Apres Ski Fun

Free Sledding Spot near Lake Tahoe at Spooner Summit

Free sledding hill near Lake Tahoe and Carson City.
Kids love sledding just as much as Mom loves FREE!

Got kids climbing the walls? I’m sharing one of my favorite FREE places in Lake Tahoe and close to Carson City that offers a crazy, fast sledding hill along with off-highway parking.

My kids love the winter, especially the sledding. So we divide our time between skiing and snowboarding, ice skating and the family favorite, sledding.

Sledding at ski resorts offers groomed hills and saucers and we have favorites. When we go, we sled until the sun dips below the mountain.

Free sledding hill near Lake Tahoe and Carson City
The nostalgic favorite, the wooden toboggan, offers a cushy pad, a go-to ride for Moms and girls.

Though the carful of kids love the nostalgic charm of finding a locals-only hill in a national forest for the perfect ride. It seems finding a perfect sledding hill is part of the allure.

As a Mom, I look for a protected place to park to get the kids in-and-out. My boys look at the terrain and go for features that excite them.

Spooner Summit Sledding Area

Just pass Spooner Summit on Nevada Highway 50 at the turnoff on Nevada Highway 28 for Lake Tahoe, I found a locals spot for free sledding.

Free sledding hill near Lake Tahoe and Carson City
My 12-year-old likes speed and sometimes he cracks his ride.

The Spooner Summit, 12 miles from downtown Carson City, crests at 7,145 feet in the Carson Range. Within sight of the highway, I found a steep hill with even snow coverage that attracts kids of all ages.

I found parking in front of the sledding hill and along the short access road off the highway. With off-highway parking and a steep hill, this area attracts a crowd quick during school holidays and weekends.

Free sledding hill near Lake Tahoe and Carson City
My 10-year-old prefers the plastic toboggan for the combination of steer-ability and speed.

Spooner Summit Sledding Area isn’t groomed so brushes and rocks add obstacles. My carful of kids enjoy the challenge though smaller kids might be intimidated by the speed of the hill.

With a couple of areas to sled, the carful of kids spend hours racing each other at the Spooner Summit Sledding area. This area is free but doesn’t feature trash cans or restrooms. Though I found year-round pit toilets at the Spooner Lake Nevada State Park, across the highway.

Spooner Lake Nevada State Park

Across the highway from Spooner Sled Hill, at 2005 Highway 28, find the Spooner Lake Nevada State Park. The year-round state park offers a couple of cabins and numerous recreation activities. Entrance fee of $7 per car for out-of-state license plates and $5 for Nevada plates is collected at the entrance kiosk or iron ranger.

Kids love Sledding and Moms love Free! I've got a secret sledding hill near Lake Tahoe and Carson City that offers both. #SledHill #Free #LakeTahoe #Winter #FamilyTravel

I found parking, pit toilets and access to cross-country skiing and snow shoeing trails. Spooner Lake offers a picturesque hike, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Be Prepared for FUN

Nothing stops the fun like COLD kids. To play for hours in the snow without the carful of kids complaining, I’m prepared.

Snow clothes keep kids dry for a day of sledding, mine wear snow pants, jackets, boots and ski gloves. I pack Hot Hands for everyone and carrya full snack bagincluding instant cider and Cup-A-Soup along a thermos with hot water. Looking for more ideas for snacks, I’ve got them.

Is it Your First Family Ski Trip?

What do you need to pack for family ski trip? I’ve been there. And here’s a list to prep and pack.

Need some advice on picking a ski school for your kids? I’ve got some tips for families to find the best program.

More Lake Tahoe Fun for Families

Looking for more places to discover in Lake Tahoe? Got a couple of my favorite spots to share.

Mt Rose Meadows for Sledding

Granlibakken Tahoe

Northstar Ski Resort

Squaw Valley Ski Resort

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe

Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Then discover a quaint town to spend an afternoon, like Tahoe City.

Know before you go:

  • Bring something to sit on. I use the padded wooden toboggan while the Carful of Kids play or pack a chair.
  • This is a bring your own equipment spot.
  • Sled at your own risk and helmets are recommended.
  • Be sure to check on road conditions before you head out at NVroads.com, especially Spooner Pass.


  1. We love sledding here in Europe! It’s much cheaper compared to skiing and a lot easier! We have enjoyed this fun last weekend here in Slovakia!

    • Catherine Parker

      We sled and snowshoe in-between ski days. With several different sleds and toboggans, my kids can play for hours.