Southern Minnesota Ski Trails

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Beautiful views on the ski trails around Winona photo Mary Farrell

Southern Minnesota Ski Trails

Southern Minnesota has a wide variety of state parks, forests and recreational trails that offer fine cross country skiing. Many rivers provide high vistas and abundant wildlife to view. The southern half of Minnesota offers rolling bluff country in the east and wide-open prairies in the west with regions of old-growth forest in between.

 

Key WH = Warming House P = Parking B = Bathroom

 

Albert Lea  Myre-Big Island State Park

8km 507-379-3403 (WH,P, B) Beginner to intermediate trails along Albert Lea Lake and on Big Island. Not groomed.

Austin  Jay C. Hormel Nature Center

15km  507-437-7519 (WH, P, B) Beginner to intermediate, classic and skate trails through woods and prairie. Interpretive building with displays. 

Currie  Fort Ridgely State Park

8km  507-426-7840 (WH, P, B) Visitors are free to ski anywhere in the park except on snowmobile trails. No groomed trails. Sledding hill. 

Faribault  River Bend Nature Center

8km  507-332-7151 (WH, P, B) Beginner to advanced, groomed classic through flat prairie and woods with some challenging hills. MN ski pass required.

Frontenac  Frontenac State Park

9km  651-345-3401 (WH, P, B) All levels, groomed classic with overlooks of Lake Pepin.
MN ski pass required.

Granite Falls Upper Sioux Agency State Park 

3.2km  320-564-4777 (WH, P, B) Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic. Area has sledding hill and historic Upper Sioux Agency site.
MN ski pass required.

Houston  Richard Dorer State Forest - Oak Ridge Unit - Wet Bark Trail

17km  507-724-2107 (P) Intermediate trail over hilltop fields and scenic overlooks with shelters along trail. MN ski pass required.

Kellogg  Richard Dorer State Forest - Snake Creek Unit

8km  507-206-2847 (P) Intermediate to advanced remote trails through beautiful forest and over creeks. MN ski pass required.

Lanesboro  Richard Dorer State Forest - Brightsdale Unit

8km  507-467-2437 (P, B) All levels, with trails through woods along the Root River with some open spaces near Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. MN ski pass required.

Lanesboro  Richard Dorer State Forest - Isinours Unit

5km  507-285-7176 (P, B) Groomed classic only. MN ski pass required.

Lanesboro  Root River State Trail

67km  507-467-2696 (P, B) Beginner to intermediate trail offering views of tall bluffs and abundant wildlife. 40km track set between Fountain and Preston, the rest is groomed flat. MN ski pass required.

Le Roy  Lake Louise State Park

4.8km  507-352-5111 (P, B) Beginner to intermediate, sporadically groomed by local ski club. Scenic views of Lake Louise and various streams. 

Lynd  Camden State Park

10.2km  507-865-4530 (WH, P, B) Beginner to advanced, 2.2km skate only, through maple and basswood forest. MN ski pass required.

Mankato  Minneopa State Park

6.4km  507-389-5464 (P, B) Beginner trail through oak savanna, past the Twin Waterfalls and Seppmann Windmill with overlooks of Minnesota River. Not groomed.

Mankato  Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail

62.4km  507-362-4438 (P, B) Beginner trail through a rolling wooded ravine to prairie. Trailhead at Lime Valley Road near Mankato. Not groomed.

Nerstrand  Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

9.6km  507-333-4840 (WH,P, B) Beginner to advanced, groomed classic trails. Ski deep into the woods to find Hidden Falls. Not groomed.

New London  Sibley State Park

13km 320-354-2055 (WH, P, B) Intermediate to advanced with hills and curves. Ski to the top of Mt. Tom for the best view of the countryside. 4km skate ski trails only. MN ski pass required.

New Ulm  Flandrau State Park

9.7km  507-233-9800 (WH, P, B) Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic, flat trails on the bottom of the valley with more challenging routes on the oak shaded bluffs with several overlooks of Cottonwood River. Ski and snowshoe rentals available. MN ski pass required.

Owatonna  Kaplan's Woods

13km  507-444-4321 (P, B) Intermediate, ravine terrain provides challenging hills through hardwood forest near a lake and river. Wide trails suitable for skate ski and tracked for classic when snow is sufficient with 3km lit trail. MN ski pass required.

Owatonna  Rice Lake State Park

4km  507-455-5871 (WH,P, B) Beginner, groomed classic with several loops through woods and along a lake. Not groomed.

Preston  Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

16km 507-352-5111 (WH,P, B) Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic, with rolling terrain, a protected valley, an overlook near the Root River Valley. Not groomed

Preston  Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail

29km  507-886-2200 (P, B) Beginner to intermediate, groomed, with some challenging hills through a wooded area and farmland. Connects communities of Harmony and Preston. Not groomed.

Red Wing  Cannon Valley Trail

32km  651-385-5934 (P, B) Mostly intermediate, groomed classic and skate. Trail offers views of overhanging cliffs and stunning scenery. Connects communities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing. MN ski pass required.

Red Wing  Mississippi National Ski Trails

15km  651-385-5934 (P, B) Beginner to advanced, groomed for classic and skate. 8km classic loop through wooded terrain offers extensive views of Mississippi River, considered one of the most spectacular in the state. MN ski pass required.

Red Wing  Richard Dorer State Forest - Hay Creek Unit

9.6km  507-206-2847 (P, B) Mostly intermediate, groomed classic only. MN ski pass required.

Rochester  Chester Woods Park

5km  507-288-4331 (P, B) All levels, groomed trails through a wooded and hilly county park with views of Chester Lake. Trails are well marked with maps at most intersections.

Rochester  Douglas State Trail

20.8km  507-288-4331 (P, B) Groomed trails through forest, rolling fields and pastures.
MN ski pass required.

Rochester  Eastwood Golf Course

8km  507-288-4331 (P, B) All levels, groomed classic and skate ski with 1km lighted trail. Main training course in Rochester.

Rochester  Essex Park

8km  507-288-4331 (P) Classic and skate skiing through wooded, rolling hills and restored prairie.

Rochester  Soldier's Field Golf Course

5 km  507-288-4331 (P, B) Intermediate, groomed classic and skate ski.
Quiet city trails with lights offer good night skiing.

Rochester  Quarry Hill 

10km  507-328-3950 (WH,P, B) Relatively flat, groomed trails through rolling hills around an old quarry. Quarry Hill Nature Center is open all year and has equipment rentals. A trail fee applies.

Spicer  Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center

10km  320-354-5894 (WH, P, B) Beginner to advanced, groomed classic and skate. Trails within 500 acre environmental learning center campus with woodland and prairie scenery and abundant wildlife. Wide trails suitable for skate ski, tracked for classic when snow is sufficient. Rentals available. MN ski pass required.

Starbuck  Glacial Lakes State Park

9.6km  320-239-2860  (P, B) Ungroomed trail. 

Wabasha  Richard Dorer State Forest - Kruger Unit

4km  507-345-3401(P, B) Mostly intermediate, groomed classic, trail runs along a creek.
MN ski pass required.

Waterville  Sakatah Lake State Park

8km  507-362-4438 (P, B) Intermediate to advanced.
Ski the challenging hills near Upper Sakatah Lake. Not groomed

Watson  Lac qui Parle State Park

8km  320-734-4450 (WH, P, B) Beginner, groomed and flat with stunning views of Lac qui Parle Lake. 1 mile of skate ski trail available. Not groomed.

Willmar Swan Lake Ski Trails

5km  320-235-1166 (WH, P, B) Groomed, classic and skate for all levels on Eagle Creek Golf Course. MN ski pass required.

Winona  Great River Bluffs State Park

16.3km  507-643-6849 (P, B) Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic with overlooks of the Mississippi River Valley. 1.6km skate ski trail. Area has sledding hill. MN ski pass required.

Winona  Holzinger Lodge

6.75km  507-452-9999 (WH, P, B) Beginner to advanced trails on former logging trails along a bluff overlooking Lake Winona. Rustic cabin with fireplace available to rent.

Winona  Saint Mary's University

14.5km  507-452-0735 (WH, P, B) Mostly intermediate to advanced with some flat terrain for beginners. Groomed classic and skate ski, through hardwood forest, an old apple orchard, and near Gilmore Creek. Some lit sections.

Winona  Prairie Island

2.4km  507-457-8258 (P) Beginner trail through stands of pine offers a near-wilderness experience close to town.

Winona  Westfield Golf Club

1.6km  507-452-8700 (WH, P, B) Beginner trail on gently rolling golf course terrain. Close to lodging, shopping and restaurants.

 

 

 

Sources: Minnesota DNR, Minnesota Nordic Ski Association, Skinnyski & individual trail organizations.

 

 

 

Related Links:
• Minnesota DNR
• Minnesota Nordic Ski Association
• Skinny Ski
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