As we near the end of the calendar, the days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder.  We all know what comes next: snow.  While this is incredibly exciting to some people, many of us hear that four-letter word and instantly cringe.

But why dread the inevitable?  Why hide inside the minute the flakes begin to fly?  There are plenty of outdoor activities that we can only enjoy this special time of year, such as sledding and tubing.

So rather than sitting in the house when the snow starts, bundle up, dig those sleds out of the garage, and head out to a giant hill! Here are some places to go sledding and tubing in Western New York this winter.

Akron Falls Park, 44 Parkview Dr., Akron, (716) 858-8355

Aside from beautiful scenery, Akron Falls Park provides areas for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and ice skating.  For more information on the park, check out the Akron Falls Park page on the Erie County Parks website.

Beaver Island State Park, 2136 West Oakfield Rd., Grand Island, (716) 773-3271

Open from dawn to dusk, Beaver Island State Park offers areas for sledding and trails for snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Chestnut Ridge Park Sledding Hill, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Orchard Park, (716) 662-3290

Chestnut Ridge Park is arguably one of the best sledding places in the area.  From giant hills to toboggan chutes (operated from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays), this is the place to enjoy tobogganing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking and snowmobiling all winter long! Check out Chestnut Ridge Park’s page on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry website for more information.

Como Lake Park, 2220 Como Park Blvd., Lancaster, (716) 858-8355

Como Lake Park offers sledding hills, two ice skating rinks and cross-country ski trails. The two ice skating rinks are free to the public (weather permitting, open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

Delaware Park, Meadow Drive, Buffalo, (716) 838-1249

Delaware Park in Buffalo offers sledding to kids of all ages. Behind Marcy Casino, Shakespeare Hill is popular because it’s not a huge hill, so it’s easy for everyone to get up and down.

Ellicott Creek Park, Niagara Falls Boulevard and Ellicott Creek Road, North Tonawanda, (716) 858-8355

Ellicott Creek Park in North Tonawanda has a sledding hill, places for cross-country skiing, and accessible facilities.  As an Erie County Park, Ellicott Creek Park opens at 7 a.m. and closes at dusk.

Elma Meadows Golf Course & Park, 1711 Girdle Rd., Elma, (716) 652-5475

Elma Meadows not only provides an impressive golf course for the summer, but excellent hills for sledding, tobogganing, snowboarding and tubing, and groomed cross-country trails for winter sports lovers!  As an Erie County Park, Elma Meadows opens at 10 a.m. and closes at dusk.  The sled hill is open at 10 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. and XC skiing is open at 9 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Learn more information on the Elma Meadows Golf Course & Park page on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry website.

Fort Niagara State Park, Scott Avenue, Youngstown, (716) 745-7273

Open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the winter months, Fort Niagara State Park has places to sled as well as snowshoeing and cross country ski trails.

Genesee County Park and Forest, 11095 Bethany Center Rd., East Bethany

Genesee County Park and Forest, which residents refer to as their “best-kept secret,” features two toboggan hills for sledding and trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.  Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gunther’s Hill, Woodlawn Avenue, Hamburg

“Hamburg’s own little gem.” Woodlawn Avenue slopes down straight toward 18 Mile Creek. Gunther's Hill offers sledding to all ages.

Holiday Valley, Ellicottville, (716) 699-2345

Holiday Valley is the place to go for the ultimate tubing experience. They are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 9 p.m. through March 16, 2014.  You can enjoy the hill for two hours for $17 a person or all day for just $25. New for 2013-2014 is an outdoor skiing rink with all-day skate for just $5. The Holiday Valley website provides more information on group rates, what to wear and expect, and directions.

Colden Tubing Co., 10296 State Rd., Glenwood

Colden Tubing Co. at Kissing Bridge is WNY’s largest tubing park; they supply you with tubes and pull you up the giant hill with a lift. Season passes are $50. They are closed Monday through Thursday, but their hours on the weekends are: Friday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Holiday hours do vary. Visit the Colden Tubing Co. or Kissing Bridge websites for more info.

Reservoir State Park, Lewiston, (716) 297-4484

Reservoir State Park is located by the 190 to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. You can sled down the retaining wall surrounding the hydroelectric power plant reservoir. Sledding is offered and recommended for older kids because it is large and steep.

View Sledding Hills And Tubing Spots in Western New York in a larger map

Contributed by Brittany Collins, Katherine Trautwein, and Rachel Specht

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