Now that the ground is finally covered in a layer of wintry white, it’s time to make childhood memories by bundling up and hitting the sledding slopes. Read on for the skinny on the best Iowa City-area sledding hills!
10 Best Iowa City-Area Sledding Hills
1. Hoover Elementary School
2200 E. Court St., Iowa City
This is a medium-grade hill that is big enough to be exciting, but not too big that small children are unable to climb back up after a run. It’s also very wide, so users have room to spread out. Do keep in mind that this and all the other public school playgrounds are closed to the public during the school day.
2. Longfellow Elementary School
1130 Seymour Ave., Iowa City
The school grounds basically have a half-ring of medium-grade slopes all emptying into a large central area. A good choice for the younger set, as there is plenty of room to spread out, it’s not overly intense, and it’s far from traffic.
3. Hickory Hill Park
E. Bloomington St., Iowa City
This is a hike-in option with a hill both steep and tall from atop a manmade, dam-like structure. Enter Hickory Hill Park from the East Bloomington Street entrance and follow the trail to the right about a quarter-mile to reach the sledding run. This location offers a unique two-tier hill that adds excitement.
4. Happy Hollow Park
800 Brown St., Iowa City
This is perhaps the steepest option, a short but fast run that shoots users down a narrow track between trees on a wooded hillside. The staging area at the top of the hill is right next to a busy road, so it’s probably not the best option for littles even without the intense grade of the hill. There are some shorter slopes across the park, closer to the parking area, that offer more options for smaller kids.
5. Lincoln Elementary School
300 Teeters Ct., Iowa City
Unfortunately, construction at this school seems to have rendered the sledding hills inaccessible this winter, and from my vantage point (peering out my car window as I drove slowly by) the new addition may be being built right atop some of the best hills. However, there may be some options next year–the hills dropping in all around this property looked so great that I’m still including the site here and making a mental note to check in again next year.
6. Myrtle Ave., Iowa City
The granddaddy of them all, this is a huge and steep hill (with a beautiful view of downtown from the top) that starts from the parking lot behind University Preschool. Unfortunately, you can and will shoot out into traffic onto busy Riverside Drive at the bottom, so you must be comfortable with pitching your body into the snow at the bottom in order to stop your forward momentum. Not for the faint of heart.
7. Shimek Elementary School
1400 Grissel Pl., Iowa City
This is a very long, gradual hill on the school playground. Gently rolling hills lead down to a final, slightly steeper drop into a bowl-shaped depression in the ground. The playground is tucked away from streets as well, but this may not be the best choice for toddlers as it’s a long trek back up to the top (of course, you could just start from the top of the final descent to avoid that).
8. West High School
2901 Melrose Ave., Iowa City
A variety of longer, more gradual hills on the school grounds, with a nice view and isolation from heavy traffic, this is a decent option for sledders of all ages.
9. Brown Deer Golf Course
1900 Country Club Dr., Coralville
There are some very long hills here, with plenty of room to spread out.
10. F. W. Kent Park
2048 US Highway 6, Oxford
I’ve heard tell of a huge hill near the Bob White shelter, though I’ve yet to witness it with my own eyes. The Iowa City Press-Citizen even called it “maybe the best place to sled in the county.” My kids are 8 and 12 now, so we’re ready for some death-defying thrills–this may be the place we check out next.
For more visuals on local hills, check out my friend Emily Farber’s YouTube video showing you Hoover, Happy Hollow, and Hickory Hill–she even has drone video! If you want to venture further afield, here are 10 sledding hills around the state that look pretty amazing.