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20+ Best Cross Country Skiing Trails in Metro Detroit

When you think about winter things to do in Metro Detroit you may think of ice skating at Campus Martius or visiting Motown and the fantastic Detroit Institute of Arts, but there are some simply fabulous cross country skiing trails in Metro Detroit that can get the whole family out into the snowy weather enjoying the fresh air.

No matter what type of landscape you prefer while cross country skiing in Michigan, you’ll find it here in Southeast Michigan. 

Birmingham Michigan Cross Country Skiing

Lincoln Hills Golf Course 

The golf course is open for cross country skiing when the weather dictates. Sledding and snowshoeing are also available. The clubhouse is open most days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to warm up, use restrooms, or for drinks and snacks.

The rolling terrain and openness of the course are enjoyable for skiers of all levels. Skiing is free. Bring your own equipment. 

Lincoln Hills Golf Course, Birmingham - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Lincoln Hills Golf Course | photo via @geddahon

Brighton Cross Country Skiing Trails Near Me

Island Lake Recreation Area

Four thousand acres offer an up-north experience. The landscape provides a mix of mature hardwoods, open meadows, and brushland.

Michigan cross country skiers have three options; West/Blue Loop at nine miles. East/Yellow Loop at five miles, and a four-mile Paved Bike Trail which connects to Kensington Metropark and the Lyon Township Bike Trail.

Huron Meadows Metro Park 

For one of the finest cross-country experiences in southern Michigan, this park comes highly recommended. Snow guns keep the 1.5-mile lighted loop well covered, allowing skiing until 8 p.m.

The park offers 13.5 miles of groomed trails for classic cross-country skiing and skate skiing (grooming style is subject to trail conditions). The trails are partially in the woods and partially on the golf course, providing a good variety of hilly and flat terrain.

A 1.5-mile trail south of Hammel Road offers a double-tracked wooded rolling landscape experience for classic skiing only. The ski touring center offers a warm lounge, restrooms, and snacks. 

Huron Meadows Metro Park, Brighton - Metro Detroit Cross-County Ski
Huron Meadows Metro Park | photo via @bnadventuretogether

Clarkston Cross Country Skiing Near Me

Independence Oaks County Park

This is the largest of the Oakland County parks at 1,286 acres. Twelve miles of both paved and unpaved trails provide many great options for cross-country skiing. The landscape is stunning and the changes in elevation provide all the challenges any Nordic skier could desire.

The Ted Gray Trail is less than a mile but with a high difficulty level. If you prefer a little less challenge, the Lakeshore Loop offers a 2.4-mile trail with only two downhills. Seven miles of the trails are groomed from January through March

Independence Oaks County Park, Oakland County - Southern Michigan Cross Country Ski Tails, Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Independence Oaks County Park | photo via @distinctivelydiane

Farmington Hills Cross Country Skiing Trails

Heritage Park

This park offers 4.5 miles of nature trails that double as cross-country trails in the winter snow. The longest trail is a mile but the trails connect, so you certainly could find a way to do the entire 4.5 miles.

The trails are a combination of mulch and pavement, winding around 211 acres. Parking at the Nature Center provides easy access to the trails. 

Heritage Park, Farmington Hills - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Heritage Park | photo via @charlessamet

Leonard Michigan Cross-Country Skiing

Addison Oaks County Park

With more than 1,100 acres, this is a large park. A 5.5-mile, six-foot-wide groomed trail awaits cross country skiers. Additionally, there are 19 miles of marked but ungroomed trails offering enough hills to make it interesting.

Buhl Lake Trail is a 2.5-mile long trail that loops around the lake and offers scenic views. Skiers of all levels will enjoy the trails. Bring your own skis. No rentals are offered. Vehicles need to pay an entry fee to enter the park. 

Polly Ann Trail

This 34 mile-long non-motorized rail trail runs from suburban Detroit to the trailhead in Leonard. The trail runs through two counties, Oakland and Lapeer. The feel of the trail is very different in the two counties.

The landscape varies greatly and so does the terrain. The trail surface may be asphalt, ballast, or crushed stone.

Polly Ann Trail, Leonard - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Polly Ann Trail | photo via @vincentm90

Holly Michigan Cross Country Skiing Trails

Seven Lakes State Park

Aptly named for the lakes, this 1,434-acre park offers Dickenson Trail .30 miles, Green Trail Loop 2.1 miles, Nature Trail Loop .75 miles, and Red Trail Loop 1.8 miles. The terrain is a combination of farmland, rolling hills, and forests. When you ski the Nature Trail you will be surrounded by wilderness as you glide on the groomed trail. 

Seven Lakes State Park, Holly - Metro Detroit Cross-County Ski
Seven Lakes State Park | photo via @kerianndesign

Rose Oaks County Park

Six trails wind through this 637-acre park for five miles. The views are pretty and the trails crisscross open meadows and wooded uplands. The park includes several glacial lakes and 200 acres of wetlands. 

Highland Michigan Cross-Country Skiing

Highland Oaks County Park

This is a unique location at the Shiawassee River headwaters. It is a combination of sensitive habitat and a recreational experience. With 302 acres of wetlands, rolling hills, and pastures, you can enjoy 2.5 miles of trails. 

Milford Cross Country Skiing Trails

Kensington Metro Park

With 12 miles of trails, this park offers paved bike paths, a golf course, and woodland trails with both flat and hilly terrain. Only marked trails should be used. Ski rental is offered at the golf course as well as public restrooms and concessions.

Ski trails are groomed with snowmobiles or a Bombardier. If you are looking for a great cross-country ski experience, Kensington is a surprisingly good option in southern Michigan. 

Kensington Metropark, Milford - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Kensington Metropark | photo via @josie.the.dane

Rochester Hills Cross-Country Skiing Near Me

Paint Creek Trail

This trail is a year-round favorite and the oldest non-motorized rail trail in Michigan. It follows Paint Creek quite closely as it meanders for almost nine miles. It is an 8-foot wide former rail line with a limestone fine surface. The trail is not groomed for skiing.  

Several parking lots are located along the way and restrooms as well. The terrain is quite flat, making it perfect for the whole family, including leased dogs. 

Paint Creek Trail, Rochester Hills - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Paint Creek Trail | photo via @ninaignaczak

Spencer Park

This park has an entrance fee and is open from 10 a.m. to dusk. With 113 acres, you will find a lot to enjoy on the ungroomed trails.

Leashed dogs are welcome in the park. A mile-long unpaved trail makes a loop around the lake and provides pretty woodland views. 

Clinton River Trail

A 16-mile trail that uses an old abandoned rail line. It connects to many of the other trails in the area. It passes through urban, suburban, and rural areas. The trail surface is also varied.

The Rochester section is 4.5 miles long and includes benches and restrooms. Dogs on the trail must be leashed. 

Clinton River Trail, Rochester Hills - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Clinton River Trail | photo via @tylerjmulville

White Lake Cross Country Skiing Trails

Highland State Recreation Area

Highland Recreation Area offers 5,900 acres of woods, lakes, and marshes in the rolling hills of Southern Michigan. The trails accommodate mountain bikers, equestrian riders, hikers, and skiers, providing activities for every season in this park.

No ski equipment rentals are offered, the trails are not groomed, and no lighting is provided. Miles of trails give hours of fun to skiers of all fitness levels. 

Highland State Recreation Area, White Lake - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Highland State Recreation Area | photo via @jkeehn26

Hess Hathaway Park

Located on William Lake Road, this 165-acre community park has nature trails for cross country skiing. 

Indian Springs Metropark

Classic/Nordic cross country skiers can enjoy gliding on almost 12 miles of groomed trails suitable for beginners and intermediate skill levels. The landscape has enough variety to please anyone as it passes through wooded areas, open areas of the golf course, or frozen wetlands. 

Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Indian Springs Metropark | photo via @kyle.walker_

Lake Orion Cross Country Skiing Near Me

Orion Oaks County Park

A park dedicated to nature enthusiasts with 900 plus acres, the 10 miles of non-groomed trails offer wooded landscapes and open spaces. No equipment rental is offered. You need to get a day pass if you don’t have an annual pass to get into the park.  

Orion Oaks County Park, Lake Orion - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Orion Oaks County Park | photo via @thisjenerallife

Washtenaw County Cross Country Skiing Trails Near Metro Detroit

Rolling Hills County Park

This 439-acre park in Ann Arbor is a popular destination for all kinds of outdoor activities. Three miles of groomed cross-country ski trails provide both a shorter flat trail that is perfect for beginners and a longer trail with lots of varied terrain for more experienced skiers.

Ski rental is available, and The Lodge offers a fireplace to warm up when your ski day is over. 

Rolling Hills County Park, Ypsilanti - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails, Metro Detroit Cross Country Ski
Rolling Hills County Park | photo via @valerieelgoburgett

Independence Lake

The park offers more than three miles of groomed trails. Trails wind through pine stands, along the lake, and across prairies. Both beginners and experienced cross country skiers will enjoy these trails.  

Detroit Cross Country Skiing Near Me

Belle Isle Park

This park is the gem of Detroit parks. At 987 acres, it includes three lakes and 150 acres of woods. You can enjoy outstanding views of the Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit skyline.

While you’ll need to bring your own equipment and there are no groomed trails, cross-country skiers enjoy traversing the snow-covered grounds of this Michigan State Park located on the Detroit River.

Belle Isle, Detroit - Metro Detroit Cross-Country Ski
Belle Isle | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Northville Cross Country Skiing Trails Near Me

Maybury State Park

At 944 acres, this former sanitarium site is a sizable location. It consists of open meadows and mature forests. The 6 miles of groomed trails used for cross-country skiing combine parts of the footpath, the equestrian, and bike trails.

This trail is not really for beginners and caters to more moderate to difficult level skiers.  

More Winter Fun in Metro Detroit

Cross-country skiing is one of the best winter things to do in Michigan, but it’s not the only thing! There are also several southeast Michigan ski resorts, ice skating rinks, winter parks, and even small-town holiday shopping destinations!

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