Cross Country Ski Trails You Won’t Want to Miss This Winter

While there hasn’t been a huge statewide snowstorm yet this winter, chances are there will be one soon. And that’s actually a good thing since a fresh coat of snow means the chance to head out and do some winter-specific activities. One of the most popular ways to spend a snowy day is to go cross country skiing—you get to explore parts of Michigan you can’t get to in a car while also giving yourself a full-body workout.

Michigan, with its 3,000 miles of cross country trails (many of which are groomed all season long), has no shortage of land to explore on skis. You can find one that’s perfect for your skill level, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced. And you don’t need to worry if you don’t own skis! Many Metroparks or ski resorts in the state rent skis, poles and boots for less than $15.

When you head out for a day of cross country skiing, it’s important to dress correctly. The key is to dress in layers. That way you can take off a layer if you get too warm and add an extra one when you’re resting.

Now that you’re outfitted, where should you go? Here are a few of the most popular destinations for cross country skiing in Michigan:

  • Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is home to award winning cross country ski trails. With more than 30km of groomed trails, there is plenty of room in explore. Crystal’s lit trails at night create a unique environment.
  • Hudson Mills Metropark has a variety of trails with different terrain to fit your level. Make sure to check out the view of the Huron River as you’re moving through the trail! The Ski Touring/Activity Center, open on weekends, offers a heated lounge, food and public restrooms (ski rentals are available on weekends only).
  • Located in Berrien County, the Madeline Bertrand Trails wind through pine and oak forests and have parts that overlook the St. Joseph River. Ski rentals are available and trails are groomed all winter long (there are some scheduled night skis as well).
  • At Port Crescent State Park, the trails take advantage of the beach, sand dunes and bayous that make this area picturesque. The trails are groomed and include picnic areas along the way (bring a thermos of hot tea or cocoa!).
  • Pigeon Creek Park Trails, located outside of Grand Rapids in Grand Haven, are groomed regularly and are the perfect place to bring the whole family. As long as conditions are good, the trails are lit at night.
  • The Noquemanon Trail Network in the Upper Peninsula is a network of groomed trails that offer a haven for cross country skiers (rent some there if you don’t have your own), snow bikers and snowshoe.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, these blog will help you stay active all winter long:

Photo credit: m.prinke

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  1. I am trying to get my husband into Cross Country skiing. We have a condo at Treetops, where I introduced him to it. I’d love to explore all of the options in this post, but I thought it was worth mentioning that a great way to introduce Cross Country skiing to someone is to pair it with gourmet food & beverage stations! Treetops has a series of events called “A Skiable Feast;” a 4-5 hours Cross Country skiing event paired with gourmet food and drink stations. You can find info on their website; click on Calendar.

  2. Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton has a 2.4k man-made snow trail in addition to over 20k of natural snow trail. The park grooms for both classic and skating, and has classic and skate rental skis. The snow making trail is lit at night until 8:00. There are also lessons available. Huron Meadows is considered the premier place to ski in southeast Michigan. They also hold two xc ski races and a ski tour in January.

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