Southern Minnesota Ski Trails
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. A wide variety of state parks, forests and recreational trails offer fine cross country skiing.
River Bend Nature Center: 11km
Beginner to advanced, groomed classic through flat prairie and woods with some challenging hills. MN Ski Pass required.
Ney Nature Center: 10km
Groomed, classic ski trails through the 446-acre Ney Wildlife Preserve. Rentals available at the nature center A trail fee applies.
Root River State Trail
Isinours Junction to Houston: 48km
Beginner to intermediate trail offering views of tall bluffs and abundant wildlife. Track set between Isinours Junction and Houston. MN Ski Pass required.
Flandrau State Park: 9.5km
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. Beach house serves as a warming shelter. MN Ski Pass required.
More about the park
Carleton College Arboretum: 18km
Trails in the upper arboretum (6km) are groomed for skating and classic skiing, the remainder are classic only. Trails are shared with walkers.
Brooktree Golf Course: 3km
Easy skate ski and classic loop.
Kaplan’s Woods Parkway: 13km
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. Trail travels from Morehouse Park through Kaplan’s Woods Parkway and into the County Country Club grounds. Inside Kaplan’s Woods Park, 9km of trails are groomed for skiing and 6 miles are groomed for fat bikes. MN Ski Pass required for skiing.
Cannon Valley Trail: 23km
The Cannon Valley Trail offers views of overhanging cliffs and stunning scenery and connects the communities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing. It’s open to a variety of uses in the winter. From Cannon Falls:
-Mile 1-15.5: Cross Country Skiing only.
-Mile 15.5-17.5: Side by side fat biking and cross country skiing.
-Mile 17.5-19.7: Trail is plowed and open to hiking and biking.
MN Ski Pass required for skiing only.
Mississippi National Ski Trails: 8km
Beginner to advanced, groomed for classic skiing. 8km classic loop through wooded terrain offers extensive views of Mississippi River, considered one of the most spectacular in the state. Flatter and easier trails groomed for both classic and skate skiing are on the golf course to the south, where the trailhead is. MN Ski Pass required.
Chester Woods Park: 8km
All levels, groomed trails through a wooded and hilly county park with views of Chester Lake, usually groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Trails are well marked with maps at most intersections. A trail fee applies.
Eastwood Golf Course: 6km
All levels, groomed classic and skate ski loops with 2.5km lighted trails.
Essex Park: 8.5km
Groomed classic and skate ski through woods and restored prairie.
Soldier’s Field Golf Course: 5km
Intermediate, groomed classic and skate ski.
Quiet city trails offer good skiing.
Quarry Hill Nature Center: 10km
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.
Great River Bluffs State Park: 5km
Saint Mary’s University: 14.5km
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.