In a previous article the author discussed the Kettle Moraine parks in southern Wisconsin, which have some of the best cross-country skiing in the country in my opinion. Central Wisconsin has a few parks which are fantastic as well. They may not be as great as Kettle Moraine, but they come close.
Just east of Madison lies this beautiful state park. I have heard it is one of the most well maintained cross-country ski destinations in the Wisconsin DNR system. The park also does a great job updating the ski conditions on their website. The Madison Nordic Ski Club provides up to date conditions for the park as well.
When I skied here there was new snow, but when it stopped snowing it started to turn to freezing rain, so the top layer was crusty. Sections in the woods were okay, but out in the open the trails were in bad condition. The state park was waiting for the freezing rain to stop before they groomed it.
Once we broke through the first layer and skied the trails a second time conditions improved. Most of the trails in the park are pretty easy, but there is one section along the Ridgeview trail which is outstanding. There are at least two difficult technical hills with difficult turns.
I have literally driven past this lake a hundred times going to Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Late last year this was the southern terminus of the snow line for a couple of weeks. It was the closest place to me with snow, so it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
I am glad I did as the park has some great trails. One section twists and turns through a ravine and under bridge in a long downhill section. The Ishnala Trail is the best and is a 2.2 mile loop that will have you doing circles. The Northwest Trail also has some outstanding hills.
The Black River State Forest is another well maintained ski park in central Wisconsin just off the interstate at the Millston exit. Park at the Smrekar warming hut and enjoy some fantastic trails through pine forest with some impressive hills.
The difficult trails are unfortunately often closed as they are unable to groom them. The intermediate trails will do. There is a pretty overlook on the Central Trail. After viewing the surrounding hills and forest, the trail descends nicely for a half mile of excitement.
The last two on the list I have never skied, so I do not have much information except to say that Governor Dodge has 12 miles of groomed trails and winter camping.
This is probably the most well known, well visited, and popular state park in the Wisconsin State Park system. Most of these visitors flock to this beautiful lake in the summer, but skiers enjoy the trails during the winter.
Devil’s Lake has 16 miles of groomed trails. I have hiked a portion of the park in the summer, and I am sure good trails exist here since the park boosts some impressive hills.
Perhaps those that have can post a quick review in the comment section for the last two on the list.
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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