Park | Dave Bunnell

2. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – Camp Connell

At the east end of Camp Connell is a forestry station and directly across the highway from the entrance is a large turn out and parking area which becomes one of the largest sledding areas when the snow is abundant.   You’ll find many gentle slopes to explore, but watch out for trees, and be sure to park against the banks, leaving enough room in the turnout for oncoming highway traffic. Looking for a place to warm up? Don’t miss nearby Camp Connell General Store before or after your adventure.

Camp Connell General Store
The store in winter

3. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – S Turns

About 8.5 miles east of Camp Connell and after the long passing lanes you’ll enter a series of S curves and find a small parking area on the left which is also popular with sledders.   It maxes out at five or six cars and is basically a forest access road covered in snow. It’s also a fun area to go for a snowshoe hike and can be a decent option for those who just want to get into the snow and have driven far enough to get there already! Note: we don’t recommend this location on heavy storm days, as the build up of cars can present hazards for snowplows and highway traffic. Get directions to Forest Road 6N45 in Calaveras County, here.

sled, sledding, tubing

4. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – Tamarack Lodge

Tamarack Lodge at Bear Valley provides not only a safe and roomy parking lot, but also use of the lodge’s restrooms, common area with fireplace and hot drinks. For $20, you and your carload can use their sledding hill as well as the aforementioned amenities between 11:00am and 4:00pm.   They have a limited number of sleds to borrow, but you’re advised to bring your favorite snow speeder.

Sled, sledding, snowplay, tubing
Sledding in Ebbetts Pass Corridor I Courtesy of Instagrammer @yetithelittlemonster

5. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – Bear Valley Cross Country  

Head to Bear Valley Cross Country in Bear Valley village for a choice of sleds or inner tubes for rent on their groomed and maintained sledding hills.   For $14 per sledder (including sled rental) or $16 per tuber (including the tube rental), for a 2-hour session for ages 3 years old to adult. The areas are open from 9am to 4pm with the last 2-hour session beginning at 2pm.

For these low rates, you’ll get to enjoy their facilities, including multiple sledding runs, picnic tables and seating areas.   Note that personal sleds and tubes are not allowed, but they have a good selection of rentals on hand.

Staying below the snowline? Explore fun things to do in towns below the snowline through the town information and directories here: Angels Camp I Copperopolis I Mokelumne Hill I Murphys I San Andreas I Valley Springs tri-lake area.

6. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – Three Sno-Parks

Did you know 3 of California’s 20 sno-parks are in the Highway 4 corridor? That’s a lot of snow play for one tiny destination!  Sno-Parks are designated parking areas for winter recreation, maintained by the State and Forest Service and require a $5 day pass or $25 season pass for parking.

? Get SNO-PARK Permits Here

SNO-PARK Permits

To park at a SNO-PARK, you must purchase a sno-park permit. SNO-PARK permits are $5.00 a day or $25.00 for a season pass.

Purchase SNO-PARK permits in person at the locations below.

Purchase SNO-PARK permits on-line here: Purchase SNO-PARK passes on-line

There are three within four miles of Bear Valley: Spicer Sno-Park, Round Valley (on Highway 207 to the ski resort) and Lake Alpine, at the closure of Highway 4 just beyond the ski resort turn off. Lake Alpine Sno-Park is a sure bet for long, fast sledding runs that will appeal to those in your group who are seeking adrenaline fueled thrills. All Sno-Parks have non-flush toilets but no other facilities or concession stands so pack a cooler and hot chocolate thermos for your group.

Sledding in Calaveras I Courtesy of Instagrammer @mnwk

Ready to rent snowmobiles? Family-owned Bear Valley Snowmobile (located in Bear Valley Village) has exclusive access to rent snowmobiles in the Highway 4 Stanislaus National Forest corridor.

7. Best Places to Sled in Calaveras – White Pines Lake

White Pines Lake near Arnold has some nice slopes far from the highway. Just be sure you don’t sled too close to the lake even if it looks completely frozen. Lots of snow in this pretty park means plenty of opportunities for building snowmen and getting your snowball arsenal together for an epic fight.

Sled, sledding, snow
Snowball fight I Courtesy of Instagrammer @whitebred510

Looking for more ways to enjoy the snow?Learn about places to downhill ski, snowboard, cross country ski, snowmobile and more with our guide here Snow Play – 7 Different Ways to Enjoy the Snow in Calaveras’ High Sierra.

Planning a first time snow adventure with kids? Take the guesswork out of packing for the trip by not only exploring the snow gear rental resources at the top of this page, but also by checking out this super thorough Bay Area Parent guide “How to Pack for a Snow Trip with Kids”.

Happy trails!