Go Cross-Country Skiing at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis

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Cross-country skiing at Theodore Wirth Park / Waqar Ahmad

Go Cross-Country Skiing at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis

By Rachel Yang

When winter rolls around, snow sports are one of my favorite cures for cabin fever. And because I live in Minneapolis, I don’t have to look far to find my winter wonderland.

With 20 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails to explore, Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park offers a breath of icy-fresh air for competitive and recreational skiers alike, all winter long.

Two skiers with Minneapolis skyline in the background

You don't have to leave Minneapolis to find world-class skiing

A Winter Wonderland Just Outside Downtown Minneapolis

Just north of downtown Minneapolis, Wirth is the Twin Cities’ cross-country skiing hub. During the winter months, the park’s lush golf course transforms into an expansive blanket of ski-ready snow, featuring rolling hills, tranquil meadows and charming views of the Minneapolis skyline.

When I’m looking for a tough uphill workout, I hit the Ridgeline and 18 trails on the north side of the park; when I’m just trying to get out of the house for a snowglobe-esque experience, I stick to the flatter Green Meadow Loop or JD Rivers Trail.

Get Rentals, Passes & Food at The Trailhead

Skis and poles are available for rent at The Trailhead, the park’s entry point for all things winter sports. This is also where you can purchase a day or season pass, which you’ll need to ski any Minneapolis trails. First-timer? Sign up for a ski lesson; The Trailhead offers them for adults and kids. When you're done skiing, refuel and relax with food and drinks at The Trailhead's in-house restaurant, Mill Valley Market.

A family cross-country skiing in winter in Northeast Minnesota

A family cross-country skiing in Northeast Minnesota

More Cross-Country Skiing in Minnesota

From remote wilderness trails to trails with views of the city skyline, there is no shortage of options for cross-country skiers

For a true Up North experience, venture north to ski the Gunflint Trail. This 400-km network of groomed trails cuts through the stark beauty of the Superior National Forest and is considered one of the state’s best cross-country destinations. Adventurous skiers might enjoy roving off-trail to explore the Boundary Waters, or even mapping a multi-day excursion to ski the trail from end-to-end.

Just north of Detroit Lakes, Maplelag Resort is Minnesota’s premier cross-country skiing resort, with nearly 70 km of trails on the property. 

In southeast Minnesota, the 30-mile Root River State Trail system offers gorgeous and relatively easy skiing on a former railroad route beneath dramatic, limestone bluffs. The trail passes through nine small towns on its journey through Minnesota’s Bluff Country, including the state’s charming bed-and-breakfast capital, Lanesboro.  

Rachel Yang

Rachel Yang is a writer and audio producer based in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter: @rachelayang.