Situated on 6,500 acres of glaciated terrain, Minocqua Winter Park & Nordic Center manages more than 100 kilometers of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Beginner and expert skiers, striders and skaters alike, will enjoy 75 km of PistenBully-groomed trails and 15 km of Wilderness Trails featuring a single set of old-school classic tracks. Our 16 km snowshoe trail network accommodates families on tour, competitive athletes, and leashed dogs.
Click on View Trail Descriptions below to view a short narrative on most of our trails. Trail maintenance and expansion often outpaces our web skills, so you may find minor discrepancies between our interactive map and our paper handouts. Our printable maps are up-t0-date for the current season, and they may be downloaded by simply clicking on the links below.
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Nose Dive Alley
Nose Dive is a 1km straight shot that runs from the Base Loop out to XC Express. If you’re headed out to the Lake Marie section, this is a quick route to take. There are a few rollers and then the Nose Dive with bypass option to keep you on your toes. Elevator shaft or a little less extreme? Your choice and then up the other side to the intersection.
The broad beautiful boulevard named XC Express links the Inner Core trails with the Outer Loops. In 2.5 km the rolling green rated trail can take you from one side of the system to the other in short order. As one of the widest trails at Winter Park, XC Express features plenty of adjoining options from 1km loops to 15-20 km to push your endurance. Deceptive in vertical interest, a quick out and back on this trail would be a good 5km time trial and test individual conditioning. If you ski for long at Winter Park, XC Express will be in your plans.
Silver Strider is the easiest way to access the eastern edge of the MWP trail system. A great starting point for exploring and linking into River Run or Wolf Track, the 1km green trail is wide and rolls upward from the Yukon creek/swamp level to intersect with Sleigh Ride. It also functions as part of the return route from Nepco’s Cruise into the practice area and the Chalet. After a long tour, the right hand turn to the finish can be a very welcome sight, as the skis slide happily toward home, dry clothes, warm food, choice beverages, and well earned relaxation.
Nepco’s Cruise is a wide 3.4 km connector type trail that has many access points. Green rated, it is a favorite trail to take to the longer Wolf Tracks and River Run trails, as well as a good jaunt for those with classic touring in mind. Being wide the trail is usually double trackset on one side making for the conversational side-by-side mode pictured in many ski magazines. This enhances Level 1 “conversational mode” type skiing and add in a loved one and Nepco’s may be the most romantic trail in Winter Park. Lots of options for vertical and seclusion, as well as lanes for skaters, both on Nepco’s and adjoining trails. Ah, amour….
Sleigh Ride is a gentle undulating extension that comes off of Silver Strider seamlessly. As you begin from the Chalet and parallel the parking lot, this is a part of a green loop that could include XC Express and Nepco’s Cruise. A fairly long, gentle passage, Sleigh Ride at 2km could be just the ticket whether a beginner skier, a more advanced that needs a little less intensity, or a couple using two different techniques, as the trail is wide in most spots, with classic track and skate lanes. For those looking to unlock skate glide, this would make a great loop without poles, pushing off only with legs and imitating the various skate techniques. Depending on conditions, a 6-8 km run “on the flats” of the greens and blues that surround and include Sleigh Ride should take about a half hour. Feel the burn, baby!
Mellow Meadow is a sweet little section of 1km green off the beaten path that can link with Island Hop in both directions and thus can lead out to Lake Marie, or Wolf Tracks, depending on your technique preference, time, and conditioning. Recently improved and widened, Mellow Meadow is anything but mellow if you wick up the tempo a bit. Racer types looking for a solid workout can use this loop for repeat intervals to good effect, carefully tracking time, heart rate, recovery levels, and technique as you dream of moving up the Birkie Wave pecking order. Speaking of racing, this section is part of the Lakeland Loppet newly marked 25 km Race Trail, and as such may wet your appetite to ski the race in late February or early March. Or, just ski it for fun, checking out the beauty of the Northwoods, as you breathe deeply and let civilization and petty annoyances slip away. Either way, Mellow Meadow is worth checking out.
The Base Loop is probably the most used trail in the Winter Park system. Beginning at the Chalet, the recently reversed 2km piece “skis big”. It dips away immediately and parallels the road before beginning the first climb. A turn off the Base to Tornado Alley is an early option. If you elect to continue on, a gentle down leads to the Survivor intersection and quickly the Nose Dive intersection at 1km out from the start. Past those trail entrances you begin the longest climb and downhill, followed by a double roller series before dumping you back toward the Chalet and sliding in behind the tube runs. All-in-all, a challenge and worthy of the intermediate Blue designation, combining options, wide grooming, and at night, a lit loop for added fun.
Tornado Alley was formerly known as Northwest Passage in the earliest days of Winter Park. Years later a tree crushing summer downdraft logically changed the name. Today the forest have grown back and protect the rolling elevation changes that make this 2 km trail a joy to ski in either the classic or freestyle technique. The Nutcracker/Windy Ridge options are available within 1.5km of the Chalet, but for those who stay on Tornado, the ebb and flow of the hills will delightfully lead into the Survivor section, or for those inclined to return to the Chalet, a quick left will lead up and over a quick hill and back to the Base and thus home. Tornado is a great connector section and part of the inner “Core” trails that makes Winter Park a special experience.
Survivor is a green rated 2km trail that flows between Base Loop and XC Express. A nice 5km loop would be out the Base to Survivor, Down XC to Creek and back on the Power Line to the chalet. Rolling easy terrain for all levels to cruise and enjoy.
River Run is a key member of one of the “Big Three” long trails at Minocqua Winter Park, the other two being Lake Marie and Wolf Tracks. As such, the 10 km trail deserves a certain amount of respect. The “Edge of Ski Patrol Boundry” sign beginning the trail off of Nepco’s Cruise gives a sense of what’s to come. With three road crossing on Camp Nine and Scotchman Lake Road there are bailout spots, but except for a few snowmobiles or trappers in skin drenched pickup trucks there are very few rides to come by and a long walk back to the Chalet. Skiing is the best option with the variety we’ve come to expect in the Northwoods. The trail has plenty of variety to maintain interest as rolling flats are interspersed with pockets of twisty turny that keeps one thinking. The final sections run close to the Squirrel River and the WI DNR Scientific Preserve area for natural beauty and an enhancement of the tour. Don’t forget water and some food as bodily needs creep up on the enjoyment factor. If you start out on Silver Strider, hang a right on Sleigh Ride, flow a left down XC Express, wrap around to the left onto Nepco’s, and enter River Run. By the time you’re back to the Chalet you’ll have a solid 15 km under the belt; good enough for some hot soup at Rick’s Hard Wax Cafe. Adventure time!
Creek Trail is a quiet little 1km piece that can be skied off of XC Express or off of Red Pine. Although rated Blue, Creek Trail skis well and is somewhat tight and narrow. Because of it’s length, this can be a great shortcut back to the Chalet and down the Powerline back with just a few squiggles at the end to add interest.
Red Pin can fit the bill of a “good ski” in many ways. As a stand alone, this 1.6 km intermediate blue trail climbs from the swamp level by the chalet up toward the “microwave tower” hill and almost to the top. Running parallel to VO2 Max, Red Pine crosses Sleigh Ride with one turn off option and continues to flow over to Nepco’s Cruise. If you’re heading out to River Run, this is a suggested pathway, with a hard left at the end, or a sweeping right if Wolf Tracks is on your mind. Either way, Red Pine is a great warmup and way to get some nice vertical technique work.
The Yukon Trail can be accessed by taking Nutcracker, Nose Dive, Survivor, and XC Express to the trail starting point, as “there are many paths to go by.” In the 2.5 km of trail there are very few flat sections with glacial ups and down almost continually. Rated intermediate Blue, Yukon has a “slice of the Northwoods” feel to it as you venture through maturing cuts of popple and pine, past a high overlook of the vast Yukon Swamp, and through a more mature pine stand. As a long standing section of the Lakeland Loppet Race Course and multiple Wisconsin High School Championships, the Yukon is unrelenting with the accumulation of ups with short recovery downs thoroughly testing the aerobic system, especially when skied at a steady tempo. The far end of the loop leads to C & D, Lake Marie, and Island Hop, while the exit spills onto XC or a quick dive onto Beaver Pond. So many choices, making Yukon a must do goal at WP.
Island Hop is a term loosely translated, “Bog”. Traversing this northern boreal forest water filter gives you a completely different view of one of the most important habitats at Winter Park; the Yukon Swamp. The 1.5 km green trail can depart from either Mellow Meadow to the east or C&D to the west as you cross the swamp searching for vertical. You won’t find it here. This is as low as you can go at Winter Park; for good reasons and for good effect. First you’ll get a unique view of the terrain as you ski and notice the topography and landmark features otherwise obstructed by trees, tears, and undulations. Most importantly you will become one with the bog, and that’s hard to do in other seasons. Notice the plants. Sure, mostly frozen under snow, but also some conifers along the way, different than any part of WP. And the tracks. What types of creatures cross the swamp, besides you? For the “go faster” crowd, into panting with heads down, this would be an excellent section to double pole or double pole kick across, without pause. Skaters would do well to see if they could V2 the entire way, snow and grooming conditions dependent, of course. While a “Point A to Point B” trail, Island Hop has it’s own charm. Discover it your way.
Steeple Chase is just off of the XC Express/Nepco’s Cruise intersection and is an interesting 1.2km diversion off “the flats”. Being only 1.2km it skis much bigger and has several downhills that increase interest. The second half of Steeple Chase is a quick way to return from Wolf Tracks and then onto Nepco’s and into the Chalet. Be sure to keep a little strength in reserve for the tight twisty-turny at the end, compliments of the keen skiing eye of instructor/pro Dan Clausen. Again as you ski, notice the kilometer markers from the Lakeland Loppet, our hometown race with something for everyone, a great way to end your ski season with, always the weekend after the Birkie. Keep the fun going!
C & D Express
The 3.7 km C & D is both a connector trail and a destination on it’s own. As a link to Lake Marie, the first half of the trail provides eye-opening thrills as it takes linking flats and joins snakey twists and turns through narrowish downhills to the first intersection. If skied alone, C & D will loop back with an easy rolling ski to the Yukon Trail. Either way, C & D has much to offer as well as a historic twist, being named for ski instructors/developers Clausen and Doak; Winter Park Pioneers!
Lake Marie Trail
Lake Marie is one of three “out there” trails in the Winter Park system. As such, you want to be prepared for a good long time on skis, beyond the boundaries of the ski patrol, where the wolves live. OOOOh, scary! Not really, but a full water bottle with a bit of food would be good things along the trail to ward off undesirable hunger pangs and the “bonky” accompanying feelings of weakness that make a fine distance ski into a groaning epic. It’s just never good form to enter the Chalet looking pale and deathly instead of the hale and hearty look of the Nordic god/goddess you strive to be. A good 9km in length, Lake Marie has a variety of rolling terrain that dips and turns in an interesting manner. This is one of the early season destination trails that skis well as soon as the snow is sufficient and gives even the fittest skier a long ski that builds a relaxed base using either the classic or skate technique. Depending on the trails taken out to Lake Marie, and the return route, it’s easy to make this into a 20-25km ski.
As the Norwegians say, “Ha en god tur!”
Nekoosa is a classic only trail just across the Manhardt Road to the southern edge of Winter Park and is the only way to access Wolf Tracks. The green rated 2km trail is usually double tracked and dips and sways gently as a way of introducing you to the longer trail ahead. At the beginning there is an air of anticipation and excitement as you consider the duration and challenges of Wolf Tracks. After a diverse and tiring excursion, as you exit Wolf Tracks, Nekoosa looks very comforting as you begin the way “home”, back to the chalet. Like many parts of Winter Park, Nekoosa was named for a logging/paper company, now in the past.
Wolf Tracks is a classic skiers’ delight. A total of 10 km in length, including the connector, Nekoosa, the double tracked trail flows out to the outer edges of the Minocqua Winter Park property and onto a friendly neighbor’s land. You’ll feel “out there” on this jaunt and therefore should dress and bring food and drink appropriate for a big adventure, close to 20km from the chalet. The rolling terrain is rated intermediate blue, and while downhills are manageable, the total length makes for a great technique workout. The classic stride can be mixed with the double pole and double pole kick while you traverse the undulating topography. Recent revisions of the final kilometers will add safety and interest to your tour. While gazing around at the forested views, be sure to peer down occasionally for detection of the real wolf tracks. A pack occupies this area and track, scat, and other evidence of habitation may be present. Enjoy your ski and look back nervously from time to time.
Just off of Windy Ridge lies 4.8 km of thrills and chills with the twisted name, “Nutcracker”. With seven major downhills and no point of escape you need to have Black Diamond confidence and understand conditions before venturing out. This trail is a blast and offers the type of challenges that use all the skills on a narrow twisty trail that keeps you on your toes. The exit onto XC Express means that the shortest total length for getting to Nutcracker, doing the trail, and back to the Chalet would be a minimum 10 km. Choose wisely.
Beaver Pond is a “Black Label” gem that can get you back to the Chalet pronto, with added benefits. The greatest feature of the 1 km trail are two fine downhills that give some spice to the passage. The first is a lefthander that is bermed and with good technique can be taken full bore. After a good climb, skiers find an S-Turn, again banked for the right hand and quick left hand that spills down to the beaver pond level. This year, thanks to the hardworking beaver, there is quite a beaver pond to view, if you have the ability to focus right when your skis are going left and the wind driven tears aren’t blocking your view. If possible a stop for the overlook is advised and perhaps a side trip onto the pond for a different perspective. The trail then intersects the Base Loop where a right hand turn will give you 500 m of rolling gentle skiing into the Chalet, or…directly across the Base Loop the Beaver Pond Return trail continues up and over Squirrel Hill where you’ll be rewarded with a downhill blaster, but watch out for the tube run! There’s a nice climb to the top of the hill where other options (Going down, anyone?) exist.
VO2 Max is listed on xcskiresorts.com as one of the top 10 trails in the United States of America! It is one of the oldest black diamond trails in the Winter Park system. Used as a race course for decades, this trail has hosted the Dannon Series, American Airlines Super Tour, Wisconsin High School Championships, and numerous time trials for Olympians, ex Olympians, Olympian wannabees, international B teamers, and many many weekend warriors. Previously named “Corkscrew” this glacially pocketed piece of real estate twists and turns naturally with just a few judicious additions and adjustments from the bulldozer. The 2.8 kms are old school narrow with the trees rather close for high speed interest, which can increase dramatically with snow conditions; we’re talking serious “Big Eyes” at times. If your skills are up there, your interest high, conditions right, and edges tuned, this may be the trail for you.
Windy Ridge is a neat diversion off of Tornado Alley that twists and turns early on and then climbs a narrow glacial easker ridge that allows you to look off both sides for views, where the trees allow. Halfway through you can decide to take on the gnarly Nutcracker, or not. Continuing on to the high point of the trail will drop you into a three turn finish that brings you right back to Tornado Alley. An interesting challenge trail that is little used by most. At 1.5 K, it’s a nice addition to a longer tour.
The 1km Squirrel Tail is a little known piece that gives users a path to the top of “Mt” Squirrel. Rising up 1735′ above sea level (and maybe 200+’ above swamp level) the trail can be accessed by using the Beaver Pond Return Trail, skiing straight up the hill and getting the backside portion of the Squirrel Tail, or by taking a hard left off of Base Loop and squirting up the Beaver Pond Return Trail for 50 m before a left onto the climb. And climb you will. But as nord types we understand there is a down for every up and the reward is in the effort. Besides the effort, you see some views from the top of the hill and when you’re ready you can shuss down the left side of the Family Slope, back to the chalet, or, for the more adventuresome, push off down the last piece of Squirrel Tail, blast a screamer head wall, with accompanying compression at the bottom, a sweeping right and then down toward the Base Loop/Tornado Alley intersection. Here, depending on conditions and skier traffic, you have the choice of snowplowing, tucking while yelling (hoping the way is clear) or a sliding hockey stop in the skate lane. Remember the Rules of Skiing; ski under control, safety first, know your limits, and have fun.
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