Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul maintain groomed cross country ski trails at several of their parks.
The County has a partnership with the Minnesota DNR (Department of Natural Resources) for trail grooming. A daily or annual Minnesota Ski Pass is required at those locations. And note that only ski traffic is allowed on these trails: no snowshoeing or skijoring (or winter hiking).
The City of St. Paul grooms ski trails on three of its golf courses. No ski pass is needed there, although no rental equipment is available.
Snowshoeing isn’t as prevalent—Tamarack Nature Center offers the only designated snowshoe trail in the Ramsey County park system. It’s a beautiful spot, though, so definitely check it out! Maplewood Nature Center (run by the City of Maplewood) is also open to snowshoers.
Battle Creek Regional Park East (Maplewood)
Battle Creek Regional Park East is a part of 1,840 acres of forest, prairie and wetlands surrounded by urban development. The Park maintains 6 km of groomed classic cross country ski trails, both easy and more difficult. No rentals are available. Here’s the Battle Creek East winter map.
Battle Creek Regional Park West (St. Paul)
Battle Creek West is the other part of the 1,840 acres. There’s a separate cross country ski trail system here that’s one of the best in Ramsey County. There are almost 15 km of groomed trails altogether, from easy to advanced, included 4 km of lighted trails for night skiing. Here’s the Battle Creek West winter map.
There are ski events here regularly, so you may want to check the calendar before you head out (partnership with Endurance United’s Urban Trail Series).
Como Golf Course (St. Paul)
Como Golf Course has almost 7 km of groomed cross country ski trails, including a 1.7 km lighted trail for night skiing that’s great for beginners. The 5 km loop over hill and dale is more challenging. No ski pass is required and rental equipment is available at the Como Park Ski Chalet. Here’s the trail map.
Fort Snelling State Park (St. Paul)
Fort Snelling has great cross country ski trails and snowshoe trails, very convenient to both Minneapolis and St. Paul residents and visitors. About 12 miles total, the trails are split between:
- Groomed multi-use for skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking (skiers only in the tracks)
- Ungroomed multi-use for skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking
- Groomed for skiing only
Snowshoe rentals are available from the Park Office (which is different than the Visitor Center). Ski rentals are not available. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required. Here’s the Fort Snelling winter map.
Grass Lake (Shoreview)
Great for a short, leisurely ski that takes you through marsh and woods, 3.8 km. The map doesn’t show it but there’s also ungroomed, but popular skiing/winter hiking from Snail Lake Regional Park (parking on the south end of the lake) that connects to the Grass Lake Trail. No rentals are available. Here’s the Grass Lake winter map.
Highland 9 Golf Course (St. Paul)
The City of St. Paul maintains 3.5 km of groomed cross country ski trails at Highland that are great for beginning and intermediate skiers. Both classic and skate skiers are welcome. No rental equipment is available and no ski pass is needed. Here’s the trail map.
Maplewood Nature Center (Maplewood)
Ah, another place to snowshoe in Ramsey County. (There aren’t many!) Maplewood Nature Center’s 1.5 mile trail is open to snowshoers and winter hikers in the snowy months. You’ll walk through scenic woods and frozen wetlands. Snowshoes are available to rent at the Visitor Center. You’ll have to pick up your map there, too—no PDF map is available online.
Phalen Golf Course (St. Paul)
You’ll find 7 km of groomed cross country ski trails at Phalen for both classic and skate skiing. The rolling hills and distance make it a nice intermediate loop. No rental equipment is available and no ski pass is needed. Here’s the trail map.
Tamarack Nature Center (White Bear Township)
Tamarack as 320 beautiful acres through woods, over rolling hills and along frozen wetlands and prairies. There are 8 km of groomed cross country ski trails from beginner to more difficult.
Snowshoeing isn’t allowed on the ski trails, but there are three trails designated for snowshoeing and winter hiking.
Rental equipment is available for both skiing and snowshoeing. Here’s the Tamarack winter map.
Vadnais/Sucker Lake (Shoreview)
A couple of different loops here that start at the same parking area on County Road F. The north 4 km loop goes around Sucker Lake. The south 7 km loop runs down-and-back on the east side of Vadnais Lake.
The south loop is all easy, the north loop has a more difficult section for a bit of a challenge. Here’s the Vadnais/Sucker Lake winter map.
NOTE: There’s a bunch of buckthrorn and tree removal going on during the winter of 2018 that will impact the ski trails on the east side of Sucker Lake. You can simply adjust with an out-and-back route rather than the full loop if necessary.
Check on ski trail conditions before you head out on SkinnySki.com.
Learn to cross country ski and snowshoe!
- Tamarack Nature Center offers instructional programs, including private and semi-private lessons. Course options are listed under age. Start by clicking here. Or call for details: 651-407-5350.
- Como Park offers cross country ski group lessons throughout the winter when snow conditions are good. Click here for info (scroll down to Ski & Snowboard Lessons and then click on their current brochure)