Sled Lawrence: A primer to the best sledding spots in town (even if there's no snow)

There may not be snow on the ground (yet), but that doesn't mean you can't scope out the best hills for when Old Man Winter finally gets here.

There may not be snow on the ground (yet), but that doesn't mean you can't scope out the best hills for when Old Man Winter finally gets here.


There may not be snow on the ground (yet), but that doesn't mean you can't scope out the best hills for when Old Man Winter finally gets here.

The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a wet winter in the Heartland, which means there should be plenty of opportunities to break out the sled. To help get you into the sledding mind-set, here is a list of some of the hot sledding spots in Lawrence. We’ve rated the runs on a 1 to 5 scale for “thrill factor,” highlighted the major obstacles and made our recommendations regarding which hills are suitable for whom. Be careful and have fun!

Campanile Hill

Memorial Drive

This hill just north of the Campanile tower on the Kansas University campus is the classic Lawrence sledding experience. The wide, steep and long slope is popular with both KU students and Lawrence residents, and on snowy afternoons is filled with people using everything from cardboard boxes to inner tubes as sleds. Campanile Hill does have a number of obstacles and sledding injuries are not uncommon. Sled at your own risk and use common sense.

Thrill factor: 5

Obstacles: Trees, man-made moguls, sidewalk railings, college students

Best for: Older kids/experienced sledders

Joseph R. Pearson Hall

The hill to the east of the parking lot behind Joseph R. Pearson Hall is short but steep. It’s a decent alternative for sledders who are tired of climbing the Campanile Hill and just want a little speed.

Thrill factor: 4

Obstacles: Trees, sidewalk, parking lot at far end of run.

Best for: Experienced sledders

Hashinger Hall

Legend has it that cafeteria trays used to be the preferred sledding device on campus, so this gentle slope behind Hashinger Hall, just to the northeast of Mrs. E’s, could be a convenient place to relive history. However, this run is more likely to excite the children of Stouffer Place than it is the college freshman in the dorms.

Thrill factor: 2

Obstacles: Minimal

Best for: Young kids

Alvamar public golf course

1800 Crossgate Drive

The hill to the southwest of Alvamar Country Club seems to have it all. The hill is long and steep, and because it is part of the golf course during the rest of the year, the run is free of obstacles, and the grass beneath the snow is kept short. The catch? This hill is only open to club members. Families willing to spring for a social membership to the club can enjoy the ski lodge environment of this spot — complete with fire pits, hot chocolate and an indoor area with a restaurant overlooking the hill.

Thrill factor: 3.5

Obstacles: None

Best for: Club members and their friends.

Centennial Park

Located between Sixth and Ninth streets, Iowa Street and Rockledge Road

This city park offers a few different choices in hills, but the most popular is the wide hill to the west of the Ninth Street parking lot. “It’s not really steep, but it’s a pretty good, long run.” said Mark Hecker, the Parks and Maintenance Superintendent for Lawrence Parks and Recreation. “You can kind of take it different angles if you want to go a little faster.” Convenient parking also makes this spot attractive.

Thrill factor: 3

Obstacles: A few trees, other people, a small creek

Best for: Families with children in grade school and younger.

“Dad” Perry Park (West and North)

West, 1200 Monterrey Way

Of the two “Dad” Perry Parks, the west one offers more in the way of sledding and has a short and steep run popular with families. Hecker said Perry Park West is one of the two parks where the city mows the grass short specifically for the benefit of sledders. The other is Centennial Park.

Thrill factor: 3.5

Obstacles: A few trees

Best for: Families with grade school kids and younger.

North, Harvard and Parkside roads

The hills at Perry Park North are short, tame and perfect for little ones who scare easily or tire quickly.

Thrill factor: 2

Obstacles: None

Best for: Beginners and the very young.

East side of Clinton Lake dam

The steep embankment east of Clinton Dam is a spot for sledders who favor the extreme. Justin Bays, a former Lawrence resident who sledded on the dam regularly in high school, said the dam is definitely not for children. Aside from being steep and fast, the rocks at the end of the run create a ramp capable of launching sleds several feet. “I saw a few sleds get cracked or rendered useless in my youth,” said Bays. Corp of Engineers Park Ranger Samantha Walker said that although they do not prohibit sledding on the dam, the Corp does not recommend it because of the potential hazards.

Thrill factor: 5+

Obstacles: Steel pipes protruding from ground, rocks at end of the run and a road beyond the rocks.

Best for: Experienced sledders looking for an adrenaline rush.

Clinton Overlook Park

800 N. 1402 Road

This is the hill that the Corp of Engineers recommends as an alternative to sledding on the dam. The hill is long, decently steep, and the view is great.

Thrill factor: 3.5

Obstacles: A few trees and park benches

Best for: Families with grade school kids and younger.


happydays 10 years, 1 month ago

You forgot the hill that runs along kasold at Fall Creek Farms. Long and steep with no obstacles. The walk back to the top stinks though.

mesocosm 10 years, 1 month ago

Forgot the hill between Wescoe and Haworth Hall

Tony Holladay 10 years, 1 month ago

Clinton park has a small hill. Short run but the toddlers seem to like it.

tobogganist 10 years, 1 month ago

Nice list! You can also check out for a map of local hills and add the above hills if they are not located on the map. The site includes ratings for steepness, obstructions, popularity, and parking. Happy sledding. :)

LawrenceKids 10 years, 1 month ago

nice list... strikingly similar to the one published in Lawrence Kids last year.

George Bures 10 years, 1 month ago

When talking about Campanile Hill, I assume you are referring to the hill down towards the stadium. When I was at KU we "Trayed" the hill behind Strong and Snow out on to Potter Lake. Of course Potter had to be frozen over. Great Times.

Christine Anderson 10 years, 1 month ago

Very depressing to read, since there is no snow. Ppppfffttt!

cindyb 10 years ago

Thank You! Now I know where to take my grandkids.

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