Independence Oaks County Park 15 Best Southern Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails
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15 Best Southern Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails

Looking for a “cross country ski trail near me” in southern Michigan? Here’s a list of the best Southern Michigan cross country ski trails.

Cross country skiing is one of the most popular outdoor winter activities in Michigan. Spending a few hours on the trails gives you a good workout and lets you get the fresh air you need to clear your head and re-center yourself.

Exploring Michigan in the wintertime is when you really get to see its hidden beauty. Known for its cold temperatures and snowy winters, avid cross-country skiers can take full advantage of all the trails and different terrains the state has to offer.

Whether you’re a first-time cross-country skier or you just want to find new ski trails to hit this winter to perfect the amazing ski and snowboarding skills you already possess, Michigan offers several for you to choose from.

Check out our detailed list below for the best cross country skiing trails in Southern Michigan!

Cross Country Skiing in Southwest Michigan

Kal-Haven Trail State Park

Formally known as the Kal-Haven Trail Sesquicentennial State Park, the Kal-Haven Trail State Park is a trail that stretches more than 33 miles between South Haven and Kalamazoo. The main trailheads are in South Haven off Bailey Ave and in Kalamazoo off 10th St N. Both have plenty of parking.

The converted rail-trail runs along an abandoned railroad bed, winding through beautiful landscapes of farmlands and wooded areas with rivers and streams. You can ski along the ungroomed trail for as long as you want. Also, the trail is open to snowmobiling.

If you want an educational experience along the way, check out the 31 exhibit panels about the cultural and natural history of the area.

Kal-Haven Trail, South Haven, Kalamazoo - Southern Michigan Cross-County Ski Trails
Kal-Haven Trail | photo via @lauradekreek

Warren Dunes State Park

Located in Sawyer, Warren Dunes State Park is a popular destination for every season. With 3 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the 1,952-acre park is absolutely gorgeous during the winter season with the rugged dune formation standing 260 feet above the water.

The park is home to 6 miles of hiking trails. Of that, a 3-mile loop is ideal for cross-country skiing. It starts at trail marker 2 near the picnic shelter. The loop winds through a wooded area behind the dunes and past the campground area.

Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Warren Dunes State Park | photo via @scott_sko_51

Madeline Bertrand County Park

Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles is one of Berrien County’s most well-known parks and recreational areas. The park offers ski rentals during the winter months. Nestled along the St. Joe River, the cross country ski trails wind through forests filled with both oak and pine trees.

These Southern Michigan cross country ski trails are groomed and well-maintained on a regular basis. Each lighted trail allows you to ski throughout the day and until the park closes in the early evening. The County Park offers many activities to enjoy all year long.

Whether you’re biking in the summer or cross country skiing in the winter, the scenic views are breathtaking and a wonder to behold.

Along with cross country skiing, there are many other Southwest Michigan winter activities to check out!

Madeline Bertrand County Park, Niles - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Madeline Bertrand County Park | photo via @inrugco

Cross Country Skiing Near Battle Creek

Yankee Springs Recreation Area

With 5,200 acres, Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Middleville offers many forms of outdoor recreation, including Southern Michigan cross country ski trails in the winter. There are many miles of multi-use trails. In fact, you can cross-country ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile across more than 10 acres.

The snowy trails feature a wide diversity of terrain and are ideal for all ability levels, from novice to advanced skiers. Additionally, there are nine lakes within the park, which offer excellent ice fishing opportunities. It’s truly a natural winter wonderland!

Yankee Springs Recreational Area, MIddleville - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Yankee Springs Recreational Area | photo via @conniemeekhof

Fort Custer Recreation Area

Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta Michigan is a multi-purpose park with areas for many different activities. It’s quietly nestled between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, and there are trails for cross-country skiing in the winter months.

Also, the area offers cabins for rent, at least one of which is located along the Kalamazoo River. The recreation area is open all year long and has areas for skiing, sledding, and snowboarding too. All ages can find something to enjoy during the winter months.

Fort Custer Recreation Area, Augusta - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Fort Custer Recreation Area | photo via @w8in

Battle Creek Linear Park

If you’re looking for snowy trails in Battle Creek, head to the city’s Linear Park, which offers endless educational and recreational opportunities. Best of all, it has some of the best Southern Michigan cross country ski trails.

Overall, there are 26 miles of trails that are suitable for cross country skiing or just a leisure winter walk. The trails are divided into half a dozen trail loops, allowing you to test your endurance. Three of the loops are 1.0 to 1.3 miles long, and the other three are 6.6 to 10.5 miles long.

Cross Country Skiing Near Jackson Michigan

Ella Sharp Park

Ella Sharp Park is located on the banks of the Grand River in Jackson Michigan. The 562 acres include rolling hills that make it ideal for cross-country skiing.

The park contains numerous trails that allow skiers to take advantage of all the beauty nature has to offer. In addition to trails, there are multiple pavilions throughout the park. Cross country skiing and sledding areas are available during the winter months.

In the Jackson area, the park is one of the most well-known destinations for individuals who want to take part in winter activities.

Ella Sharp Park, Jackson - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Ella Sharp Park | photo via @astronomisprime_lens

Waterloo State Recreational Area

Waterloo State Recreational Area is located in Chelsea Michigan. Managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, it covers almost 21,000 acres that include wetlands, lakes, and forests.

Waterloo has six Southern Michigan cross country ski trails ranging from just under 1 mile to almost 4 miles long. All of them are ungroomed trails.

The recreation area ranks third in terms of size when it comes to parks in Michigan and offers many of the most beautiful views in the area. In Southern Michigan, it’s the largest park. The recreational area offers something for everyone at all times of the year.

Waterloo State Recreation Area, Chelsea - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Waterloo State Recreation Area | photo via @staciesheldon

Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve

Featuring an ungroomed trail during the winter, Watkins Lake State Park and Country Preserve in Brooklyn is open for cross-country skiing. The park is known for its scenic Watkins Lake and quiet serenity, and part of it is a refuge area for waterfowl.

The 5-mile multi-use trail is ideal for more than just skiing. You can also use it as a snowshoe trail. It’s easy to find the trailhead from the parking lot.

In addition to cross-country skiing, there are a lot more winter things to do in Southcentral Michigan!

Ann Arbor Cross Country Skiing

Hudson Mills Metropark

If you want excellent Southern Michigan cross country ski trails near Ann Arbor, head to Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter. It has an 8-mile-long groomed trail that’s suitable for novice to experienced skiers. The trail winds around ice-covered ponds, deciduous forests, and snow-glazed fields.

The best part is that several amenities are available at the Activity Center — rental equipment, food service, and a heated lounge. You can even pick up a trail map for help navigating the trails.

Hudson Mills Metropark, Dexter - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Hudson Mills Metropark | photo via @hayzeus89

Montibeller Park

In Ypsilanti, just outside of Ann Arbor, Montibeller Park is open all year. On the 52 acres are a range of recreational facilities, including softball fields, playgrounds, and tennis courts. During the winter, though, the ungroomed trails are open for cross-country skiing.

This hidden, peaceful park has some cute hills too. So, it’s perfect for sledding too. No matter your age, Montibeller Park is sure to please!

Rolling Hills Winter Park

Offering year-round activities, Rolling Hills Winter Park in Ypsilanti is another fantastic place to find Southern Michigan cross country ski trails. It has a half-mile cleared walking trail, as well as 3 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails.

At the 439-acre park, there are trail options for skiers of all skill levels. You can choose from a flat, short trail if you’re a novice and a varied, long trail if you’re experienced. You can warm up at The Lodge’s fireplace anytime during open hours.

If you want even more winter fun, jump onto the sledding hill. The equipment rental facility offers snow tubes, skis, poles, and boots at hourly rates.

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

Metro Detroit Cross Country Skiing

Lake Erie Metropark

Lake Erie Metropark is located in Brownstown Township just outside of Gibraltar. The park takes up approximately 3 miles of Lake Erie’s shoreline and includes almost 1,600 acres of land.

The large meadows and scenic trails make excellent paths for cross country skiing and sledding. The park has over 4 miles of ski trails that weave back and forth throughout the park.

The park is well-maintained and open throughout the year. Skiers have a panoramic view of Lake Erie as they glide along the trails.

Lake Erie Metropark, Brownstown Township - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Lake Erie Metropark | photo via @andrewdeandetroit

Independence Oaks County Park

Independence Oaks County Park is the largest park in Oakland County. With over 1,285 acres to explore, there are many seasonal activities to take part in, whether it be summer or winter.

The park offers over 12 miles of Southern Michigan cross country ski trails. Many are natural, and a few have been paved. Depending on the amount of snow at the park, ski rental may be available.

If you already have your own equipment, you can ski as long as there’s sufficient snow to make it worthwhile. During your ski adventures, you’ll enjoy a scenic view of Crooked Lake. You can rest at Twin Chimney Shelter if you want to take a break to relax or just take in nature’s beauty.

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

Huron Meadows Metropark

Huron Meadows Metropark is located in Livingston County Michigan and is one of many Metroparks that make up the Huron-Clinton system. The park includes over 1,575 acres that lie along the banks of the Huron River. The park allows for cross-country skiing and other winter activities.

With well-maintained and groomed trails, it’s an enjoyable ski experience. The park is open all year long and offers a variety of seasonal activities that are suitable for the whole family. Located within Detroit’s city limits, you have a beautiful view of the area.

Huron Meadows Metropark, Livingston County - Southern Michigan Cross-Country Ski Trails
Huron Meadows Metropark | photo via @pbarrison

There are many more cross country ski trails in Metro Detroit to explore!

Enjoy More Winter Fun in Southern Michigan

With a varied landscape of forests, farmland, rivers, lakes, and more, Southcentral Michigan and Southwest Michigan are home to all kinds of outdoor winter activities like ice skating, winter festivals, and scenic drives.

Do you enjoy downhill ski slopes too? There are several places where you can experience downhill skiing in Southern Michigan.

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