There isn’t really anything better than a good old fashioned giggle-fest, which is what a trip to Woolly’s Tube Park really delivers on.
It’s just so much fun to slide down a hill on an inner tube. Why? Maybe it’s the low energy commitment (you get dragged up the hill on a rope tow which is almost as fun as the ride down). Maybe it’s the sweet tunes blasting on the speakers (think Tom Petty and The Beatles). Maybe it’s the little kids giggling with their parents. Maybe it’s the awesome employees at the top of the hill who are out of breath from spinning people down (get the ‘reverse cannonball’). Maybe it’s the fun games the employees play—If your hat flies off your head, you’re eligible for a free hot cocoa. If you pick up someone else’s hat from the slope as you careen down, you’re also a winner. Maybe it’s the full bar. Seriously—they sell liquor there. But it’s hard to imagine an activity that’s more mellow and memory-making for a family just looking to have fun.
Woolly’s is located on the road up to Mammoth’s Main Lodge. Just like Mammoth Mountain, they do “dynamic pricing,” but I’m pretty sure the price for an hour and fifteen minute session tops out at $41 for an adult (13 and over). Kids are the same price, shockingly, though you can get them in cheaper mid-week. If you’re really having a blast, you can get a “re-ride” ticket for an extra hour ($20 more).
There’s also a snow play area with the tube version of a merry-go-round, where the littles can sit in tiny tubes and get dragged around in a circle. That costs 20 bucks too.
But I’m almost willing to say it’s worth it. Again, it’s just so much fun.
Our advice would be to hit the tube park mid-week or earlier in the day to avoid lines. They do operate two rope tows when it gets really busy, but the operator on the day I visited said that, even then, lines can take over 20 minutes to get back up to the top of the hill, plus a two-hour wait outside the park for guests to turn over so new ones can enter.
Woolly’s Tube Park is located on Minaret Road (Highway 203) halfway between The Village and Main Lodge. It’s ope daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (weather permitting) and the last tickets are sold at 3:45 p.m. Call 1.800.MAMMOTH.
Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.