Northeastern Minnesota Ski Trails
Along the North Shore of Lake Superior, throughout the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, to the Chippewa National Forest, northeastern Minnesota offers some of the biggest snowfalls in Minnesota and many well-groomed trail systems.
Mother Bear Ski Trail: 10km
classic ski trail through jackpine forests, black spruce swamps and over glacial eskers, with lots of wildlife viewing opportunities. MN Ski Pass required.
Sturgeon River Trail: 35km
Excellent beginner trail for classic skiing in the Superior National Forest. Long stretches of solitary trails. Two Adirondack shelters, groomed, scenic views of Sturgeon river. Groomed occasionally.
Pine Valley Ski Trails: 10km
Intermediate to advanced, challenging with difficult climbs, yet gradual, rolling sections. Partially lit, adjacent to Cloquet recreation center. 2.5k lighted. The back of the 5K loop across Spring Lake Road is skate and classic groomed.
Itasca Trails (Mount Itasca): 10km
Beginner to expert, groomed for skate and classic skiing on flat to very hilly terrain. Heated chalet available. MN Ski Pass required on west public trails. Additional fee for east biathlon course with snowmaking.
Ashawa Ski Trails: 2okm
The Ashawa Trail Ski Club maintains 20km of trails north of Cook. Trails are set for classic ski only and accessible from three separate trailheads and maps are available at the Crescent Bar and Grill north of Cook, MN.
-Paddy’s Loop – Located 3.8 miles north of Cook on E. Olson Road, this easy to moderate classic ski trail originates and terminates at the Crescent Bar and Grill on East Olson Road. Trails are primarily on flat terrain through a mature black spruce forest and on parts of the Vermilion Fairways Golf Course. Total distance is 5 km.
-Wood Loop – Located 6 miles north of Cook on Co. Rd. 24. Look for the signed parking lot on the west side of the road just before Pehrson’s Resort. The complete Wood Loop is 8 km of moderate skiing through a mix of young and mature stands of aspen, ash, pine and spruce. One-way trails have two long, sloping downhill opportunities. A shelter on Beatty Hill offers a view of Cook and the surrounding area.
-Sunset Loop – Located 9 miles north of Cook on Co. Rd. 24, 1/2 mile north of Raps Road. Look for the parking lot on the west side of the road. Sunset Loop offers moderate to advanced levels of skiing. A number of hills and a view of Sunset Lake make for an exciting 7 km of diverse terrain skiing.
Blueberry Hills: 12km
Beginner to expert with many loops, five miles northeast of Deer River. Heated chalet available. MN Ski Pass required.
Amen Lake Trail: 7km
Intermediate, groomed, classic ski trail 13 miles north of Grand Rapids. Ski through hardwood forest with rolling hills. Connects to south end of Suomi Hills ski trails near Marcell. MN Ski Pass required.
The greater Duluth area offers a lot of cross-country, downhill and skate skiing, but you’re never far away from town.
Bagley Nature Area: 2.7km
Two Intermediate, classic loops on the UMD campus.
Biskey Ponds Trails: 12km
Beginner to advanced classic ski trails through a scenic landscape with a near-wilderness feel, just north of Fish Lake Reservoir. Five distinct loops.
Boulder Lake: 21km
Beginner to advanced, 11km of skate ski. Wolfski’s Ski Den warming shack is open sunrise to sunset. Groomed regularly for classic and skate ski, very well maintained by Minnesota Power.
Chester Bowl Park: 3km
Intermediate to advanced cross country ski trails and downhill skiing. Chalet and ski rentals available. MN Ski Pass required.
Hartley Park: 5km
Beginner to intermediate with some gentle slopes. Classic only. Equipment rentals available. Home to Hartely Nature Center. MN Ski Pass required.
Korkki Nordic: 11km
Intermediate to advanced single track classic trails, groomed daily. Steep hills, designed for racing. MN Ski Pass required.
Lester-Amity Trail: 15km
Beginner to advanced trail of varied terrain through pine, aspen, and birch forests. Additional 3km circles the Lester Park Golf Course and 5km trail lit mornings and evenings. Chalet available. MN Ski Pass required.
Magney-Snively Park: 14km
Intermediate to advanced, beautiful hardwood forest with large hills. A rugged trail not recommended for beginners.
Piedmont Trail: 5km
Beginner to intermediate trail through aspen, birch and hardwood forest. Beautiful overlook of St. Louis River Valley. MN Ski Pass required.
Snowflake Nordic Center: 15km
Intermediate classic and skate ski trails, groomed daily. Lessons and rentals available. Warming chalet with showers, sauna, changing rooms, lounge, and snacks.
Spirit Mountain: 24.5km
Spirit Mountain has two cross-country ski areas for all skill levels. The upper trail system consists of 22km of beautifully wooded cross-country ski trails. The new Grand Ave Nordic Center on the bottom of the hill is a work in progress, but it currently has 2.5km of nordic trail, 1.5 of which have snowmaking. All trails are groomed daily and the Grand Ave Chalet offers rentals, lessons and a restaurant.
Bear Head Lake State Park: 11km
Hidden Valley Trails: 25km
Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic and skate trails. Rolling to hilly terrain, through birch and pine stands. Connects to Silver Rapids Ski Trail. MN Ski Pass required.
Silver Rapids Ski Trail: 8km
Classic-groomed trail Scenic overlook at Farm Lake, access behind Fall Lake Town Hall. Connects to Hidden Valley Trails. MN Ski Pass required.
Trezona Ski Trail: 6.5km
Beginner trail groomed for classic and skate ski. Relatively flat with some rolling terrain. Starts in town, circles Miner’s Lake with views of remains of Pioneer Mine.
Big Ridge Trail: 10km
Intermediate, groomed, classic ski trail near Goodland, MN, about 23 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. Ski rolling hills through hardwood, evergreens and young aspen. MN Ski Pass required.
The area around Grand Marais, between Lake Superior and the US-Canada border, has many miles of ski trails to explore, starting with the Bally Creek system just west of town, to the Upper Gunflint trails near the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness.
Bally Creek Trails: 25km
A series of short to medium length, easy to intermediate loops in the Superior National Forest. A long connector trail to Cascade River State Park is groomed when conditions allow. MN Ski Pass required.
Pincushion Mountain Trails: 25km
Beginner to advanced, well designed classic and skate trail two miles north of Grand Marais with beautiful Lake Superior views and separate snowshoe trail. 1.6km lighted trail. MN Ski Pass required. Read about a ski trip to Pincushion Mountain
George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail: 3km
Groomed for classic and skate skiing. Skijorers and walkers may use the skate ski lane. Just 6 miles north of Grand Marais along the Gunflint Trail in the George Washington Memorial Forest.
Central Gunflint Trail System: 77km
All skill levels. An extensive ski trail system 30 miles north of Grand Marais and close to BWCAW. Connects to the eastern end of the 27-km Banadad Trail via Poplar Creek and Lace Lake trails. Lighted sections at Bearskin and Golden Eagle Lodges. Grooming is shared by local lodges, so skiers need to purchase a trail pass.
Banadad Trail: 27km
The longest tracked ski trail through the BWCAW is a true wilderness experience on its own, but it also connects two major ski trail systems, the Central and Upper Gunflint Ski Trails.
Eastern end: Here the Banadad connects to the Lace Lake Trail (5km), the Tim Knopp Trail (3 km) and the Tall Pines Trail (3 km). The Lace Lake Trail provides access to the Poplar Creek Trail and the Central Gunflint Trail system.Park at about 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail (County Rd. 12), from Grand Marais, just off Little Ollie Road.
Western end: Parking is available just off County Rd. 12, at fire # 10045, about 10 miles from the eastern trail head. Currently, there is no direct connection to the Upper Gunflint Trail system, but it’s only about a mile away. MN Ski Pass and Boundary Waters permit needed.
Upper Gunflint Trail System: 45km
All levels, 45 miles north of Grand Marais. These trails near the Canadian border and BWCAW are mostly classic trails with some skate skiing. Grooming is done by local lodges, so skiers need to purchase a trail pass. Access to the 27-km Banadad Trail is close by, but no direct connection exists.
Alder Pond Trail: 10km
Beginner, groomed classic ski trail through aspen and coniferous forest. MN Ski Pass required.
Forest History Center: 4km
Beginner, classic ski trail through 1900s logging camp and virgin timber forest.MN Ski Pass required on one main trail.
Sugar Hills: 28km
Intermediate to expert trail, groomed for both classic and skate skiing on hilly terrain through hardwood forest. Thunder Mountain provides excellent panoramic views. MN Ski Pass required.
Sylvan Point Trail: 6km
Beginner classic trail. Connects Grand Itasca Hospital to Forest History Center.
U of M: 8km
Easy loops on the campus of the U of M North Central Research & Outreach Center through Black Spruce bog and Minnesota’s oldest Red Pine research plantation. Currently just user groomed.
Wabana Trail: 10km
Intermediate, classic trail, winds through scenic, rolling hills. MN Ski Pass required.
Golden Anniversary State Forest Trails:
-Cowhorn Lake: 8km
Intermediate, classic ski trail with rolling hills through old growth aspen forest. Intersects Boomer Blue Trail. MN Ski Pass required.
-Boomer Blue: 7km
Beginner, classic ski trail, double-tracked with snowshoe lane. Dogs are allowed. Intersects Cowhorn loop. MN Ski Pass required.
-River Road: 3km
Intermediate, classic ski trail with rolling hills through majestic pines. MN Ski Pass required.
Carey Lake: 22km
Beginner to advanced groomed trails with 10km side by side classic and skate skiing with views of the lake, lowlands, bogs, and jack pine stands. 3.8 km Black Forest loop is lit from 5-10 pm daily.
Bird Lake Trail: 19km
Beginner to advanced trail over birch and aspen hills with views of Bird and Lillian Lakes. One way trail with some loops.
Tilson Creek Ski Trail: 16km
Intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails in the Koochiching State Forest. MN Ski Pass required.
Voyageurs National Park: 53km
The park has three trail systems:
-Black Bay Trails: Three loops totaling 13km. A 1km trail connects to Tilson Creek Trails. Access to Black Bay Trails is at Rainy Lake Visitor Center via Rainy Lake Ice Road.
-Echo Bay Trail: a 4km loop. Access through Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center.
-Kab-Ash Trail: a 35km system. Access near Ash River Visitor Center.
Flathorn Gegoka Trail: 30km
Beginner to advanced, groomed, single tracked in the Superior National Forest near Isabella, MN. Some paths on old logging roads. Accommodations are available at National Forest Lodge. MN Ski Pass required.
Suomi Hills: 35km
Intermediate to Expert, groomed, classic and skate trails on gently rolling hills offering a variety of experiences and challenges. Connects with Amen Lake Trail. MN Ski Pass required.
Trout Lake: 10km
Easy classic ski trail through the Chippewa National Forest. 3 miles from historic Joyce Estate, a 6,000 acre SNA with Adirondack buildings.
Vasaloppet Nordic Center: 15km
Classic and skate ski trails and 5km lit trails start and end at Vasaloppet Nordic Ski Center which offers waxing room, showers, sauna, and is open daily throughout the season.
Stoney Ridge Trail: 10km
Intermediate trails, groomed for classic skiing.
Mostly flat with a few rolling hills through woods. MN Ski Pass required.
Tettegouche State Park: 25km
Intermediate to advanced, classic trails with many loops and good views of lakes and hills. About 6km of skate ski trail. Four historic ski-in cabins at Mic Mac Lake. Take a side trip to 70-foot High Falls on the Baptism River. Warming house is the lodge at Tettegouche Camp. MN Ski Pass required. More about the park
Northwoods Ski Trail: 19km
Intermediate, groomed singletrack, classic trail through an intimate wooded setting, following the contours of rolling hills. Trail travels past Bean and Bear Lakes. A connector trail to Tettegouche State Park is groomed when conditions allow. Trailhead is on the west edge of Silver Bay, past the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead on Penn Boulevard/County Rd 11. Access is on the right at Beaver River. MN Ski Pass required.
The area between Schroeder and Cascade River State Park is home to three individual trail systems, which form a huge network stretching up Minnesota’s North Shore. The Sugarbush Trail system offers 65km of regularly groomed ski trails near Tofte. Farther up the shore near Lutsen, the Norpine Trail system include two clusters, the Hall and Massey loops and the Deeryard Lake/Cascade system which are tied together with connector trails. This system links to trails inside of Cascade State Park to the east, which in turn connect to the Bally Creek Trails near Grand Marais.
Sugarbush Trail System: 65km
Extensive trail network for all skill levels. Groomed for both classic and skate skiing with spectacular views of Lake Superior. Some trails allow skijoring. Clubhouse trail head offers ski rentals. MN Ski Pass required.
Norpine Trail System: 58km
Groomed for both classic and skate ski with resorts along the way. Includes the Massie and Hall loops and Deeryard Lake and Cascade trails. Loops around Solbakken Resort, and connects to trails inside Cascade River State Park to the east. MN Ski Pass required.
Cascade River State Park: 27km
Beginner to advanced, classic, single tracked, groomed weekly. Heavily forested trails along Cascade River and several little creeks. Spot moose and wolves down the river valley from Lookout Mountain. Wood-heated warming house available. Connects with Cascade trail system to the west and Bally Creek Trails to the east. MN Ski Pass required. Read about a ski trip to Cascade River State Park
Howard Wagoner Trail: 11.5km
Four distinct loops. Beginner to intermediate trails through pine forest, groomed for classic ski only. 1.3km lighted loop. The main trail system has some steep hills. The north trailhead is at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and County Road 135. Skiers can connect to the main system from here via a one-way trail or park at the south lot or access the trail at the south lot about a mile south on County Road 135. MN Ski Pass required.
Gooseberry Falls State Park: 19km
Erkki Harju Trail: 10.5km
Intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trail through scenic city forest.
3km lit until 10 pm daily. MN Ski Pass required.
Big Aspen Recreation Area: 33km
Beginner to intermediate classic trail with shelters and a beautiful overlook on old logging roads and abandoned RR grades of the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Co.