Cross-Country Skiing and Trails on the North Shore

The North Shore is a cross-country skier’s nirvana. Hundreds of kilometers of cross-country skiing trails traverse hillsides, lakeshores, river valley ridges, pine plantations, deciduous forests, and alongside beaver dams. Options are unlimited. You can choose trails based on their length, the type of terrain they cover, your level of ability, and whether you want classic (parallel tracks) or skating stride.

A Minnesota Ski Pass is required on all trails unless otherwise noted. Daily, annual, and three-year passes are offered. An daily pass currently costs $6, annual passes are $20 and 3-year passes are $55 and are required for everyone 16 and older. You can purchase passes at trail centers and businesses, by mail or online.

Easy Trails
relatively level, with few hills, and relatively short in length

More Difficult Trails
often have rolling hills throughout and be quite lengthy

Most Difficult Trails
incorporate sharp turns and steep grades as well as extended lengths

Keep in Mind

Do not ski alone or let let someone know your route and expected return time. Carry a map of the system. Know your limitations – skiers can overdo it for the conditions, so you may wish to ski several short loops rather than one “most difficult” trail.

Cross Country Ski Rentals

Scenic 61

Korkki Nordic
Korkki Nordic

11k single-track classic

Offers a 4K intermediate and 6+K advanced loop through some rolling hills behind a Lake Superior ridgeline; a very pretty ski through the woods;
trail system maintained by volunteers. Donations accepted and appreciated.
218-525-7326

Fees: donations

Difficulty: more and most difficult

Amenities: Warming shack, open hours vary.

Maps:
Click here

and at trailhead

Two Harbors

Erkki Harju Ski Trail
Erkki Harju Ski Trail

10K diagonal & skating lane

4.5K easy to more difficult Outside Loop with a 1K expert loop and a 2.6K intermediate Inside Loop; trails run through the rolling hills of the golf course and a forest of paper birch, aspen, spruce, fir and cedar; plus a 3K lit trail.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required; buy online

Difficulty: easy to more difficult

Amenities: Shelters along the trail

Maps:
Click here

and at trailhead; trail is within the golf course

Gooseberry

Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park

22K double tracked
3.3K easy trail winds through the campground area giving pleasant views of Lake Superior (a great trail for taking kids); remainder of trails depart at the Visitor Center, but head north under Hwy 61 and are more difficult with most difficult portions, trails parallel the Gooseberry River past five amazing waterfalls, skirt white pine ridges and allow exploration of the Park’s backcountry; ski .7K to 3.4K intermediate Birch Loop up the west side of river with a long downhill return through the woods; a 1K access trail also leads up the east side of the river to a more difficult 4.4K loop with optional 2.1K and 5.8K (most difficult) loops; superb system with trail diversity and scenic beauty

Fees: MN Ski Pass required, sold at office (open 8:30am-4pm daily)

Difficulty: easy to more difficult trails

Amenities: restrooms, shelter building with a fireplace, restrooms, gift shop & theater, and winter camping

Maps:
Click here for a trail / park map,

and at Visitor Center and trailhead

Split Rock / Beaver Bay

 Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Trails
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Trails

Split Rock Lighthouse has converted all their ski trails to Fat Tire Bike Trails, so head out for a winter ride!

Fees: MN Ski Pass required and if you park in the State Park, a Park Permit is required; both sold at office (open 10am-4pm weekends & sporadically during week)

Difficulty: more & most difficult

Amenities: trail center open daily with restrooms and a fireplace; Split Rock Lighthouse center open afternoons throughout the winter

Maps:
Click here for a trail / park map

and at Visitor Center and trailhead

silver bay, little marais & finland

Northwoods Ski Trail

19K single tracked
interconnecting loops provide several route options; Maple Corner is an easy 2.1 or 2.8K loop; Big Pine is easy to intermediate at 4.7K and leads to the 6K connector trail (very nice) to Tettegouche Camp on Mic Mac Lake; ski the Birch-Poplar-Spruce Loop and Bean Lake Spur for the views of this little lake with high rock walls

Fees: MN Ski Pass required and if you park in the State Park, a Park Permit is required; both sold at office (open 10am-4pm weekends & sporadically during week)

Difficulty: more & most difficult

Maps:
Click here

and at trailhead

Tettegouche State Park Ski Trails

25K single tracked with skating lane on 7.5K
Trails have many ups and down, traveling through both birch, aspen and conifer forests. There are lakes and overlooks through out the trail. 7.5K Lower Loop which slowly climbs up from the lake to a great picnic spot at Nipisquit Lake and a downhill return; the Lakes & Hills Trail skirts Papasay Ridge past Nipisquit and Mic Mac Lakes to the 6K connector to Northwoods Trails or on out to the Lax Lake Rd (CR 4); it includes a 2.6K expert run to Mount Baldy

Fees: MN Ski Pass required; and if you park in the State Park, a Park Permit is required; both sold at state park office (open 10am-4pm weekends and sporadically during week)

Difficulty: more & most difficult

Amenities: visitor center has restrooms open 24 hours a day, winter camping and cabins are available

Maps:
Click here for a trail / park map

and at Visitor Center and trailhead

Crosby Manitou State Park

The park has ungroomed trails that are ski at your own risk.
Crosby Manitou is perfect for the adventuresome skier looking to break some trail in a quiet, wooded area with variable terrain.

Snowshoeing is also available throughout the park with rentals available at Tettegouche State Park.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Flathorn Gegoka Ski Trails
Flathorn Gegoka Ski Trails

30K of groomed single-tracked trails
Enjoy remote, quiet cross country ski trails winding through 2,000 acres of Superior National Forest. The trails are groomed for classical skiing and offer an “off the beaten path” alternative to many of the trail systems found in other areas. Moderate elevation changes allow skiers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the big pines of the “Isabella Pine Belt”. Ski over the Little Isabella River on picturesque wooden footbridges. The area is off limits to snowmobiles so skiers can truly experience the quiet beauty of this remote area.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult trails

Amenities: outhouse & trail shelter

Maps:
Click for Trail Map

and at trailhead

Tofte

Sugarbush Ski Trails
Sugarbush Ski Trails

77k total

Features 2.9K easy Inner Loops (great for kids), and intermediate loops through rolling maple covered hills and hogback ridges; the intermediate 3.1K Hogback Trail is a slow climb up and long descent back; 1.7K Bridge Run is a less challenging intermediate that leads to the 7.3K Homestead Loop (actually a 12K total ski from Sawbill trailhead)

Includes

  • the 25K Picnic Loop for the advanced skier
  • 4K connector trail to Leveaux / Onion River Road trail system to the east
  • intermediate 2.2K trail to the summit of Carlton Peak which intersects with the intermediate 3K downhill run to Bluefin Bay
  • skijoring is allowed on the Carlton Peak and Upland Loops trails

 

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult

Amenities: shelters along trail

Maps:
Click for trail map

and at trailhead

Lutsen

Norpine Trail System
Norpine Trail System

65.3k

The trails wind through mature maple forests, mixed evergreens, and in the midst of North Country wildlife. A number of the trails have spectacular view of Lake Superior and connect up to the Cascade River State Park Trails.

Includes Deeryard Loops, Pioneer Loops, Hall-Massey and connectors.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult

Maps:

 

click here 

and at trailheads

Cascade River State Park Ski Trails

27K Trails range from easy to difficult. One loop is available for the less experienced skier. Trails connect to other local trails outside the park.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult

Amenities: restrooms in State Park; the main trail shelter in the park may be heated by wood stove as needed; unheated rustic shelters are located at backpack campsites along the trail; and, Cascade Lodge Restaurant is at the trailhead of the east side system

Maps:
click here for park/trail map

and at trailhead

Grand Marais

Pincushion Trail System
Pincushion Trail System

25K single-tracked with a skating lane
Excellent trail design and variety with great grooming; two easy 1K and 1.3K loops at trailhead or ski 1K access to more difficult loops including the very popular 6.8K Pincushion Mountain Loop; the 7K expert trails include loops from 1K to 4K; the entire system is set in a birch forest featuring the Devil Track River Valley and Pincushion Mountain
The West Overlook trail and the Stadium area are lit, providing night skiing until 8:30 Sun – Thu and until 10 on Fri – Sat. Plans are to have the Trail Center building open until the lights go off.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult

Amenities: public warming house at overlook trailhead; outhouse

Maps:
click here

and at trailhead

George Washington Pines
George Washington Pines

a 3.5K ungroomed trail although skiers “set” a decent track;
a gentle, level loop amid Norway pines, along the edge of the Elbow Creek, and through a beautiful stand of cedar; perfect for learning skiers

Difficulty: easy

Maps:
click here

and at trailhead

Gunflint Trail

Bearskin - Golden Eagle Trail System
Bearskin - Golden Eagle Trail System

70K with single or double track, and 58K of skating lanes
trails are maintained very well; uncrowded wilderness skiing features longer loops (ideal for intermediate skiers) with rest shelters and trails that skirt the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, lead over spruce-covered hills and across frozen lakes; beginners will want to ski the North side of Flour Lake (3.5K part of Logging Camp Trail), 5K Summer Home, the 5.2K Ox Cart Trail and both of the lit trails; experts will enjoy the 8K Bear Cub World Cup loop, and the 3.4K Red Pine Trail which climbs to 1940 feet (what you go up you have to come down)

25% Beginner, 50%  Intermediate and 25% Advanced
The majority of the trail system is tracked for both skating and classic skiing. Only two loops are tracked for classic only.

Fees: local trail ticket required, available from either Golden Ea6le Lodge or Bearskin Resort

Difficulty: easy, more & most difficult

Amenities: waxing room, ski rentals & 1.5K Wolf Point Loop lit 2 nights/week

Maps:
Click here for a trail map

and at trailhead

Banadad Trail System
Banadad Trail System

38K tracked
The System consists of the 27 kilometer Banadad trail, a single tracked intimate trail through the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and another 12.3 meters of trails taking off from the Banadad’s eastern end. All the trails are single tracked.

The eastern end of the Banadad connects with the Central Gunflint Trails and at the western end skiers can ski into the Upper Gunflint Trail System. Trail access for the Eastern Trailhead is located along the Little Ollie Road. The Western Trailhead is off the Gunflint Trail, 1/4 mile south of the Loon Lake Public Landing at the Swamp, Lizz and Mead Lake Portages.

Fees: MN Ski Pass required

Difficulty: more & most difficult

Maps:
Click here for a trail map

and at the trailhead

Gunflint Lake Area

47K of intertwined series of loops provides plenty of skiing variety in a wonderful near wilderness setting. The easiest trails are near the lodges, which also offer short, lit loops; lots of easy to intermediate trails across the Gunflint Trail, through moose yards and the surrounding forested hills; more experienced skiers will like the South Rim trail and Highlands trail with Wipeout Hill, a big S-curve descending 120 feet to the Cross River.

Fees: $12 per day adults & $6 per day youth, available at lodges

Difficulty: easy, more & most diffficult

Amenities: lodges offer various amenities from restrooms to full restaurants and gift shops and rentals

Maps:
Click here

and at trailheads