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Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing in Madison Parks

Madison Parks provides designated and groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Three (3) are free-to-use and three (3) require a daily or annual cross-country ski permit. 

  • PERMIT REQUIRED LOCATIONS: Door Creek, Elver and Odana Hills Golf Course.
    • Groomed several times per week, and as conditions allow
    • A daily or annual Ski Permit is required for anyone aged 16 years or older and may be PURCHASED ONLINE
  • FREE-TO-USE: Cherokee Marsh Conservation - South, Owen, and Turville Point.
    • Groomed weekly, and as conditions allow. 
    • Due to years of poor snow quality and ground conditions, Yahara Hills is no longer a designated and groomed ski trail location. 
    • OPEN = trail is snow-covered, skiable with the most recent grooming date posted. 
    • CLOSED = skiing is not advised or permitted
    • See Madison Nordic Ski Club for trail conditions posted by volunteers and trail users.
  • LOANER SKIS: *NEW* LOANER SKIS available at Door Creek and Odana Hills! Borrow a pair to try out skiing while at the park. Instructions onsite. A ski permit is required. 
  • EVENTS & GROUP PARTIES: Attend a winter event open to the community or reserve a winter recreation party for your group. All winter activities depend on the weather and conditions and are subject to change.
  • RESTROOMS: See the webpage for open locations. 
  • DOGS: Dogs are NOT allowed on designated cross-country ski trails. 
  • HIKING/SNOWSHOEING: Do not walk on a designated cross-country ski trail. Hiking or snowshoeing is allowed ANYWHERE except on cross-country ski trails and off-trail in a conservation park. See SNOWSHOEING for suggested locations. When in doubt, don't. 
Classic skis with boots and poles are available to rent from Elver and Odana Hills* and include a daily cross-country ski permit. *Before you head out, be sure to check the status of each location. Rental days are only when a location is listed as open. Please click location to see if listed as open. If a location is closed for winter recreation, rentals are not available.  

2024 Fees 

Daily $8
Annual $30
Annual Senior (65+) & Disabled $15
Annual Military/Veteran  $15
Replacement $15

  • 2024 permit is valid from the time of purchase through December 31, 2024. 
  • 2025 permit is available for purchase starting Nov. 1, 2024. 
  • The permit is also valid for Dane County Parks trails. 


The type of trail grooming performed depends on a few things to make the most of both long and short-term skiing opportunities. The amount and type of snow and the ground condition at the time of the snow event play a part in the grooming equation.

Did you know Parks staff is responsible for priority snow removal areas? These priority areas are roads, more than 400 bus stops, bike trails, sidewalks, and parking lots. We always appreciate your patience and understanding as safety will always come before fun.  

  • Ski trails typically open after the first snowfall over 4" depending on the type of snow and trail conditions.
  • Fee-based trails are groomed more frequently, as conditions allow and for both skate and classic skiing.
  • Free-to-use ski trails are tracked or roll-groomed for classic cross-country skiing. 
  • We may not be able to groom or we may close a trail to preserve the trail condition. The website is updated as soon as information from the field is available.
  • Permit fees are non-refundable.
  • You may also visit Madison Nordic Ski Club for trail conditions posted by volunteers and trail users.

  • Follow directional arrows. Some trails are marked for one-way use
  • Trails are rated for difficulty at the trailhead
  • Skiers stay on groomed trails only
  • No dogs, horses, snowboards, motor vehicles, hiking or snowshoeing on groomed trails
  • Slower skiers please stay to the right