Cross-country skiing is woven into Wisconsin’s winter heritage, plus it’s a fun, active way to explore our winter wonderland. Here’s to gliding through snow-covered landscapes with those who matter most.
Plan your trip with Travel Wisconsin’s Snow Report
Wisconsin is fortunate to have a lot of tremendous cross-country skiing destinations in local, county and state parks, plus nonprofit and privately operated trail networks.
With Travel Wisconsin’s Snow Report you can discover which trails are adventure-ready! The Snow Report is an interactive map detailing snow conditions at cross-country skiing trails, plus downhill skiing and snowboarding hills, and snowmobile trails.
Take a trip to a state park or forest to go skiing
Our State Parks are top-quality destinations any season.But in winter, cross-country skiing provides a new perspective to take in these natural gems.
The Wisconsin State Park System grooms hundreds of miles of trails. Some trails 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 trails for skiers to explore. Dozens of state-operated properties offer cross-country skiing trails, so wherever your winter travels take you, you’re sure to find a state park or forest to ski in.
The Kettle Moraine State Forest has 70 miles of groomed skiing trails across the various units of the state forest.The Lapham Peak Unit near Delafield, for example, offers exceptional skiing because of snowmaking equipment.You’ll also discover 2.5 miles of lighted trails for night skiing.These lights keep the trails open until 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays!
In the heart of the Northwoods, a trip to the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is a must for cross-country skiing.This is Wisconsin’s largest state forest spread across Vilas, Oneida and Iron counties.Its impressive network of paths includes 42 miles of groomed trails and 74 miles of ungroomed trails!You can make it a multi-day skiing trip, tackling different loops each day.Shelters along the way keep you toasty when you need a break, and the trails wind through stunning landscapes of snow-laden pines and ice-covered lakes.
Visit the famed American Birkebeiner race in Cable and Hayward
Wisconsin has the distinction of hosting North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon. The American Birkebeiner is a massive draw for competitive skiers from across the country and globe. Each February, a festive atmosphere overtakes the Cable and Hayward area for a long weekend of races.
This year’s 49th annual Birkebeiner happens February 22 to 26. It features competitions for children, skiers new to the sport, skijoring with your dog, adaptive athletes and, of course, the iconic namesake race. You can’t miss the electrifying energy in downtown Hayward. Throughout the day, the crowd cheers on skiers of all skill levels and abilities as they cross the finish line.
When you’re in the area, the Seeley Sawmill Saloon is an iconic destination to visit. The restaurant is about at the mid-way point of the Birkie Trail. The outside of the building looks like it was pulled out of a small Swiss village and plopped in northern Wisconsin. Inside, wood accents and a collection of rustic decorations craft a warm atmosphere. Choose from one of Sawmill Saloon’s handcrafted specialty pizzas, filling burgers or, on Fridays, wild-caught cod that can be ordered broasted or baked.
Start your winter getaway at TravelWisconsin.com