Wonderful Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
There is much to do when visiting Lake of the Woods! The obvious, fishing, hunting and snowmobiling. The less obvious but equally as enjoyable are cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Whether you’re a pro or just getting started, Lake of the Woods has miles of breathtakingly beautiful trails that wind through scenic areas of vast stands of pine, spruce and birch trees. Some slopping hills and curved routes are simple yet joyful enough for any new or seasoned skier.
Cross-Country Skiing and snowshoeing have long been known to be one of the most healthy and beneficial sports. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels and can be purely recreational or highly aggressive and competitive. But what makes it the ultimate form of exercise is the fact that it is a total body workout and the ultimate calorie burner.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing is an extremely accessible sport and is very economical as well. Zippel Bay State Park has 12 miles of groomed trails that are maintained during the winter months. The trails wind through scenic areas of vast stands of pine, spruce and birch trees. Some slopping hills and curved routes are simple yet joyful enough for any skier new or seasoned.
On each full moon from the months of January-March, Friends of Zippel Bay host a free night of Moonlight Ski. Glowing luminaries mark the trails and skiers and snowshoers come after dusk to ski by moonlight and enjoy the pure beauty of the outdoors. Hot chocolate and refreshments are available in the warming lodge before or after your venture. Free rental equipment is available for anyone to use!
Another great and fairly new to the area is cross-country skiing at the Lake of the Woods School grounds.
They have cut out and groomed trails for people to enjoy the fresh air and it is very easy to travel to. The school itself has equipment available to rent. They have both cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes. Snowshoers don’t need trails, but just snow. This is fast becoming a favorite sport for both young and old….and it doesn’t take a lot of exceptional skill to be able to try it out. There are also a number of wilderness areas to explore around Lake of the Woods. For starters, think about Zippel Bay State Park, Beltrami Island State Forest and Pine Island State Forest.
A wonderful free area to ski or snowshoe on is our beautiful Baudette Bay. First, be aware of first ice and make sure of safety. Then put on the skis or snowshoes and follow the Bay to the south under the bridge and go all the way back to enjoy the view. You can put in at Peace Park to park your vehicle and then try going out to the north towards the big Rainy River.
Cross-country ski areas:
Baudette Franz Jevne State Park
5.6km 218-783-6252 (P, B) Groomed trails, unique rock outcrop near Rainy River. Secluded and peaceful.
MN ski pass required.
Williams Zippel Bay State Park
17.6km 218-783-6252 (P, B) 14.4km groomed trail ranging from beginner to intermediate near Lake of the Woods. Catch glimpses of timber wolves and deer. MN ski pass required. Zippel Bay State Park is available at the following address: 3684 54th Ave NW, Williams, MN 56686
Or call ahead at 218-783-6252
All cross-country skiers on ski trails in State Parks or Forests, or on State or Grant-in-Aid Trails, who are aged 16 and above, must have a Minnesota Ski Pass. You must sign your ski pass and carry it with you when skiing. Your ski pass fee helps support Minnesota’s cross-country ski trail system.
If you are 16 or older, you must have a Great Minnesota Ski Pass to ski on groomed trails in Minnesota state parks or state forests, or on state or grant-in-aid trails. Sign your Ski Pass and be sure to carry it with you every time you go skiing. (If you prefer, take a photo of both sides of your pass and carry it on your phone.)
- Daily: $10
- One-year: $25 (Effective July 1 to June 30)
- Three-year: $70 (Effective July 1 to June 30 for three years, including the purchasing season.)
- Duplicate passes: $2.50
Buy a Ski Pass:
Online: You’ll need a driver’s license or state ID, the last four digits of your social security number (for additional online authentication), and a credit card.
- Additional 3% convenience fee.
- You’ll get a PDF of your license right away. Print and sign it, and carry it with you — this is your final pass, you will not receive anything additional in the mail.
By phone: Call 1-888-MN-LICENSE (1-888-665-4236).
- You’ll need a driver’s license or state ID, and a credit card.
- Additional 3% convenience fee.
- Your Ski Pass will arrive in the mail in about two weeks. You can still hit the ski trails right away, though — the selling agent will give you a purchase confirmation number. Write it down and carry it with you until your pass arrives. If you are stopped, the enforcement officer can verify your Ski Pass purchase using that number.
In person: At the front desk in most Minnesota state parks. (Nobody in the office? Buy your pass from the kiosk!)
At any of the 1750 locations around the state that sell DNR permits and licenses. Find one »
- You can use cash or a credit card.
- You’ll need a driver’s license or state ID.
At a self-registration kiosk in any Minnesota state park.
- Kiosks only sell daily passes, not one- or three-year passes.
- You can put cash in the drop box or use a credit card.
Don’t want to carry a paper pass? Sign it and take a clear photo of both the front and back sides, and just carry it in your phone!
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