10 Best Sledding Hills Around DC

Best time to go: 01/01 - 02/15  

Remember your favorite sledding hill as a kid? It seems like, as adults, we have much bigger things to worry about when the snow comes. I have a short list of things I must do before every big snow:

  1. Move the cars off the street onto the driveway and pop up the wipers
  2. Pull the snow shovel out of the garage and set it on the porch
  3. Decide on the schedule for shaking the trees (usually once for every two inches)
  4. Lay out the snowpants and sleds so the kids don’t bother me for 24 hours

But sometimes we all need to be kids again, or — if your kids are smaller than mine — leaving them to their own devices is not an option. In that case, it’s best to find the biggest, baddest hill for creating family memories.

Choosing a good sled hill means finding something that works for both the daredevils and those with more delicate constitutions. For a short ride, an overpass where the underpassing street is well protected will do. But for bigger thrills, you’ll need to consult a topo map, like those that the USGS offers for free online.

One note of warning before we begin: be sure to have a speedy exit plan. When it comes to snow, my son is like a dog who has just discovered road kill for the first time: he’ll roll in it all day until one of us drags him away. The moment my daughter’s skin touches the snow, though, she’ll inform anyone who will listen that she has broken her arm and needs to go to the hospital immediately. Once a kiddo meets their snow limit, it’s too late to avoid a long, miserable walk home. So pick a hill near your basecamp. With so many hills around us, it’s easier than you think.

Sledding Hills in Virginia

Marcey Park ( 2845 Marcey Rd): One of the problems of sledding in the capital area is that the snow usually melts from the hills before the roads are cleared. One solution is to pull a free topo map of your neighborhood to find sledding hills within walking distance of your home. Another solution is to find a hill with limited sunlight. Marcey Park offers one such hill, just above the Tennis Courts and below the main parking lot.

The USGS offers topo maps like the one above, which are helpful for finding sledding hills within walking distance of your home.

Masonic Temple ( 101 Callahan Dr): The Masonic Temple in Old Town Alexandria is hella weird inside. But you don’t have to bring a cat sacrifice if you’re just there to enjoy the hill.

Bluemont Park ( 601 N Manchester St): This is the favorite in our neighborhood because it offers a long, gradual slope that is perfect for young kids. The hill is above the parking lot on 4th and Manchester.

Maryland Sledding Hills

Takoma Park Middle School ( 7611 Piney Branch Rd): I don’t usually go to Takoma Park Middle School, but when I do, I go for the hill.

Sledding Hills in Washington, DC

Capitol Hill ( 1st Street Southeast): When Alexis de Tocqueville called our choice of the word “capitol” for our new congressional building “pompous,” he clearly hadn’t seen the hill it sits upon. As far as I’m concerned, he can go sit on that hill now. As long as he brings a sled.

Book Hill Park ( 1693 Wisconsin Ave NW): Behind Georgetown Library, past the grotto-like shade of towering trees, there is a big ass hill.

Fort Reno Park ( 3800 Donaldson Pl NW): In 1861, Major John Barnard chose the highest point in Washington, DC to build his fort. He must have been a sledder.

Battery Kemble Park ( Garfield Street Northwest & 49th Street Northwest): They don’t sell batteries here, but they do offer sledding. For free. But only when it snows.

Meridian Hill Park ( 16th St NW &, W St NW): You might think that a giant fountain that is turned off for the winter is lame. But then you’d be wrong.

Rock Creek Park ( 2401 N St NW): This place has a great history. And a good place to sled.

Further Afield

Several DC-area ski resorts also dedicate part of their property to sledding or tubing. Liberty Mountain, Massanutten Resort, and Bryce all offer moderately-priced sledding options.

I’ve always wanted to try sledding at Sky Meadows, but the kids never seem to want to do a 45 minute drive in the winter. So I’m only about 90% sure the rangers will be fine with you turning their park into a sled hill, but I’ve read that “nearly all [Virginia State] parks have some sort of hill you can reclaim for snow-tubing or sledding.”