Adirondack Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing

Groomed and fresh snow trails in the Adirondacks

Cross-country ski trails in the Adirondacks

Move swiftly and silently through snow-covered forests in the Adirondacks and discover the solitude and quiet beauty of a winter landscape that's like no other. Our cross-country ski trails traverse mountain ridges, follow lake shores, snake through valleys and merge with the tracks of deer, fox and the occasional moose.

In winter, Adirondack backcountry hiking trails are transformed into the perfect cross-country ski destinations, traveling through some of the most unspoiled landscape in the northeast. Enjoy a variety of cross-country skiing opportunities — from groomed trails at ski touring centers to the exhilarating descents found in the backcountry.

Cross-country skiing is the perfect introductory sport to a winter backcountry adventure with the relaxation of a Sunday afternoon or the challenge of an Adirondack peak. It's your choice, and there is something here for everyone. If you are a beginner and need a lesson, try out some of our ski centers.

Nordic Ski Centers

Our Nordic centers are a great way to learn a new sport on groomed trails and with a professional at your side. Lapland Lake Nordic Center in Benson, right in the southern corner of Hamilton County, has a 50 km private trail network designed by a former Olympic cross-country skier. Any level of skier can enjoy classic or skate skiing on the center's 38 km of machine-groomed trails. The remaining 12 km are ungroomed trails for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing.

As you get more comfortable, move over to Fern Park Recreation Area in Inlet for more groomed backcountry options. With 20 miles of designated trails for all abilities, enjoy some of the 14 miles of meticulously groomed trails, then test your backcountry skills as you move on to the 6 miles of ungroomed single-track trails.

Beginner Trails

These trails will give you the feel of being in the backcountry as you kick and glide along narrower routes to some of the most rewarding features of the county. A short ski back to Kunjamuk Cave in Speculator along an old woods road is a great place to start. Then a nice visit to John Pond in Indian Lake might be in order. If you find these trails a bit too easy, head on over to some of our intermediate trails.

Intermediate Trails

Our intermediate trails will get your heart pumping and the muscles working. An intermediate trail is slightly longer and incorporates some of our rolling hills into the day's adventure. A nice ski along the Sucker Brook Trail or the Rock River Trail in Indian Lake might be just what the doctor ordered. These longer trails will give you an extended outing in the woods with some fun descents and short, trying climbs to get you some experience. If you feel up to the challenge, try out some of our advanced trails.

Advanced Trails

An advanced trail is one where hills are a dime a dozen and some are very long and difficult. Many backcountry skiers will seek out these trails, but in some cases they can be much more than what was anticipated. The key is to have fun and be safe. While this region of the Adirondacks doesn't have numerous advanced-level trails, some have sections of challenging terrain. An advanced trail might be a trail whose distance is much longer than others and would require an extra long day in the woods to reach the designated area, such as the Northville/Placid Trail.

Approach Skiing

Above and beyond the advanced trails are those that are not recommended for just skiing. Approach skiing is the combination of skiing and snowshoeing. Carry your snowshoes on your pack and ski to the base of the mountain, or to as far as you feel comfortable, then put on your snowshoes to finish the adventure. Mountains are the prime candidate for approach skiing. For example Snowy Mountain, Wakley Mountain and Owl's Head Mountain are far too dangerous to ski as a whole, but the initial trail can be skied right up to the point where it becomes way too steep for safe travel on skis.

What to know when cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks

It is true that all hiking trails are open for cross-country skiing, but it is important to know which ones are best for you and your skill level. Some trails get less snow cover due to the canopy coverage and forest type. Other trails are way too difficult and dangerous for the average skier. However, many are just the ticket and perfect for beginner skiers all the way to advanced Nordic enthusiasts. There are trails that tend to get much less attention than others and may have unconsolidated snow, requiring the visitor to break-trail for an extended period of time. This makes it challenging and tiring, which are both part of the enjoyment of being in the great outdoors. It's important to have all of the gear you need for your trip and some extra gear just in case. Always play on the side of caution. Winter is fun, but winter can also be a dangerous time of year.

While backcountry skiing keep in mind that some key roads are closed in the winter. Portions of Cedar River Road are closed and transformed into a snowmobile trail, Moose River Road is closed from the Indian Lake and Inlet sides and Perkins Clearing Road is closed from December to May. These roads access many trails and in winter make them inaccessible without an extended approach. Preparedness in mind, cross-country skiing is an excellent way to approach trails with much less effort that snowshoeing.

Cross-country ski gear

Here in the Adirondacks we  want you to have the appropriate gear to do the job. If you need something like cross-country skis, Nordic poles, or a winter jacket, warm hat, gloves, hand warmers, and/or a good pair of ski boots (and don't forget your map and guide book), there are outdoor gear shops with all the stuff you need, even rentals.

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.

Leave No Trace 7 Principles

50K private trail system including 38K of XC...
139 Lapland Lake Rd
Benson
12134
Catlin Bay is a simple 1.1 mile hike along...
Tarbell Hill Road
Long Lake
12847
This is the big one. When it was created by...
Waterfront Park
Northville
12134
Hiking This trail is part of a much longer...
North Point Road
Long Lake
12847
Hiking Wilson Pond is one of those hidden...
Route 28
Blue Mountain Lake
12812
Lake Lila is located in the William C....
Lake Lila Access Road
Long Lake
12847
Hiking From the trail register continue up...
Green Lake Road
Piseco
12139
Hiking Tirrell Pond Trail extends 3.0 miles...
3464 State Route 28
Blue Mountain Lake
12812
The Rock River Trail is a 3-mile trail...
7965-7940 NY-28
Indian Lake
12842
This easy trail is excellent for all hiking...
Big Brook Road
Indian Lake
12842
Fern Park is a free, four-season, town of...
Loomis Road
Inlet
13360
The Old Dam Nature Trail loop, located near...
Limekiln Lake Road
Inlet
13360
Hiking Sargent Ponds are located in the...
North Point Road
Raquette Lake
13436
Hiking Moss Lake is a wonderful spot and a...
Big Moose Road
Inlet
13360
The trail around Moss Lake traverses and also...
327 Big Moose Rd
Inlet
13360
Hiking and Nature Walk This short and easy...
State Route 8/30
Indian Lake
12842
Hiking An 8.8 mile hike, easy to moderate....
Lake Lisa Access Road
Long Lake
12847
This is a very short trail to two small...
Inlet
13360
Hiking This historic hike into Cedar Lakes is...
Cedar River Road
Arietta
‎12139
The outlet on the far end of the loop houses...
Big Moose Road
Inlet
13360
The trail In a counterclockwise direction:...
Sagamore Road
Raquette Lake
13436
From Kings Flow parking; head out to the...
Indian Lake
12842
Hiking This is an easy Adirondack trail...
901C Sabattis Rd
Long Lake
12847
Chain Lakes Road South allows access to a...
Chain Lakes Road South
Indian Lake
12842
This loop goes through the Lake Eaton...
HC01 Route 30
Long Lake
12847
This little used trail is the perfect spot to...
Rondaxe Road
Inlet
13360
The road has gentle hills and quickly...
Route 421
Long Lake
12847
Hiking This trail is part of a much longer...
North Point Road
Long Lake
12847
Off South Shore Road in Lake Pleasant, a...
Speculator
12164
This interesting hike in the Raquette Lake...
Raquette Lake
13436
Cascade and Stephens ponds are two beautiful...
Blue Mountain Lake
12812
The trail to Sis and Bubb lakes is very...
Inlet
13360
Hiking This relatively easy walk passes...
Route 30
Wells
12190
The trail starts out following the course of...
John Pond is a worthy destination in the...
Indian Lake
12842
8.0 mile hike one way, easy Adirondack hike....
Indian Lake
12842
Known as the Great Eight Lakes, this trail is...
Big Moose Road
Inlet
13360
The trail to Third Lake Creek is a seldom-...
South Shore Road
Inlet
13360
The Nature Trail at the Hamilton County...
Lake Pleasant
12108
This trail is located in the Great Eight...
Big Moose Road
Eagle Bay
13331
Easy 3 mile hike. This is a mostly level walk...
Arietta
‎12139

Fawn Lake

Parkhurst Road
Inlet
13360
(518) 548-3076

E-Newsletter Signup