Mt. Hood: White River West Sno-Park

Are you looking for a laid-back, inexpensive, easily accessible place to sled, build a snowman or just play in the snow with your kids? We were too!  We had heard from a few friends that “White River” was the place to go! With a free Saturday, we packed some lunches, threw our snow clothes and sleds in our car and we were off on our kidventure!

White River West Sno-Park is about a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Portland, just off of Highway 35 about 4 miles north of Highway 26.

img_2626We stopped about 45 minutes into our drive at Joes Donuts in Sandy, Oregon.  Mostly for the delicious donuts and pre-sledding espresso drinks, but also because we needed a Sno-Park Permit and they sell them at Joe’s!  We bought a day-pass for $4 along with our treats and were on our way! img_2589

There are several other places to purchase Sno-Park Permits.  The ZigZag Ranger Station is another easy place to stop and purchase a permit on your way.

The traffic and road conditions were fairly clear on the day we headed up to Mt. Hood.  We were required to carry chains or have traction tires and although we had them, we never needed to use them.  I would strongly suggest checking the road conditions (www.tripcheck.com) before you go and make sure you are prepared.  I wouldn’t want you to have to turn around now, you’re half way there!

Heads up: There are only vault toilets at the White River West Sno-Park so if your child (like mine) doesn’t like vault toilets, I would strongly suggest stopping at the Government Camp Rest Area about 4 miles before you reach the Sno-Park. They have toilets that flush, sinks with soap and a changing table for small children in the women’s restroom.

Okay, now that all of those details are out of the way, it’s time for the fun!

We arrived at the White River West Sno-Park, and for a Saturday afternoon, it was not very busy and finding a close-in parking spot was easy!

We helped the kids into their snow clothes and boots, grabbed our sled and we were on our way.  Our 6 year-old was able to climb up the small snow hill from the parking lot to our sledding spot by himself, but our 4-year-old needed a little help because of the incline, so just be prepared for that.  There is a pathway, about 100 yards long, that leads from the parking lot to the first small sledding hill.  There were several families there all having fun together, and this is where we spent most of our time.  Older kids were trekking further up the hill, and there were also several cross-country skiers we could see on trails through the woods.

It was a great afternoon of sledding, fort making, snowball fights and all around FUN!

I would love to hear about your experiences at White River West Sno-Park, please leave a comment below.

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