Apres Ski Fun

FREE North Lake Tahoe Sledding at Tahoe Meadows

Lake Tahoe winter
Lake Tahoe glistens in winter. credit: Catherine Parker

For a family winter getaway extraordinaire, head to Lake Tahoe. With a lake that never freezes and outdoor activities galore, Lake Tahoe is the place of the West Coast. For some free fun in the North Lake Tahoe area, Here is a FREE sledding area with off -highway parking and a year-round restroom. Pack the sleds and saucers, or snow shoes and cross country skis for one of the top places to enjoy the outdoors. Best of all, this is close to Chickadee Ridge, the place where birds land on your outstretched hand. Here is my favorite free Lake Tahoe sledding, close to both Reno and Incline Village.

Free Lake Tahoe Sledding

For those looking for a fun and best of all free Lake Tahoe sledding day, then head to National Forest. Snowtubing at a ski resort is fun. Though you only get an for an hour on its groomed hill. It might require advance reservations during the holidays.

In a National Forest, sledders get out and find the perfect sled hill. That is part of the fun. Each run  is a new adventure. Kids can build obstacles and even craft their own DIY sled run.

Some of the best places to find free Lake Tahoe sledding area are in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. My top tips is to look for the national forests recreation areas, like hiking trailheads, which offer parking and maybe a restroom.

That is a year-round bathroom and it's the best family feature in a FREE sledding hill. Lake Tahoe, Free sledding,
That is a year-round bathroom and it’s the best family feature in a FREE sledding hill. Credit: Catherine Parker

For kids, part of the allure is finding a perfect sledding hill.  With natural terrain features and lots of snow, my kids look at the terrain that excites them. I look for facilities that families need, like a safe place to park and year-round restrooms.

Spooner Summit Free Sledding Area

Tahoe Meadows Area

The carful of kids usually bring along three types of sleds or toboggans.
The carful of kids usually bring along three types of sleds or toboggans.

Not faraway from Incline Village, the Mt. Rose Highway (Nevada Highway 431) winds through the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, connecting Lake Tahoe with Reno. The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is the largest national forest in the lower 48 according to the National Forest Service and protects the majority of land around Lake Tahoe.

The Mt. Rose Highway is a Nevada scenic byway that should not be missed for its scenic overlooks. It’s the highest year-round pass across the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range with a 8,911-foot summit. Along the Mt. Rose Highway is the Mt. Rose Ski Resort.

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Snow so deep in Lake Tahoe, she can dig a giant hole. Free Sledding in Lake Tahoe
Snow so deep my 13-year-old can dig a giant hole. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

About seven miles southwest of Mt. Rose Ski Resort is Tahoe Meadows, a year-round outdoor destination. It’s just pass the Mt. Rose Summit headed into Incline Village.

With several areas to use head toTahoe Meadows and the adjacent Mt. Rose Summit. Some areas offer off-highway parking like the Mt. Rose Summit area and some don’t. This area can get congested during weekends and school breaks, but there’s plenty of room to explore once you park your car.

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TheTahoe Rim Trailhead

The Tahoe Rim Trailhead area is the only area to offer off-highway parking and a year-round restroom. The restroom at Mt. Rose Summit is seasonal though it has a nice parking area.

This area gets passed up because you can’t see the perfect sledding terrain or the restroom from the highway. The hill starts near the parking area and slopes away from the highway, keeping the kids safe.

Every Mom needs a place to take the kids to have some FREE fun in the snow.
Every Mom needs a place to take the kids to have some FREE fun in the snow. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Depending on what type of sled or toboggan you use and the condition of the snow, I have seen kids go forever. My kids love the freedom to dig in the snow and make terrain features. In a good year, the snow is quite deep and I have sunk to my hip so you need to be a little careful with the younger kids.

The parking area is plowed frequently and I prefer this area over the more popular sledding area father south. My kids can spend several hours frolicking in the snow and racing each other down the hill without running into other kids.

Winter Guide to Lake Tahoe
activities in Incline Village
Snowshoe to Chickadee Ridge and feed the chickadees. credit: Catherine Parker

More Fun in Tahoe Meadows

The Tahoe Meadows area is a very popular for hiking year-round. So when the snow starts to pile up, hikers grab their snowshoes to explore. The family dog is a frequent visitor as well, so look out for yellow snow.

Chickadee Ridge

A new addition to the Mt Rose Meadow is groomed snow shoe trails. Located Chickadee Ridge area, a charming spot where the Chickadees land on your outstretched hands, find snowshoeing trails that access the 17 km of groomed multi-use trails, even dogs are welcome. Find lots of people using the trails from kids in toboggans to serious cross-country skiers.

XC Skiing

The Mt. Rose area offers groomed XC ski trails. For the latest on its grooming, head to Nevada Nordic.

Some skiers even use this area for backcountry skiing. Though, it is more common to see cross-country skiers in Tahoe Meadows.


If you own a snowmobile, find designated snowmobile parking farther south along Hwy 431. Arrive early for the best parking in this area, it’s limited.

There's one way down the hill; the carful of kids can't get enough of the deep snow in Lake Tahoe. Free sledding,
There’s one way down the hill and kids can’t get enough of the deep snow in Lake Tahoe. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Know Before you Go

  • Bring something to sit on. I have a padded wooden toboggan that I sit on when the carful of kids are playing.
  • The snow in this area can get deep, use care when walking to the restroom.
  • I use snow shoes to explore though they aren’t required.
  • If you didn’t bring a sled with you, you can purchase sleds in Incline Village at the Raley’s Grocery Store.
  • The speed limit is 25 mph though motorists ignore this especially when coming off the Mt. Rose Summit driving into Incline Village.
  • Be sure to check on road conditions before you head out at NVroads.com, especially the Mt. Rose Pass.

Check out this locals place to ski and snowshoe for free near Mt Rose on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Find off-highway parking, a restroom along with lots of room to sled for free without restrictions on equipment. Fun for all ages and abilities just remember to bring your own gear. Where to go sledding near Lake Tahoe | Free sledding near Lake Tahoe | Free sledding on Tahoe's North Shore #LakeTahoe


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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