Perhaps it’s the exhilarating feeling of sitting just above the ground and sailing down a snow-covered slope. Or maybe it’s the nostalgia adults experience as they give their kids a push or watch them trek up a hill, sled in tow.
There’s something magical about riding down a hill on a sled or tube, and while Minnesota’s landscape is different from north to south and east to west, opportunities to ride sleds and tubes down snowy hills can be found in all regions of the state.
Many of the state’s best sledding and tubing options are local neighborhood gems, well known to folks who live near them, while other sites are located in state parks or on other public properties. Some sledding and tubing spots are free to use but require sledders or tubers to provide their own equipment. At other locations, riders can rent equipment, hang onto tow ropes to get back to the top of the hill and warm up in heated shelters. Keep in mind, too, that some hills don't offer both sledding and tubing, but just one of these activities.
Sledding and tubing are fun wintertime activities for adults and children alike that, in many cases, require little in the way of skills or equipment beyond what most people already have. Simply dress warmly, grab a sled or tube, and head out to the hills for a day of fun.
Below are some of Minnesota’s best options for sledding and tubing, broken down by region. But consider this list just a start–with a little legwork, you’ll likely be able to uncover even more close-to-home places to spend the day riding down a hill.
Sledding and tubing for many children in Minnesota is almost a rite of passage, but there is some risk involved anytime someone takes a ride down a hill. That goes for people riding plastic sleds or saucers, rubber tubes or wooden toboggans. Following are some tips from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to ensure sledding and tubing is done as safely as possible:
Adults should accompany children on sledding adventures–and ride down the hill with kids who are under 5 years old.
Wear a helmet to prevent against head injury and avoid items such as scarves that can get wrapped around objects. Wear waterproof clothing, and pack extra along if you plan to stay out for an extended period of time.
Pick hills that don’t have fences, streets, trees and water nearby. Ensure there’s a flat area at the bottom to stop.
Take turns going down a hill to avoid collisions.
Joe Albert is a Bloomington-based writer who currently works for the Department of Natural Resources. His work has appeared in publications including Outdoor News, Star Tribune and Field & Stream.
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