The Top Places to Sled in Champaign-Urbana
Grab your sleds, because winter is coming! Find all of our favorite sledding hills for families in Champaign, Urbana and beyond
To those who say Champaign-Urbana is just too flat for sledding, we say pshaw! There are tons of great options when you’re looking for a place to take your kids sledding.
Whether you love snow or hate it, you can’t deny the appeal of bundling up and heading out for some good, old-fashioned cold-weather fun — sledding. And there are plenty of options in the Champaign-Urbana area for this classic winter pastime.
Kids big and small will love the thrill of careening down a hill on a piece of plastic, holding on for dear life.
Just try to make it down the hill without smiling…we double-dog dare you. And when you’re done, you can go home and have cookies and hot chocolate. What’s not to love?
Champaign, Urbana and Savoy
Colbert Park Sled Hill, Savoy: Head to Savoy for this relatively new addition to the local sledding scene; go south on Neil Street (Route 45) and then east on Church Street. This is a pretty high hill, but you can modify for the little ones!
Crystal Lake Park, Urbana: UNAVAILABLE IN 2020. From Derek Liebert, the Urbana Park District’s Superintendent of Planning and Operations: “We have posted no sledding signs as there is still some ongoing construction activities and site work taking place at the base of Cannonball Hill. We have another sledding hill at Prairie Park that we encourage visitors to enjoy in the interim and look forward to having sledding return to Crystal Lake next winter once the lake project is completed.”
[C’mon, how can you resist a sledding area called “Cannonball Hill?” That’s what you’ll find in Urbana’s Crystal Lake Park. Sounds to us like you’re going to need your helmet.]
Orchard Downs, Urbana: More commonly known as the spot where University of Illinois students with families can find a place to live on campus, Orchard Downs is also a swell spot for sledding. It’s located near the corner of Florida and Orchard. This hill is also accessible from Japan House or the Horticulture Field Lab.
Morrissey Park, Champaign: Especially if you’ve got a newer sledder this is the place to go. A great “bunny” hill for the 5-and-under crowd, but older kids can have fun here too. This park can be seen from Windsor Road, but the hill can be accessed off Harrington Drive in Champaign.
Hallbeck Park, Champaign: For the most tiny or timid sledders who seek to avoid both speed and crowds, we recommend the gentle “hill” in Cherry Hills’ Hallbeck Park, on Duncan south of Windsor. (Nearest street parking is just south of the hill on Wedgewood Drive.)
Centennial Park, Champaign: Perhaps the granddaddy of all Chambana sled hills, this Champaign locale is located just west of Prairie Farm and south of the playground. Great for big kids, this is one is pretty steep.
Sledding Hills a Short Drive from Champaign-Urbana
Homer Lake Forest Preserve: Rumor has it that snow makes this 828-acre preserve near Homer into a sledding wonderland, and it even has some historical significance. So after you take the kids sledding, tell them how Abraham Lincoln traveled on what was once a horse trail — and is now a county highway at the north end of the preserve — when he served on the 8th Judicial Circuit.
Allerton Park, Monticello: We’ve heard that Allerton Park in Monticello is a great place to sled. The meadow hill is good for younger kids.
Weldon Springs, Clinton: The farthest spot on our list, Weldon Springs is a winter wonderland for recreation in the snow. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding are all popular here. The sledding hill is even labeled on the map.