Before there was skiing, there was sledding—and getting your winter kicks meant racing with abandon down a neighborhood hill on a plastic saucer. We tracked down five Colorado sledding hills fit for a family excursion or unleashing your inner child—or both.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Draw: You’ll feel like you’re deep in the wilderness at this former ski area—yet the park entrance fee includes access to heated restrooms and, on weekends, a warming hut.
The Hills: Enjoy wide-open, mellow 200-yard runs; backcountry skiers and ’boarders can hike another 2,000 vertical feet beyond the tame, lower hills.
The Chaser: Warm up with a cup o’ joe at the eco-friendly Kind Coffee in Estes Park. kindcoffee.com
The Draw: Three blocks east of Main Street, the Carter Park sledding hill is free and family-friendly. Dogs are welcome, too.
The Hill: Think of this as the bunny hill of sledding spots—eminently approachable, but perhaps a bit too mild for sledders who are seeking a thrill.
The Chaser: Walk to Downstairs at Eric’s, where the entryway is filled with dozens of arcade games, like Pac Man and Big Buck Hunter. downstairsaterics.com
Ruby Hill Park
The Draw: There’s a reason Ruby Hill is considered a classic sledding spot: The park offers views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains, and the pitch is steep enough to keep kids entertained. Bonus: Park lights make nighttime sledding an option.
The Hill: You’ll fly down this 250-foot, 12-percent grade. (For reference, the signs on I-70 near Floyd Hill warn of six-percent grades.)
The Chaser: Bring your board or skis and jib for free in the adjacent Ruby Hill Rail Yard denvergov.org/parksandrecreation
Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course
The Draw: Legally poach the driving range—the course is off-limits—at this locals’ spot. No tee time required.
The Hill: After a snowstorm, the grounds crew cleans the walkway that leads to the driving range. Hike to the top for a 150-yard run.
The Chaser: Stop by Crave, an exotic burger joint that gives new meaning to ordering “the works.” Try the Colorado, a roasted lamb burger with poblano peppers, avocados, chipotle mayo, and tomatoes. craverealburgers.com
The Draw: The lift-served tubing on Dercum Mountain is pricey—$31 for an hour of sledding—but this is a unique spot: With bank turns and rolling hills, Dercum feels like a terrain park.
The Hill: Choose from five different lanes—as long as you’re 42 inches tall—where the slopes range from moderate to steep, and enjoy a 650-foot run at 11,640 feet.
The Chaser: Try the mountaintop Der Fondue Chessel. This Bavarian-style fondue restaurant is suitable for a romantic dinner or a family affair. keystoneresort.com