Monday, January 5, 2015

Off Roading and Sledding up Foss River Road

We live right in the corridor of a lot of great snow just north of Seattle. Within an hour we have access to a ski resort and if we go a little further east we can visit Leavenworth, a quaint little Bavarian replica town (where we took our babymoon last year!). Even though we're so close to the mountains, our town is only about 70 feet above sea level and don't get very much snow (if any at all). So a little bit of a road trip is in order when we want to go sledding!

Our family tradition has been to go sledding at the start of the new year and the last two years we've kind of struck out with our sledding locations. The first year we checked out Stevens Pass, but there isn't a designated sledding area and the parking lot isn't that much fun. Leavenworth reportedly has one for older kids, but I think there is a height requirement. Last month we drove up Foss River Road outside of Skykomish to chop down our Christmas tree and we knew it would be a great sledding location within a few weeks!

A word of advice - this was mild off-roading conditions. Vehicles with street tires are not recommended to go up this road when it's snowy!  During snowy conditions as a bare minimum we recommend an AWD/4 wheel drive vehicle, with all terrain or mud terrain tires. Bring a set of chains (and any other recovery gear you might have) in case you get stuck, because we did! Thankfully this was considered "fun" for the husbands, so the mamas and kids started sledding while the dads put their off road recovery skills to use. Always travel with a secondary vehicle in case yours get stuck. There's no cell service up there.

My husband's new hobby is quickly becoming off roading in our 3/4 ton Duramax Suburban. This past summer we took our first family-of-four camping trip and teamed up with friends to drive the WADBR (which is an off roading trail that runs from southern Washington to northern Washington) and this month he was excited to get to take our rig out into to snow. Our Suburban has mud terrains and our friends joined us with their 2006 Ram 2500, with a Cummins Turbo Diesel and All Terrain tires

Not too long after switching to the gravel road it became very icy and both vehicles started to slip and slide. We threw down some gravel to gain traction and headed up a little more. The trail quickly becomes switch backs and soon you will see a short cut that connects two switch backs and is the perfect sledding hill. That's where we stopped. A few weeks ago when we had come up this same road it was still mud and rocks we had driven up that short cut. This weekend it was packed snow and was a perfect sled run. So we decided to chain up the trucks to make life a little easier for us and played in the snow for a couple hours. 
PS, did you notice that Penny is wearing a tutu? This girl cracks me up!  She lives in tutus! I got her dressed in her snowsuit, got started on Ruby and found that Penny had somehow procured a tutu - in the car. This girl will always make me laugh!

The snow condition was perfect for making snowmen, angels and sledding. The two toddlers, both aged 2 years 9 months, had a blast and absolutely loved the sled hill. Even Ruby loved snowflakes on her nose and eyelashes (one of her favorite things!) and enjoyed a ride in the infant sled. At first we thought the sled hill might be too long and fast for the toddlers, but even when they took a tumble half way down they got back on the disc and finished up!

Directions: Head east on highway 2 towards Skykomish (about 45 minutes). Stop at the Skykomish Ranger Station (74920 Stevens Pass Highway, Skykomish, WA 98288) to get a map. Continue headed east and turn right on Foss River Road. Follow the signs to Tonga ridge, FS 6830. Keep headed up until you find a decent sledding hill!


  1. This looks like so much fun!! Looks like your girls had a blast. And I seriously love the Snow Tutu... my daughter would probably be rocking the same look. :)



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