Donner Summit, California

Donner Summit Snow Play

Mileages From Sacramento

  • Colfax - 50 miles
  • Yuba Gap - 74 miles
  • Soda Springs - 89 miles
  • Donner Summit - 91 miles
  • Donner Lake - 98 miles
  • Truckee - 101 miles

Playing in the Snow

The corridor along Interstate 80 over Donner Summit offers a wide variety of choices for snow play. A number of ski resorts and other facilities have developed tube sliding hills with carpet conveyor lifts to carry sliders to the top of the hill. Some charge for a 2-hour session (which many find plenty for young children and even adults), while Soda Springs offers an all-day pass to their tube hill.

photo of kids sliding down hill in snow

Many prefer to seek out their own sliding hills or snow play areas in the national forest. One good choice is to take advantage of the Sno-Park at Donner Summit. A good number of other locations suitable for snow play have been identified by the Forest Service and are listed below.

A few areas along Interstate 80 are posted for no snow play. Be sure the area you select is not private property and that you park legally. Parking is usually much easier several days after a recent snowfall when plows have had a chance to clear the snow.

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Winter Apparel

Donner Summit Sno-Park

Donner Summit Sno-Park at Donner Summit is a good place to take children to play in the snow. Unlike most other spots along the highway, you can be sure the lot will be plowed and there are restrooms available. The Sno-Park is at the Boreal ski area turnoff, near the Pacific Crest Trail parking area.

Sno-Parks are parking areas maintained in the winter to allow people to park safely and pursue winter activities such as cross-county skiing or snow shoeing. They have pit toilets available. To use a Sno-Park you must have a permit. You can purchase a day permit for $15 or an annual pass (Nov. 1 - May 30) for $40. They are good at any California, Oregon, Washington, or Idaho Sno-Park.

Near Donner Summit you can be purchase Sno-Park permits at the following places:

  • Placer County Visitor Bureau 13411 Lincoln Way, Auburn
  • Mountain Recreation, 491 E. Main St., Grass Valley
  • Mountain Hardware and Sports, 11320 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee
  • Tahoe Mountain Sports, 1200 Donner Pass Road, Truckee

For a complete list of locations that sell Sno-Park permits in California, see
California Sno-Park Vendors
Permits may also be purchased online for an additional $1.95 at
Sno-Park Permits.

Commercial Snow Play Areas

Soda Springs

Tube Town

One of the oldest family winter traditions has become a little easier! Tube Town is Tahoe's premier snow tubing area with up to 10 lanes and a 400-foot. surface lift to take you back to the top! Tube Town offers snow tubing with convenience to produce nothing but smiles for the whole family.

Operations are highly dependent on weather and conditions. Please check our daily operational report for exact hours of operation. Purchase of all ski and snowboad lift tickets online is required.: Soda Springs Tickets.

  • Tube Town is geared for kids and adults 42" and taller.
  • All ages are allowed. However, children must be able to ride in their own tube and not in a lap or with another participant.
  • Personal sleds and tubes are not permitted.

Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Thursday through Monday, closed most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except during holiday dates). Weekends and holidays opens at 9:00 AM.

Mountain Adventure

Soda Spring's new Mountain Adventure Pass provides access to Tube Town, Planet Kids, and Woodward Start Park - all for a new low price. Prices vary by date.


  • Mountain Adventure 1-Day Pass - starting at $44

Planet Kids for Ages 8 and Under

Planet Kids is a great way to introduce small children to skiing and snowboarding along with giving them an opportunity to use other snow play facilities at the special area. They have 2 tube carousels, two moving carpets, a volcano to play and climb on, a mini tubing area, and more.

Planet Kids is found on the west side of the resort. Catch a sleigh ride over from the main lodge. At least one parent must be there to supervise the children. Soda Springs provides a coach to help the children learn the basics of snowboarding and skiing and how to use the various rides.

Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Thursdays through Mondays and on holidays. Opens at 9:00 AM on weekends and holidays.
Location: Soda Springs, 1 mile off Interstate 80
Soda Springs Mountain Resort

Boreal's Tahoe Tubing - 2023-2024 Season

Boreal Ski Resort's Tahoe Tubing is a tubing hill for the whole family, with 2 moving carpets to carry sliders to the top of the hill. Tubes are provided. The hill is arranged with groomed tubing lanes. Children 42" or less are limited to snow play only

Purchase a Go Time Ticket, reserve rentals, book a Tahoe Tubing session or a buy lesson online, but you'll need to stop by the Mountain Services contactless outdoor ticket kiosks when you arrive to redeem your purchase and get your OnePass.

Scheduled 1½-hour sessions (with a capacity limit in each session) make sliding enjoyable for all.

2023-2024 Rates:

  • 90-minute tubing session, prices vary by date and time
  • Purchase tickets online: Tahoe Tubing Tickets. No ticket sales at the site.
  • Night Tubing tickets sold separately.
  • All tickets must be redeemed at the Boreal Base Lodge outdoor Mountain Services pick up kiosks before starting a session.

Hours and Session Start Times:

Open Daily 9:30 AM to 2:45 PM
Daily Sessions: 9:30 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:45 PM
Friday-Saturday Night Sessions: 4:45 PM

Boreal's Tahoe Tubing

Donner Ski Ranch Tubing Hill - 2022-2023

Donner Ski Ranch's Tubing Hill has a moving carpet to carry sliders to the top of the hill. Tubes are provided.

Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM,
2-hour session price: $TBA ($TBA Tues - Thurs. except holidays, beginning January 2024)
Location: Take Soda Springs exit off Interstate 80, follow Donner Ski Ranch near Donner Pass.
Donner Ski Ranch Prices

Kingvale Resort

Kingvale Resort operates a sliding hill at the Kingvale Exit off Interstate 80 during the winter. When snow cover is sufficient the tube sliding hill is open with a conveyer system to carry tube riders up the hill. Attendants are there to assist.
Parking: $20 per vehicle (cash)
Snow Play: $25 per person (children under 2 are free)
Bring your own sliding gear or buy a plastic sled from them.
Dogs are not allowed.

Information: (916) 622-6654
Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Thursday - Monday and holidays (parking lot opens at 9 AM)
(Prices subject to change.)
Location: Kingvale Exit off I-80.
Kingvale Resort

Tahoe Donner Snowplay - 2023-2024 Season

Tahoe Donner's Snowplay Area is open to the general public. They have established tubing runs along with areas to carve your own run. Your price of admission includes use of their sleds and tubes. Personal sleds are not allowed. For 2021-2022, snowplay tickets are good for one 75-minute session. Everyone entering the snowplay area must have a ticket. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a paid adult.

Snowplay Hours

Fridays 12:15 PM to 4:30 PM,
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
(Subject to change.)

Snowplay 75-Minute Sessions

9:00 - 10:15 AM, 10:30 - 11:45 AM, 12:15 - 1:30 PM, 1:45 - 3:00 PM, 3:15 - 4:30 PM
2022/23 Peak Dates: December 23, 2023-January 7, 2024 (Dec. 25 opens at 12:15PM) January 13-15, 2024; February 17-25, 2024 .
Rates for the general public are about 20% - 30% higher on Peak Dates.

General Public Prices:
Adult (13 - 59) $27,   Child (4-12) $22,   Senior (60-69) $22,   Ages 3 and under or 70 and older free.
Free for Tahoe Donner Association members with paid recreation fees.
Location: Tahoe Donner Ski area north of Truckee
Tahoe Donner Snowplay Rates and Rules

National Forest Snow Play Areas

Help Keep Snow Play Areas Clean

photo of no parking and snow play prohibited sign.

Trash left behind by a few visitors to snow play areas has created unsightly messes in recent seasons. Please do your part to keep snow play areas clean. Some areas off Interstate 80 have strict No Parking designations and even some Snow Play Prohibited signs, such as at Emigrant Gap.

Interstate 80 around Nyack

  • Nyack, 5,200 feet. Gas station and fast food nearby.
  • Yuba Gap, 5,700. Take the Yuba Gap exit. No public facilities.

Along Highway 20

  • Skillman, 4,700 feet. Located 14 miles east of Nevada City. Heavy tree cover.
  • Omega Rest Area, 5,000 feet. Located 17 miles east of Nevada City. Restrooms. Favorite cross country ski area.
  • Bear Valley, 4,600 feet. Located 6 miles west of Interstate 80. Open meadow area.

Along Highway 89

  • Little Truckee Summit, 6,300 feet. Located 17 miles north of Truckee. Groomed trails for skiing, snowmobiling.
  • Sagehen Summit, 6,400 feet. Located 9 miles north of Truckee. Mainly for cross-country skiing.

Foresthill Area

  • China Wall, 5,000 feet. Located 14 miles from Foresthill. Plowed parking, restrooms.
  • Interbay Turn-off, 5,000 feet. 20 miles off Foresthill Road on Mosquito Ridge Road (not always plowed, often icy). Popular for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.