Snow. It’s a novelty for Southern children, especially when it gets deep enough to actually cover the ground and have some fun. But Mother Nature doesn’t have to cover the ground in white stuff to go snow tubing in NC, most of these resorts can do that on their own. Here’s your guide to North Carolina tubing excitement.
Although we were visiting the North Carolina ski resorts, my boys had just as much fun off the slopes playing in the snow and going snow tubing in NC at Hawks Nest tubing park.
But Hawk’s Nest isn’t the only snow tubing in NC. Once you are in North Carolina you may wonder, ‘where’s the closest snow tubing near me?’ Well, here is more about our Hawks Nest tubing adventure, as well as the other snow tube parks in North Carolina.
Hawks Nest: Snow Tubing in NC
A few years ago we took a trip to Beech Mountain to see some North Carolina snow. In Atlanta we may get a dusting, but nothing like we found up north. We hit the ski resorts in NC, and then the Beech Mountain free sledding hill. The sledding hill was a great warm up to snow tubing at Hawks Nest, in Seven Devils NC, the largest snowtubing park on the East coast and only about 30 minutes from Beech Mountain and the North Carolina ski resorts. Hawks Nest was once one of the ski resorts in North Carolina, but now offers the best snow tubing in NC with 30 lanes of snowtubing plus a zipline course that is open year round.
Hawks Nest Tubing
Hawks Nest tubing lanes are from 400 to 1000 feet long and are separated into four different sections. The front two sections, including the longest run, and has a magic carpet walkway to bring you back up the hill.
The carpet is slow, so if you are physically able, or want a great workout, head to the back two sections. You’ll get in more runs by walking rather than waiting for the magic carpet conveyor belt. Staff are stationed at the top and bottom of each hill to keep things moving and help if needed.
Children must be able to touch the ground while inside the tube in order to ride alone (they need to put their feet down to stop themselves). My youngest is about 48 inches tall and had to ride with an adult. He didn’t care, but if you have really independent child, better warn them first.
Snow Tubing in NC: Hawks Nest Snow Tubing Session
HawksNest tubing sessions are 1 hour and 45 minutes. The timing is about right. Hard core tubers may want more time, but we were getting a bit tired when the bell rang. Make sure to get there early so you are ready to go at the beginning of the session – after an hour, you’ll likely still want to go more. Between each session the hills are groomed, so it’s a nice course no matter what time you go. Plus Hawks Nest now has snow making capabilities, so you are guaranteed good snow coverage.
The HawksNest zipline has three courses, The Hawk ziplining tour, the Eagle ziplining tour and the Snowbird zip line.
We took the Hawk tour which is over 1.5 miles of cable riding. The first is a short zip to get you going, then they get progressively longer. The lines go over the snow tube riders and have some great mountain views.
Experienced guides are with you the entire way, making sure you are strapped in correctly and assisting those that are a bit light to get across the zips. You must be at least 5-years-old to zip, but unless you have an extremely adventurous 5-year-old, I’d wait a bit. Weight is what gets you across the zip line, so if children are too light, they won’t be able to make it all the way across.
We went on a windy day and even my 13-year-old needed help to get across one of the lines. There are a total of 10 lines at Hawks Nest. On Winter weekends and holidays, the tour only goes on four of the lines, so check before you go what is available.
Snow Tubing in NC: Hawks Nest Lodge
The Hawks Nest lodge has several different food options if you get hungry, however, we saw many folks bringing their own sandwiches and opting for a sweet treat afterwards. For adults who don’t want to tube, the top of the lodge has a bar with large windows to watch the fun.
According to the staff, the busiest season is between Christmas and New Years. Weekends of course are busier than weekdays. You can go online and order your tickets for snow tubing and/or make reservations for zip lining. During the high season, both tubing and zip lining can sell out, so be sure to purchase tickets or call the resort ahead of time to make sure they have spaces available. There are a limited number of tubers and zippers to ensure a good experience for those on the hill.
What: Snow Tubing and Zipline Course
Where: Hawks Nest
When: Tubing: Dec. – Early April (weather permitting) Ziplining: Year Round
Photos: For photos visit Field Trips with Sue on Facebook
More Places for Snow Tubing in NC
Wolf Tube at Wolf Ridge. Wolf Ridge is located just 5 miles off I-26 in the mountains of Western North Carolina near Asheville. In addition to North Carolina skiing, Wolf Ridge has a snow tubing run. Wolf Ridge has also been called Wolf Laurel Ski Resort, so if you are looking at reviews, check out both Wolf Ridge and Wolf Laurel Ski Resort.
Sapphire Valley. Sapphire Valley Ski Resort in Sapphire NC, has a moderate slope fit for intermediate skiers and ideal for youth and beginners. However, Sapphire Valley offers more than just skiing on it’s 5700 acre resort, this is also a good North Carolina snow vacation destination. There is the Frozen Falls snow tubing park and winter zip lining at the Vordach Zip Line, plus a Base Lodge with fire pit to warm up afterwards. The zip lines varying heights and lengths. Finish up with a repel down the tree or a zip. A favorite annual event here is the Great Outhouse races. During the race, homemade outhouses are put on skis and sent down the hill for charity.
Scaly Mountain. Ride the magic carpet to the top for some thrilling snowtubing. No worries if Mother Nature doesn’t supply the white stuff, Scaly has snow making equipment. Note that kids must be 42 inches or taller and at least 4 years-old to ride. They do have a kiddie slope that is open for little kid snowtubing. And if you get tired of snow tubing, Scaly Mountain has an ice skating rink too.
Moonshine Mountain. Moonshine Mountain snow tubing park in Hendersonville, NC is the steepest snow tubing in NC. This snow tubing NC park has over 500 feet of fun and excitement. Note: Children must be at least 42 inches tall to ride and all children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. The tubers lift has a 250lb weight limit. You can still tube (up to 300 lbs) but if you weigh more than 250, you’ll have to walk to the top of the snow tube run.
Jonas Ridge NC. Take the conveyor to the top and hold on for an exhilarating ride down one of the six lanes on the Jonas Ridge snow tubing hill. Afterwards, warm up near the fireplace or watch others tube from the observation deck. Jonas also has snow guns, so no worries if it hasn’t been a white winter. All children under 6 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Beech Mountain Tubing. One of the newer places for snow tubing in North Carolina is at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Located at the base of the ski slope, the snow tubing chutes are 700 feet long with a magic carpet conveyer to the top.
Sugar Mountain Tubing. Sugar Mountain is best known for some of the best skiing in North Carolina. But they also have a lot to do off the mountain, including snow tubing. Sugar Mountain tube lanes are 700 feet long and have a magic carpet lift, so you don’t have to climb back up to the top on your own. They also have snowmaking and lights, so you can add a bit of fun with night tubing.
Maggie Valley Snow Tubing. Another place for snow tubing in North Carolina is Maggie Valley Snow Tubing at Cataloochee NC Ski Resorts. There are five lanes and riders must be at least 42 inches high. For smaller children, there is a Snow In play area
Tips for a Great Day Snow Tubing in NC
After researching snow tubing in NC, I’ve noticed a few things you need to know before you go.
- Ask about Age Restrictions. Many of the snow tube parks require kids under a certain age to have a parent accompany them, or they must ride in the tube with the parent. My son had to ride with me at Hawks Nest and it wasn’t a big deal, but some kids may be upset by that if they don’t know before going.
- Ask about Weight Restrictions. On the low end for kids, but also on the high end for adults. If children are too light, the tubes can turn over easily. In addition, snow tubes can only support so much weight, so there may be a restriction on the high end too. Ask not only about the tubes, but the magic carpet or lifts. At Moonshine Mountain, anyone over 250 lbs must walk back up to the top vs. taking the lift.
- Is there More to do? Several snow tubing parks are part of NC ski resorts and offer skiing in NC, as well as other activities such as ice skating or a lodge. Some snow tubing establishments like Hawk Nest include zip lining. Know what’s offered before you go so you can either take advantage of the other activities, or let the group know you’ll only be snow tubing.
- North Carolina Snow. Just because you don’t see snow on the ground, doesn’t mean the there is no snow tubing in NC. Many of the snow tube parks have snow making abilities, so if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, that’s ok.
- Dress Warm. Even if the only North Carolina snow is man-made, it can still be cold, especially if the wind is whipping off the mountain. Dress warm. It’s always easier to take off those gloves and hat.
We were provided complimentary admission to Hawks Nest Snow Tubing and Hawks Nest zipline for the purpose of reviewing (as is common in the travel industry), we only recommend places we would stay and products we would use.