Winter in Minnesota brings scenic, snowy landscapes and crisp, fresh air. It’s the perfect backdrop for cross-country skiing. This recreational activity is a peaceful way to explore the parks in winter while getting a great, low-impact workout. Three Rivers features over 80 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails at various locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area, and certain parks offer rental equipment, including adapted equipment. Trails are available for skiers of all skill levels.
Where to Cross-country Ski
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Trail conditions can change with the weather and some trails may close occasionally. Before you head out, check the trail conditions.
Miles of Trails
The following mileage is for cross-country skiing. Interested in hiking? Three Rivers has miles of other trails for hiking and snowshoeing in the winter.
Cleary: 6 (2.8 lighted)
Eagle Lake: 3.6,
Elm Creek: 11.4 (3.4 lighted, 1.8 snowmaking)
French: 5.2 (2.9 lighted)
Glen Lake: 1.5
Hyland: 9.5 (5.3 lighted, 3.3 snowmaking)
Advance equipment reservation is required. Cross-country ski sets are available at several parks and can be reserved up to seven days in advance online or over the phone.
Both classic and skate-style ski rentals are available at several parks. View rental rates and reservation information for classic and skate-style skis.
A cross-country ski pass is required for skiers age 12 and older. Minnesota Ski Passes are not required in Three Rivers Parks.
If you already have a recreation pass card, your new season pass will be loaded onto it, allowing you to use the same card year after year. One card can hold multiple pass types.
- Elm Creek and Hyland: $10 plus tax; all other parks offering cross-country skiing: $7 plus tax
- Daily passes may be purchased online.
- A one-time credit of the price of a daily ski pass can be applied to the cost of a season ski pass when purchased by mail at Three Rivers Park District, 3000 Xenium Lane N., Plymouth, MN 55441.
- All parks: $90 plus tax
- Purchase online or by calling 763-559-6700.
- If you already have a recreation pass card, even from a previous year, any newly purchased annual pass will be immediately added to your card.
- If you purchase your pass online or over the phone, you will receive a confirmation receipt via email which will serve as your seven-day temporary pass. You can expect to receive your recreation pass card in the mail in about one week.
- There is no limit to the number of additional annual passes that can be purchased in a household.
- Annual passes may be purchased as gifts.
Pass exchanges and upgrades can be handled in person at the parks or at the Administrative Center.
Recreation pass cards can be replaced if lost or damaged for a fee of $5 plus tax. Call 763-559-6700 to request a replacement card.
Three Rivers offers cross-country ski lessons for adults and children, including adapted sit-ski lessons. Lessons will help you glide into action on the trails this winter.
Three Rivers also offers private, 90-minute lessons for classic or skate techniques. The private cross-country ski lesson season has ended for the season. We look forward to serving you in the winter of 2023–2024.
Ski clubs are a great way to meet others with a passion for cross-country skiing.
At Three Rivers, we believe everyone belongs in the parks. The Recreation Pass Plus includes free equipment rentals and recreation passes, and discounts on programs and events. It is available for families and individuals who are experiencing financial difficulty and live in Hennepin County.
Programs & Events
See all cross-country skiing programs and events.
Three Rivers works to ensure the accessibility of our parks and trails for all people. Cross-country sit-skis are available for use at several locations.
Related Blog Posts
How to Dress for Winter Weather
By: Erin Korsmo
Learn how to stay warm this winter with these basic tips and enjoy being outside with the right clothes no matter what the thermometer says.
Best Trails for Cross-Country Skiing
By: Three Rivers Staff
Looking for a trail to get started cross-country skiing or prepare for the Ski Rennet on January 29? Check out this post from the archive to find our favorite cross-country ski trails in Three Rivers.
Finding Hygge This Winter
By: Jenifer Garcia
Here in Minnesota, we try our best to make winters bearable. Hygge may be a way for some of you to crack the code on creating a fun and even merry season despite the arctic temperatures. Read on to learn what hygge is and get ideas on how to start incorporating it into your life.
Other Things To Do
Biking in Three Rivers is a great way to get the whole family outside. Whether you’re the casual rider or a cyclist in training, you’ll appreciate more than 240 miles of off-roadway bike/hike trails that wind through woodlands and grasslands and rim the shorelines of lakes and ponds at our parks.
Downhill & Telemark Skiing
Hyland Hills Ski Area and the Winter Recreation Area at Elm Creek offer downhill ski areas for all skill levels, from training hills to Olympic-level training jumps. The downhill ski areas feature snowmaking and well-groomed hills for unbeatable winter fun.
One of the best ways to explore year-round is to head out for a hike on the extensive trail system in Three Rivers. Trails wind through the woodland, grassland and wetland habitats of many species of wildlife. You’ll be amazed at what you might see along the way.
Please note: In winter, hiking on cross-country ski trails is not permitted.
Skijoring & Dog Sledding
If you have a dog with some pent-up winter energy, bring it to Three Rivers Parks for fun exercise where we have designated trails for skijoring and dog sledding.
Three Rivers offers trails of varying difficulty for snowshoers of all skill levels. It’s a great way for the entire family to take in the scenes of a Minnesota winter. Please note: Snowshoeing is not permitted on cross-country ski trails unless otherwise noted.
New This Season: Snowshoe rentals require advanced reservations. Availability will vary by location.
If you like sledding, you’ll love snow tubing at the Winter Recreation Area at Elm Creek. Ride a moving sidewalk up a hill 10 stories high and then soar back down on a specially designed inner tube. Once you get to the bottom, do it all over again.
Advance reservations are strongly encouraged; please check availability online before coming to the hill. Reservations can be made online or by calling our reservations office at 763-559-6700.