Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin

Scuppernong trail system in South Kettle Moraine is one of the cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin

Thanks to glacial topography, southern Wisconsin has great cross-country skiing

Southern Wisconsin would not seem like a mecca for cross-country skiing, but due to the glacial topography, the terrain is actually ideal. Over 10,000 years ago, the receding Wisconsin Glacier created hills and depressions called kettles and moraines which are perfect for Nordic skiing.

Five cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin

South Kettle Moraine –Whitewater,Wisconsin

South Kettle Moraine has three trail systems and they all are top notch. There is the Nordic, the McMiller, and the Scuppernong. The Scuppernong is classic cross-country ski only, but McMiller and Nordic are groomed for both classic and skate.

Scuppernong Trail in South Kettle Moraine

Five cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Scuppernong Trail in South Kettle Moraine

The Nordic is the best ski trail system, and possibly one of the best in the state. It is the perfect training ground for the February Birkebeiner Marathon as the rough terrain is similar to the 54km trail from Hayward to Cable. The Blue Trail is 9.2 miles. Do this three or four times in a day and you are prepared for anything the Birkebeiner throws your way.

There are two rental areas in the vicinity. Backyard bikes just south of the Nordic Trail system and Quiet Hut Sports in Whitewater both rent skis and snowshoes.

Lampham Peak

Cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Lampham Peak Moraine Ridge Trail

Lampham Peak Moraine Ridge Trail

Cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Lampham Peak Moraine Ridge Trail

Lapham Peak Kettle Moraine Unit –Delafield,Wisconsin

LaphamPeak has some choice hills on the Moraine Ridge Trail, and many of them have interesting names. The most difficult trail is like a rollercoaster as some points and does not lack thrills.

LamphamPeak also makes its own snow. If the weather is cold, but there is a paucity of snow then come to this park and ski the 1.3 mile White Trail. Most of the trail is flat; however, there are a couple of hills when the trail veers from the lake into the woods.Lapham Peak also has a lighted trail.

Zillmer Trail North Kettle Moraine

Cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Zillmer Trail system in North Kettle Moraine

cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin

Cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Zillmer Trails in North Kettle Moraine

North Kettle Moraine –Kewaskum,Wisconsin

Just like South Kettle Moraine, the northern unit has three trail systems. New Fane, the Zillmer, and Greenbush give skiers plenty of options in this beautiful state park north of Milwaukee.

The Zillmer Trails are my favorite of the three. The five mile Yellow Trail at Zillmer is as good as it gets. The Greenbush trails are nice too. One of the trails at Greenbush is lighted, so skiers can stay out past sunset to get some more miles in.

Bong Recreation Area

Cross-country ski destinations in southern Wisconsin – Bong is beautiful, but the trails are kind of beat up

Richard Bong Recreation AreaBurlington,Wisconsin

The trails at Bong are nice, but the quality and more importantly the upkeep falls far below the first three parks. They do not groom the trails here, hikers are allowed on the trails, and the terrain is not as interesting. However, the park is beautiful and you will most likely have the park pretty much to yourself.

Bigfoot Beach State Park –Lake Geneva,Wisconsin

This is a park I have never skied, but I walked some of the trails this summer. There are some decent hills, so it is a place I want to check out this winter. Perhaps readers who have skied this locale can chime in in the comment section to give me some information or thoughts on skiing Bigfoot.

All of these parks are part of the wonderful Wisconsin State Park system. There is a fee system to enjoy all of these parks. For more information on the fees click here.

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