Cook County MN has the largest network of largest cross country trails in North America with 400KM of pristinely groomed ski trails. Find the complete cross country ski trail conditions report here and updated weekly once the season begins.
Pincushion Mountain - Grand Marais
Current Trail Conditions: Jan 13, 2022: All trails except Pincushion Loop groomed, skate decks widened. Grooming plans: Grooming will continue tomorrow to get all trails ready for a busy weekend. Snow is perfect right now. (Timothy Lederle, North Superior Ski & Run Club)
Firsthand Trail Reports(skinnyski.com): Jan. 16, 2022: Beautiful freshly falling snow during our ski today. Skate skiing was a bit tough with the fresh 2-3” of snow, but the classic tracks were well skied in. I’d recommend classic if you have the choice until a fresh groom! (Ellie Sin)
Firsthand Trail Reports(skinnyski.com): Jan. 15, 2022: Classic skied late morning/early afternoon and the tracks were perfect and freshly set. Lots of snow everywhere and once you got away from the trailhead area, there were virtually no people. Enjoy these beautiful, well groomed trails. (Tony Pellegrini)
Firsthand Trail Reports(skinnyski.com): Jan. 15, 2022: I skied Pincushion Mtn Loop (freshly groomed when I skied), then North Advanced to M and O thru Canyon Curves Loop, Upper and Lower Snowman and West OverLoop. All had a deep firm trackset. I seemed to glide forever on the long gradual downhills but not out of control. (Steve Langenbrunner)
The Pincushion Mountain Trail System is a 25 kilometer silent sport trail system perched high above Lake Superior, 2 miles north of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Because of its varied terrain, excellent trail design and spectacular vistas of Lake Superior and Devil Track River canyon, this trail system is enjoyed by thousands annually for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running and mountain biking. With annual average snowfall of 110", Warming Chalet, Pisten Bully grooming for classic and skate skiing, Pincushion Mountain is a great Nordic skiing destination! More Information at www:pincushiontrails.org/
*Note that the only ski trail where dogs are allowed is the East Overlook Trail. Dogs are also allowed on the Superior Hiking Trail section which can be snowshoed or hiked out to the Pincushion Overlook and back.
Ski Pass Required:Minnesota Ski Pass required. More information on the pass and a link to purchase on-line is located at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/skipass/index.html
George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail - Gunflint Trail
Current Trail Conditions: From the USFS, Jan. 10, 2022: George Washington Pines was groomed this morning at 9:30. Temperature was -14 F but a few hearty skiers were out and ready to hit the trail right after we got done. Get out and enjoy the skiing and the warmer weather that's on the way. Just a friendly reminder to folks.... if you could avoid parking in front of the trail entrance our groomers would appreciate it. Thanks and enjoy! The trail should be in good shape for the warmer weather coming in the next few days. Thanks in advance for your mindful stewardship. Please remember to pick up after your dogs, and keep track of your mittens. Enjoy!
George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail is a relatively short 3.3 km trail located fairly close to Grand Marais, only 6 miles up the Gunflint Trail. It passes through a beautiful grove of pines, the George Washington Memorial Pine Plantation. The plantation was established when 13 boys from the Grand Marais Boy Scout Troop #67 planted 32 acres of land with 14,570 Norway Pine and 7,500 White Pine in 1932 after a 1927 fire. More recently, in the summer of 2010, some of the understory was cleared to reduce hazardous fuels and create a better wildfire situation. The trail is shared between cross country skiers, snowshoers, and people using dogs for skijoring. People also might be simply hiking or walking their dog on the trail. Please respect other users by not fouling groomed ski tracks and by alerting dog users of your presence so as not to spook dogs by rapidly passing them on skis. Encourage your dog to use off trail areas for potty stops, but if the trail is used, pick up any dog droppings, and try to repair tracks melted out by dog piles. This is an easy trail, suitable for beginning skiers or for people looking for an easy access quick ski close to town. Dog owners need to clean-up after their pets.
Mushing/Skijoring: While traditional dogsleds do not work well on the short George Washington Pines Trail, it is open for skijoring where a harnessed dog pulls a person on cross country skis. Help to make the mix of activities on this trail work together. If you are skijoring, please remove all dog droppings from the trail and repair holes melted in the trail from dog leavings. If you are skiing, alert skijorers to your presence to avoid spooking dogs. Regardless of what you are participating in, if you find dog leavings or other litter left by careless other people, do your part and clean it up.
Skiing/Snowshoeing: Both skiers and snowshoers are welcome on the George Washington Pines Trail. The trail is groomed for classic skiing on one side and snowshoeing or skate skiing on the other. Please respect other users by not snowshoeing on groomed ski tracks.
No Ski Pass required to use the trail system at George Washington Pines.
Bally Creek Ski System - Grand Marais
Current Trail Conditions: Not provided by groomer.
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) Jan. 12, 2022: No groomed trails this late afternoon/early evening. Parking lot plowed though. Hoping grooming happens soon! (Yvonne Mills)
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) Jan. 11, 2022: No trails groomed. Several people broke trail on some trails. Grooming has been very sporadic this season. (Yvonne Mills)
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) Jan. 2, 2022: Great snow in all the north land, and looked like the groomer had been out in the morning. Full parking lot but didn't see many people out on the trails. This report is from my mother while we skied Sugarbush. (Dan Petters)
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) Dec. 31, 2021: Heavy on the beauty and light on the grooming was the story of Bally Creek, at least until mid afternoon. Some of the heaviest snow I've seen in the trees in Minnesota currently. Sundling into the Skijor loop had been groomed in the not too distant past and was well skied in, so kudos to those who were willing to break a trail as nothing else was skiable with anything but backcountry skis due to the half foot or so of new snow that was yet to be groomed on top of the previous hard pack. When I got finished around 2:00pm, the groomers were just starting to work on the trails so hopefully tomorrow there will be some nice firm tracks. (Cody Scott)
Bally Creek Trail System is a multiple short loop cross country ski trail system with several access points. The main access is a parking area off of FR 158 just short of Bear Track Camp. Depending on snow conditions and grooming, access is also off Cook County 45 and as a branch off of the Cascade River Ski Trails. Heavy snows will limit grooming some trails; travel on ungroomed trails is not recommended. This system is 25.0 km trackset. 11.0 km skate-ski. All skill level trails. Part of a 196 km ski-through network along the North Shore. Variety of cedar swamp, balsam and pine forest. Meanders along wildlife pond. Ski 17.6km from Bally Creek to Cascade State Park. Maps along trail.
Directions: The main access is from the south. Get on County 7 either from Grand Marais or from MN61 south of Grand Marais. Take County 48 a very short distance to FR 18 Bally Creek Road. Take FR 158 to the large parking lot on the left side of the road, just short of the rental cabins. The small parking area with the arch over the trail is for cabin users only; if you find yourself there, please turn around and park in the main lot.
Ski Pass Required: Minnesota Ski Pass required. More information on the pass and a link to purchase on-line is located at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/skipass/index.html
More information at Bally Creek Ski Trail System.