Tuolumne Co. offers snow fun less than 2 hours from Merced, what visitors should know

TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The snowy slopes along Highway 108 above Sonora are an inviting sight for many families, especially those who live in lower elevations.

"I've always wanted to go in the snow!" said eight-year-old Dalia Aguilar from Davis. When asked about her first experience, she said it was "great!"

Madisson Yepez and her family made the trip from Hilmar in Merced County. The seven-year-old says she couldn't wait to go sledding because, "You're sliding, and it's fun, you're going woo!"

Holidays and weekends can get exceptionally busy with visitors from out of town. Authorities say while tourists are welcome, they often have problems with people trespassing on private property, leaving trash behind, and parking too close to the highway.

"We've had some collisions, vehicles versus pedestrians," said CHP Officer Joshua McKernan explained. "A couple of years ago, a child was hit because people are either parked in the roadway or close enough where it constitutes a danger."

Officers patrol the popular areas to ensure drivers are following the rules with the goal of keeping everyone safe.

There are also some designated places to play, including Dodge Ridge Ski Area and the Leland High Sierra Snowplay park.

The Leland property is near Strawberry, less than two hours from Merced. Families can rent inner tubes that are great for all ages to go speeding downhill, while also having access to amenities.

Joshua Flookes says his family and friends enjoyed Leland Snowplay before making a quick roadside stop on their way home to Alameda, and they kept safety at the forefront while having fun.

"We all exit out this side of the car. We made a path on our hill; everybody goes up the left, so the lanes are clear when you're going down," Flookes said. "No injuries, everybody had a great time!"
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