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Michigan Cross Country Skiing: 38 Top Trails

Michigan cross country ski trails

Ultimate Guide to Cross Country Skiing in Michigan

You’ve got to try cross country skiing in Michigan – It’s so much fun!

There’s no better way to take in the natural beauty of Michigan than on a pair of cross-country skis.
Imagine gliding through pristine forests under snow-capped pines and a bright blue sky; the peaceful sounds of nature surrounding you.

It’s no wonder that cross country skiing in Michigan is one of the fastest-growing winter activities.

It’s almost the perfect winter sport: easy to learn; relatively inexpensive (especially compared to downhill skiing and snowboarding); and great exercise even if you’re not in tip-top shape.

Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails

Once you strap into your cross country (also called Nordic) skis and hit the trails, you’re sure to get in a great workout, awakening muscles you didn’t even know you had.

Luckily, Michigan has easy access to more than 3000 miles of crosscountry skiing trails, ranking second in the country for the number of ski areas.

In addition, many Michigan skiing areas offer rental equipment, making it even more accessible to newcomers.

Please note that changes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have affected the hours and rental conditions, please always call ahead if you plan on renting your ski equipment.

cross-country skiing in Michigan

About Cross Country Skiing in Michigan

Michigan’s cross country ski trails are endless: you’ll find them in state parks, county parks, downhill or alpine ski resorts, and many other spots throughout the upper and lower peninsulas.

These miles of groomed trails are open to skiers of all abilities, but you’ll want to do a bit of research on each trail before you set out.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a link to trail conditions and trail etiquette, both important to know.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get out into the fresh winter air and make Michigan your snowy oasis, we’re sharing our guide to everything you need to know to hit the trails in Michigan.

We’ll cover the different types of cross-country skis; essential gear for staying warm and the best trails.

And if you decide you’re not into Nordic skiing, Michigan’s XC ski trails are the perfect place for winter activities like snowshoeing and fat-tire biking, too.

Read to discover the top spots for cross country skiing in Michigan.

If you’re looking for “cross country ski trails near me “, you’re sure to find one in the listings below.

Top Cross Country Ski Trails in the Lower Peninsula

The Homestead in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

1 Woodridge Rd, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
(231) 334-5000
One of our top winter fun destinations, The Homestead always manages to find a way to combine fun outdoor activity in a comfortable luxurious setting.

Long-time cross-country skiers will find miles of groomed Nordic skiing trails filled with challenging ascents and thrilling descents. Most of all, they’ll find a breathtaking view around every bend in the trail.

If you’re new to the sport, you’ll find expert instruction, quality rental equipment, and a fun way to stay fit and enjoy the beauty of winter of Northern Michigan.

Anyone who loves the great outdoors is sure to love the snowshoe trails that winds through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. One of the trails, Bay View, is just steps from the resort’s Village.

PRO-TIP: There is so much to do and see in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Your can use our guide to the best things to do when visiting, and be sure and check out our Ultimate Guide to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, one of the most scenic drives in the country.

Crystal Mountain

12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. Thompsonville, MI 49683
Everyone knows that Crystal Mountain is your winter destination if you are looking for some good winter fun. Crystal Mountain’s cross-country skiing trail system features more than 25 miles of groomed cross country ski trails, and you can pick up a trail pass at the Kinlochen Nordic Shop.

Need a lesson or two? Pros at Crystal also offer Nordic ski lessons if you’re a little rusty or just starting, and season passes if you plan to stay for the season.

Premier passes, midweek passes, as well as Sunday passes, are available, giving you full range depending on your skiing habits.

Crystal Mountain’s private and group cross-country skiing sessions encompass classical or skate skiing. They offer a full range of downhill skiing and snowboarding lessons as well, and not just for kids!

Equipment rental for both boards and skis start at around $50 a day. If you happen to be looking or more to do, head over to charming town of Frankfort, about 15 miles northwest.

cross country skiing in michigan

Boyne Mountain Resort

1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls, MI 49713
(855) 688-7024
Boyne Mountain offers dozens of miles of trails, as well as equipment rentals and lessons at the Boyne Mountain Snowsports Academy.

The Boyne Mountain cross country instruction program is designed to provide in-depth instruction for skiers at every level, offering a variety of instructional clinics, private, and group lessons for cross country skiers of all ability levels.

Boyne Mountain Resort packs in the snowy fun. Whether you are there to ski or any other snow activity you can think of, you’ll find it here. They even have fat tire snow biking.

If that’s not enough, strap some blades to your feet and go on a snowy skate. Enjoy some pure Michigan fun. If you’re not one for skiing snowshoes are also an option here at Boyne Mountain.
This location offers equipment rentals as well, so there’s no need to pile a bunch of equipment into your car along with the family.

Nubs Nob Ski Resort

500 Nubs Nob Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
(231) 526-2131

Just north of Petoskey, you’ll find more than 13 miles of cross-country trails, groomed with a track set for classic, skate, and snowshoeing. A busy place, Northern Michigan’s Nubs Nob Ski resort hosts many ski races, challenges, and speed competitions.

They offer unlimited season passes as well as cheaper options for a seasonal pass if you plan on only snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Got kids that you don’t trust to ski quite yet?

Nubs Nob offers childcare services just for you. If the idea of taking a ski class with a bunch of other people does not sit right with you, you’re not alone: they also offer private skiing lessons.

Treetops Resort

3962 Wilkinson Rd, Gaylord, MI 49735
(989) 732-6711
Treetops Resort is one of our top picks for cross country ski weekends.

Treetops Resort’s cross country skiing trails are suitable for all ranges of skill, from beginner to expert, with miles of beautifully groomed and ready for skiers all winter long, weather permitting.

The trails at Treetops wind down, up, and around the scenic Jones Masterpiece golf course. A portion of the trail runs along the base of the downhill ski slopes, providing a good stretch of man-made snow when the natural snow supply is low.

The trails are filled with opportunities to see wildlife as you glide through the woods, past natural springs and ponds. With 4 months of skiing and over 120 inches of snow a year, Treetops resort is a great place to explore in northern Michigan, and a best bet when it comes to a family-friendly, affordable Michigan resort.
There’s a lot to do here, from downhill skiing to extreme tubing to enjoying a thrilling ride with the dog sledding team.

Shanty Creek Resort

2400 Troon S, Bellaire, MI 49615
(866) 486-7790
Surrounded by four distinct villages of uncorrupted land Shanty Creek Spans 5,500 acres of beautiful Michigan landscape. In autumn, you’ll never see better fall colors, but in the winter is when Shanty Creek Resort gets really good.

Offering anything from alpine tubing to beautifully cared for terrain for anything from snowshoeing to skiing make Shanty Creek Resort your new Winter getaway destination.

Few activities showcase the beauty of northern Michigan quite like cross country skiing. Shanty Creek’s 28km of groomed, track-set trails crisscross the four villages of the resort to create a “village-to-village” experience whose benefits include staying warm in winter, a heart-healthy cardio workout, and a beautiful setting.

If Nordic skiing isn’t your thing, there is a 3km groomed multi-purpose trail at Schuss Village designated for fat tire biking and snowshoeing. This trail helps ensure skiers and bikers avoid accidents and unforeseen trail damage. Visit this link to view trail and ski conditions.

cross country skiing

Caberfae Peaks

1 Caberfae Ln. Cadillac MI 49601
(231) 862-3000
For your Nordic skiing pleasure, Caberfae Peaks has a gorgeous trail network in a stunning Hardwood Forest, the Mackenzie Cross Country Trail. The MacKenzie Cross-Country Ski Trail is set in a beautiful Northern Michigan hardwood forest.

The trail system can conveniently be accessed from the ski resort’s base area. The trail system totals 10 miles, with loop combinations of varying lengths and levels.

The trails are marked with blue diamonds, trail location maps, skiing difficulty levels, and directional signs are posted at each intersection. Trails are groomed regularly by local volunteers and cross-country ski enthusiasts.

There is no fee to use the trails and Caberfae now offers brand-new cross-country ski equipment for rent.

Mt Mancelona

2497 Ski Run Rd, Mancelona, MI 49659
(231) 499-4968
Are you more interested in the wilderness that surrounds you while you are skiing through well groomed trails?

Mt Mancelona is just the place to fulfill that need. With 75+ acres encompassing this magnificent mountain, you’ll get your fill of trees, rivers, and wilderness wildlife. Join in the White Pine Stampede in the town of Mancelona if you have that urge to give back as a portion of the proceeds go to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

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Hickory Hills Ski Area

2000 Randolph St, Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 947-8566
125 acres of glorious snowy trails await you at Hickory Hills in Traverse City. You’ll find almost three miles of beginner to advanced trails here that wind through the forest.

North Higgins Lake State Park Ski Trails

11747 N Higgins Lake Dr, Roscommon, MI 48653
(989) 821-6125
Pick your poison, as North Higgins Lake State Park has three separate, but equally thrilling trails to choose from. With all three of these trails amounting to around 11 miles of trail, you’re sure to leave the park tired and in desperate need of some hot cocoa. You’ll get your fair share of both flatlands and adequate hills while skiing these trails.
The groomed trails range from 1.5 to 6.5 miles along rolling terrain through beautiful pine forests. This is perfect for the experienced and novice skier.
NOTE: This state park does not offer cross country ski rental.

Cross Country Ski Headquarters Trails

9435 N Cut Rd, Roscommon, MI 48653
(231) 947-8566
The beautifully groomed trails of the ski headquarters will have you coming back year after year. Don’t miss out on their pre-season sale on all things xc skiing, starting October 30th you’ll find the best prices.

Vasa Pathway

4450 Bartlett Rd, Williamsburg, MI 49690
Another great option for fat tire biking, Vasa Pathway offers gentle hilly terrain for all winter activities. Vasa Pathway a groomed winter trail equipped with 3k, 5k, 10k & 25k trail loops that feature rolling hills and a few challenging climbs.

The snowshoe trail takes you through Acme Creek Valley on the west side and loops the Headwaters.

Mackinac Island Trails

The eastern and northern sides of Mackinac Island is home to some gorgeous Lake Huron waterfront ski trails. Ski on through the natural and historical landmarks of this amazing Michigan island.
Ski to the highest point of the island using the trails that are groomed by none other than the Mackinac Island Ski club.

Use our guide to the best places to stay on Mackinac Island for more to help plan your visit.

Hanson Hills Recreation Area

7601 Old Lake Rd, Grayling, MI 49738
(989) 348-9266
Whether you know how to ski or your learning, Hanson Hills offers a professional snow sports school, as well as 35km of perfectly cared for Nordic ski trails. Also home to snow tubing activities, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more.

Corsair Trail

East Tawas MI
Corsair Trail is one of the Midwest’s finest cross-country ski trail systems. It offers opportunities for skiers of all levels – and provides a unique opportunity to view a Michigan winter from the depths of the Huron National Forest from over 26 miles of trails.

West Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails

  • Pickerel Lake Park – 6001 Ramsdell Rd NE, Cannonsburg, MI 49317
  • Luton Park – 5950 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341
  • Palmer Park – 1275 52nd St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
  • Wahlfield Park – 6811 Alpine Ave,, Alpine Township, MI 49321
  • Seidman Park- 8155 Conservation Rd, Ada, MI 49301

Southeast Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails

  • Maybury State Park – 49601 Eight Mile Rd, Northville, MI 48167
    (248) 349-8390
  • Hudson Mills Metropark- 8801 N Territorial Rd, Dexter, MI 48130
    (734) 426-8211
  • Huron Meadows Metropark – 8765 Hammel Rd, Brighton, MI 48116
    (734) 426-8211
  • Indian Springs Metropark – 5200 Indian Trail, White Lake Charter Township, MI 48386
    (248) 625-6640
  • Lake Erie Metropark 32481 W Jefferson Ave, Brownstown Charter Twp, MI 48173
    (734) 379-5020
  • Metro Beach Metropark – 31300 Metro Parkway, Harrison Twp, MI 48045
    (586) 463-4581
  • Willow Metropark 23200 S Huron Rd, New Boston, MI 48164
    (734) 697-9181
  • Kensington Metropark – 4570 Huron River Pkwy, Milford Charter Twp, MI 48380
    (810) 227-8910
  • Rolling Hills Park – 7660 Stony Creek Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
    (734) 484-9676
  • Hudson Mills Metropark – 8801 N Territorial Rd, Dexter, MI 48130
    (734) 426-8211
  • Huron Meadows Metropark – 8765 Hammel Rd, Brighton, MI 48116
    (734) 426-8211

Cross Country Skiing in the Upper Peninsula

Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park Ski Area

M-107, Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 885-5209
Cross country skiing in the Porkies gives you an unparalleled opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Michigan. Take in panoramic vistas of Lake Superior and snow-covered trees.
Glide through glades of thick hemlocks, the sounds of your skis as your only company. Marvel at frozen waterfalls transformed by the cold of winter.

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will find a peaceful winter respite as they explore more than 25 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails surrounding the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area, which also offers ski and snowshoe rentals.
Those looking to truly get away from it all can travel further into the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, which opens its nearly 90 miles of trails for ungroomed cross-country skiing.

Noquemanon Trail

2375 M-553, Marquette, MI 49855
Over 30 miles of perfectly groomed winter trails and over 80 miles of trails in total, Noquemanon is situated perfectly in the beautiful town of Marquette on the shores of Lake Superior.

There are campgrounds galore in this area, if camping during the warmer months of the year is something that interests you. You can learn more about the beautiful Marquette area here.

Mount Bohemia Resort Cross Country Trails

6532 Gay Lac La Belle Rd Mohawk, MI 49950
(906) 360-7240
Although more popular with the downhill skiing thrill-seekers for their steep drops and deep powders Mount Bohemia is also home to beautifully groomed trails near the backside of this beautiful winter oasis.

The resort will pamper you in the spa before going out into the cold.

Enjoy an even more relaxed activity with 20 kilometers of trails for your snowshoeing enjoyment.
Enjoy the trails on a fat tire bike and so much more at this ultimate ski destination, only a 20-minute drive to Copper Harbor in Keweenaw County.

Drummond Island Resort

33494 S Maxton Rd, Drummond, MI 49726
(906) 493-1000
Ski Drummond Island Resort Nature trail or any of the surrounding trails such as the Rainbow Trail.

Drummond has its Cross Country club, if you’re looking for a community who enjoys the sport as much or perhaps even more than you. Voted by Pure Michigan as the #1 place to snowmobile, may just be the push you needed to take the trip, whether you are sliding on those skis or revving the engine on a snowmobile.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768
This upper peninsula park covers 50,000 acres of Michigan’s wilderness which stays open all year round and offers seven gorgeous trails to choose from for cross country skiers to snowshoers.
The trails around Tahquamenon Falls make up just over 20 miles of winter fun for the whole family.

Ski Brule

397 Brule Mountain Rd Iron River, MI 49935
(800) 362-7853
Sitting at just over an annual snowfall of 150 inches, there’s enough snowy fun for everyone at Ski Brule.

With more than 20 miles of tracked and flat groomed cross country ski trails circling the mountain along the scenic Brule River, the wooded and rolling terrain of the Brule River Valley makes the trails a favorite for both cross country skiing and snowshoe-ing.

The looped trail system creates options of a short trek before a day on the slopes and full-day adventures.

Valley Spur Trails

M-94, Munising, MI 49862
(906) 387-4918
Valley Spur offers 27 miles of groomed xc trails from December through March. Trails are perfect for skate skiing and cross country skiing alike. Although the lodge is closed due to Covid restrictions, Valley Spur still offers rentals through Southbay Outfitters in downtown Munising.

Enjoy the crisp winter scents of the trees that make up the valley which include Hemlock, hardwood, and pine. A small stream runs through the trails as well so do be careful to avoid that while snowshoeing, and skiing about this beautiful location.

Be sure and explore trails near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore when you’re in Munising.

ABR Active Backwoods Retreat

E5299 W Pioneer Rd, Ironwood, MI 49938
(906) 932-3502
Located on over 1100 acres of land this ski retreat has some of the most scenic trails in all of the country let alone Michigan. These trails just kiss the Montreal River, offering even more gorgeous details to the perfect skiing location. Trails are worked on all year to better the experience for future visitors.

About the Author –
Charlotte Dennison is a content creation intern at My Michigan Beach. She grew up in Vermont and has summertime family ties to the great state of Michigan in both Ann Arbor and Lake Hamlin. In addition to content creation, she spends her time studying writing, editing, and publishing at Emmanuel College in Boston. Writing has been her dream since the start of high school, and she hopes to turn content creating into a life-long career. Charlotte is jazzed to be interning at Outside of writing Charlotte enjoys curling up with a Stephen King novel and her cat on rainy city days.

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