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Wisconsin State Parks

Wisconsin State Park System Cross-country ski trails

Wisconsin's state parks and forests take on a special beauty when covered by winter's white blanket of snow. Enjoy the winter scenery, get healthy exercise and have some fun by cross-country skiing on nearly 700 miles of groomed trails. Many clubs, ski teams and youth programs use Wisconsin's parks and forests to practice for races such as the American Birkebeiner and several properties schedule occasional candlelight ski nights throughout the winter.

Skiers on a trail.

Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay in shape and have fun.
Photo © Wisconsin Department of Tourism

Cross-country ski trails in state parks and forests

Wisconsin's state parks, trails and forests have nearly 700 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Some are tracked for traditional skiing, some groomed for skate-style skiing and many are wide enough to accommodate both styles. There are also numerous miles of ungroomed trail for skiers to explore.

Cross-country skiing at Lapham Peak.

A trail groomed for both skaters and traditional skiers.
Photo by John Lupo

Most properties require a park admission sticker to park a vehicle at the property. Some properties require a state trail pass for cross-country ski trails. Trail passes are needed for skiers age 16 and older and are good for the calendar year.

Ski trails may be closed if snow conditions are poor. Click on the current conditions link for the park or forest where you are interested in skiing for information about ski conditions.

  • $ - means the property requires a State Trail Pass.
  • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

Skier going uphill
Skiers can find a variety of trails in Wisconsin's parks and forests, from flat terrain to challenging hills.
Photo by Tom Davenport, RD Image

Aztalan State Park — 1.5 miles of ungroomed trail in this park near Lake Mills.

Big Bay State Park—5.2 miles of classic groomed trails in this park on Madeline Island in Lake Superior. Ferry Service from Bayfield is available until the ferry is unable to break the ice on the lake. When ferry service is no longer available, an ice road or windsleds and passenger vans may be available to Madeline Island.

Big Foot Beach State Park — 6 miles of classic groomed trails in this park near Lake Geneva.

Black River State Forest — 24 miles of classic groomed and 14 miles of skate groomed trails. The trailhead is near County Highway O in Jackson County and features a heated log warming shelter. $

Blue Mound State Park — 10 miles of groomed trails, including a warming shelter in this park near the village of Blue Mounds. All trails are tracked for classical skiing when snow depth and conditions allow. In low snow conditions all the trails are groomed for skating. Call the park for current ski trail conditions. $

Brule River State Forest — 18 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails on the Afterhours Ski Trail System. The forest also offers 11 miles of ungroomed trails. The trailhead and warming shelter are west of Brule on Afterhours Road, just south of Highway 2. $

Brunet Island State Park — 5 miles of classic groomed trails in this park near Cornell.

Buckhorn State Park — 4 miles of classic groomed trail, when staffing is available, including 1.5 miles of ungroomed trail in this park near Necedah.

Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area — 10 miles of ungroomed trails. Cadiz is west of Monroe, near State Highway 11.

Capital Springs State Park — 5 Miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this park near Madison. A warming shelter is available. $ - Either a State Park Trail Pass or Dane County Cross County Ski Permit is required.

Copper Falls State Park — 14 miles of classic groomed trails and 7 miles of skate groomed trails, including 3.5 miles of groomed snowshoe trail, in this park near Mellen.

Boy and grandfather skiing
Skiers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the different groomed trails.
Photo by Kine Torinus

Council Grounds State Park — 5 miles of classic groomed trails in this park near Merrill.

Devil's Lake State Park — 5 miles of classic groomed trails at this park near Baraboo. Trails begin at the Steinke Basin trailhead off of County Highway DL.

Flambeau River State Forest — 14 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails, including 6.2 miles of ungroomed trails. Trailheads are near State Highway 70 and County Highway W. $

Governor Dodge State Park — 12.5 miles of classic groomed trails. This park near Dodgeville, also offers 4.5 miles of ungroomed trails.

Governor Knowles State Forest — 10 miles of classic groomed trails, including a shelter and 20 miles of undesignated and ungroomed trails. The groomed trail loops are off Gile Road, about 6 miles north of State Highway 70.$

Governor Nelson State Park — 5.5 miles of classic groomed and 4 miles of skate groomed trails in this park near Waunakee.

Governor Thompson State Park — 5 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this park near Crivitz and Twin Bridge. The park also offers 2.5 miles of groomed snowshoe trail and 8 miles of ungroomed trails. A warming shelter is available with a wood stove. Trailhead is at the Woods Lake Picnic Area on Paust Lane off of Ranch Road.

Green Circle State Trail — 24 miles of classic groomed trail within and around Stevens Point.

Harrington Beach State Park — 3 miles of classic groomed trails in this park on Lake Michigan near Belgium.

Hartman Creek State Park — 6.8 miles of classic groomed and 2.2 miles of skate groomed trails and a shelter in this park near Waupaca.

Havenwoods State Forest — 2.5 miles of ungroomed trail and a shelter at this forest in Milwaukee.

High Cliff State Park — 6 miles of classic groomed trails. Family campground roads are closed and groomed for skate skiing.

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area — 8 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails, including 2 miles of ungroomed trails. Hoffman Hills is west of Menomonie just north of Interstate 94. $

Interstate Park — 3 miles of classic groomed trails and shelter in this park near St. Croix Falls.

Cross-country Racers
Wisconsin's parks and forests are a great place to train for races such as the American Birkebeiner.
Photo © Department of Tourism

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit — 24.5 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails, including 49 miles of ungroomed trails in this forest in eastern Wisconsin.

  • Greenbush trail system loops and warming shelter.
  • Zillmer trail system loops and warming shelter. $
  • New Fane system, ungroomed trails.

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit — Over 3 miles of cross country ski trails are groomed for classical and skate skiing. The trailhead is located at the Nature Trail parking lot. No trail pass required.

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit — 52 miles of classic groomed trails and 40.5 miles of skate groomed trails in this forest in southeast Wisconsin. $

  • Nordic trail system loops and warming shelter.
  • McMiller trail system loops and warming shelter.
  • Scuppernong trail system loops.

Kinnickinnic State Park — 6.5 miles of ungroomed trails in this park near River Falls. Park access is limited to foot travel only via snowshoes, skiing, or hiking. The entrance gate is closed and the road is not plowed. Visitors may park at the entrance gate.

Kohler-Andrae State Park — 2 miles of classic groomed trails in this park on Lake Michigan near Sheboygan.

Lake Kegonsa State Park — 5 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this park near Stoughton.

Lake Wissota State Park — 7 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this park near Chippewa Falls. A shelter is available.

Trail map at a kiosk

Skiers look over a trail map at Lapham Peak.
Photo © Department of Tourism

Lapham Peak Unit, Kettle Moraine State Forest — 17.2 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this unit of the Kettle Moraine Forest near Delafield. A warming shelter is available. $

  • 2.5 miles of lighted trails for night skiing and snowmaking equipment available

Merrick State Park — 2 miles of ungroomed trails in this park along the Mississippi River near Fountain City.

Mirror Lake State Park — 18 miles of combination skate- and classic-groomed trails and one mile of classic-groomed trail in this park near Lake Delton/Wisconsin Dells.

Newport State Park — 8 miles of classic groomed and 1.5 miles of skate groomed trails. The park, near Ellison Bay in Door County, also offers a shelter and 12 miles of ungroomed trails.

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest — 52 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in Wisconsin's largest state forest, in Vilas, Oneida and Iron counties. The NH-AL State Forest also offers 74.6 miles of ungroomed trails. $

  • McNaughton trail system loops and shelter.
  • Raven trail system loops and shelter.
  • Escanaba trail system loops and shelter.
  • Madeline trail system loops and shelter.

Pattison State Park — 4.4 miles of classic groomed trails and shelter in this park near Superior.

Peninsula State Park — 16 miles of classic groomed and 6 miles of skate groomed trails in this park near Fish Creek in Door County. A warming shelter is available. $

Warming shelter at Lapham Peak

Several parks and forests have warming shelters available for skiers.
Photo by John Lupo

Perrot State Park — 9 miles of classic groomed and 1.2 miles of skated groomed trails in this park along the Missisippi River near Trempealeau. $

Peshtigo River State Forest — 6 miles of combined classic and skate trails in this forest in northeast Wisconsin near Crivitz. A 1-mile snowshoe trail is also available. The Spring Rapids Trailhead is about 5 miles west of Crivitz.

Pike Lake Unit, Kettle Moraine State Forest — 2.5 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Hartford. $

Point Beach State Forest — 11 miles of classic groomed and 3.5 miles of skate groomed trails in this forest along Lake Michigan near Two Rivers. Point Beach also offers a shelter and a 1-mile ungroomed trail.

Potawatomi State Park — 9 miles of classic groomed and 8 miles of skate groomed trail in this park near Sturgeon Bay in Door County. A shelter is available.

Red Cedar State Trail — 7 miles of this linear rail trail are groomed for both classic and skate style sking. The Red Cedar State Trail begins near Menomonie. $

Ice wall along trail

The Red Cedar State Trail takes skiers past a natural ice wall.
Photo © Department of Tourism

Richard Bong State Recreation Area — 16 miles of ungroomed trail are available at this recreation area near Kansasville.

Roche-A-Cri State Park — 6 miles of trail are groomed as staffing allows.

Whitefish Dunes State Park — 7 miles of classic groomed trails including a shelter and 1.3 miles of ungroomed trail in this park near Sturgeon Bay in Door County.

Wildcat Mountain State Park — 7 miles of classic groomed and 5 miles of skate groomed trails in this park near Ontario. A shelter is available.

Willow River State Park — 10.5 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails, including a warming shelter and 2 miles of ungroomed trail in this park near Hudson.

Wyalusing State Park — 8.2 miles of combined classic and skate groomed trails in this park on the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien.

Yellowstone Lake State Park — 4.2 miles of classic groomed trails and a shelter in this park near Blanchardville.

Cross-country skiing on linear state trails

Skier on a state trail
Cross-country skiing on the La Crosse River State Trail.
Photo © Department of Tourism

Many state rail trails allow cross-country skiing on the trail corridor. Linear state trails are mainly straight trails with a generally level grade. Except for the Red Cedar State Trail, these trails are not groomed for cross-country skiing and skiers must share the trails with snowmobiles and other winter trail users.

Trail Name Miles
400 State Trail 22
Ahnapee State Trail 29
Badger State Trail 32
Bearskin State Trail 18
Chippewa River State Trail 26
Elroy-Sparta State Trail 32
Gandy Dancer State Trail 47
Glacial Drumlin State Trail 52
Great River State Trail 24
La Crosse River State Trail 24
Military Ridge State Trail 40
Mountain-Bay State Trail 89
Oconto River State Trail 8
Old Abe State Trail 20
Sugar River State Trail 24
Tomorrow River State Trail 14
White River State Trail 11
Wild Goose State Trail 32
Wiouwash State Trail 16

More Information

Last revised: Friday December 12 2014