When the weather gets cold and snow shuts down most outdoor recreation options, staying warm indoors is an easy choice. Plus, considering how much lift tickets would cost for a family day on the mountain, staying indoors is even more appealing! If you find yourself going stir crazy and feel like cabin fever is setting in, here’s a family friendly option guaranteed to be fun AND easy on the pocket!
Old Man Pass’ sledding hill is conveniently located high up the Washington Cascades in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Well, perhaps not the most convenient spot BUT, it is high enough that the snowpack can sometimes be safely deep enough by Thanksgiving, and most certainly by Christmas. During summertime the drive up the Wind River Highway from the small logging community of Carson WA takes about half an hour. With winter conditions however, (local weather forecast) play it safe and budget an hour to enjoy the drive up through this winter wonderland of snow capped evergreens and icy creeks flowing past your windows. Don’t forget to purchase or bring your sno-park pass. While we’d have to agree spending money on ANOTHER pass is a pain in the butt, the cost of this pass is a little easier to justify since it’s valid all winter for dozens of sno-parks.
If some in your party would prefer snow shoeing or cross country skiing, they can easily access trails nearby the sledding hill. With all these options your family or group can’t complain that there’s nothing to do. Since your vehicle is steps from the sledding hill, feel free to bring too much gear; worst case you don’t use it, best case nobody cuts the trip short due to frozen toes & fingers. From our personal experience, you can bring adult drinks and just about whatever you feel like (grill, chairs, radios, etc.) so long as you’re respectful of the others sharing the hill with you. You might be mistaken for a local if you remember to bring some dry firewood to add to the bonfire where you’ll likely meet new friends. There’s also a pit toilet building beside the sledding hill for anyone brave enough to see what a freezing toilet seat feels like.
After your trip, please leave some feedback on how your experience was at Old Man’s Pass!