If you’re wondering how to increase the time you spend outdoors during the winter months, cross country skiing is a fun way to experience nature while also sneaking in a good workout.
Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
The Laramie area has a variety of trails to suit every free-heel skier, from slick skate ski loops to classic nordic trails and endless untracked powder for adventurous telemark enthusiasts. With the backdrop of the Snowy Range and careful consistent grooming, ski touring is a delight in the Laramie area. Come experience a true Wyoming winter wilderness!
The Medicine Bow Nordic Association (MBNA) is a non-profit group responsible for grooming and maintaining most of the trails in the Medicine Bow National Forest. The group also maintains a blog which provides the most current information about trail conditions. The MBNA does not charge for use of the trails and grooming is funded by annual membership fees and donations. Consider joining to show your support and enthusiasm for Nordic skiing! Membership fees are $35 a year and donations of any amount are gladly accepted.
Our Top 5 Cross Country Trails
1. Summit Loop
The Tie City Trailhead is a major hub for both skate and classic nordic skiers. Just a fifteen minute drive from Laramie, this trailhead is one of the most popular places to cross-country ski in the area. The Summit Loop is furthest out so it gets less use than other trails. The trail climbs steadily at first, topping out at 9,000 feet with fantastic views well worth the effort. Completing the loop allows you to enjoy sliding and gliding down all that elevation you earned. To get to the Tie City Trailhead, take Exit 323 off of I-80 and head north on Happy Jack Road for about a mile. The National Forest charges $5 a day for parking.
Map | Grooming Report
2. Meadow, Ridge, and Alder Trails
The Meadow, Ridge, and Alder Trails are all accessed from the Tie City Trailhead. They can be combined to make a relaxing loop. Much of the surrounding ski terrain features rolling hills and occasional steep sections, but these trails are relatively flat, making for a great ski for beginners. Advanced skiers may enjoy the fast ride and cardio work out, or extend the loop to include Phil’s Pholly or the slightly more challenging Blackjack Loop. The National Forest charges $5 a day for parking.
Map | Grooming Report
3. Chimney Park Trails
Located about a forty-five minute drive southeast of Laramie, the Chimney Park Trail system provides about fifteen miles of groomed pleasure for the classic Nordic enthusiast. The longer drive means these trails are less frequently visited; you may have the place all to yourself. This makes for a wild Wyoming experience and memories that will last a lifetime! The quiet observant visitor may be lucky enough to see moose, elk, and other wildlife en route. The National Forest charges $5 a day for parking.
4. Barber Lake Trail
The Barber Lake Trail starts where the snowplows stop, at the Green Rock Picnic Area on scenic Highway 130, high in the Snowy Range. Most locals leave a car at either end so they can enjoy the 4.5 miles of downhill cruising without the strenuous return trip. The trail is quite narrow and only groomed for classic Nordic skiing. It shares a trailhead with the Libby Creek Trail, but splits after about a quarter of a mile to begin the exciting downhill ride. The National Forest charges $5 a day for parking.
5. Libby Creek Trail
The Libby Creek Trail also begins where the snowplows stop, at the Green Rock Picnic Area. One of the least visited trails in the area, Libby Creek provides a true wilderness experience for Nordic skiers who want to getaway from the crowds. The trail begins with a steep climb to a ridge before descending to Libby Creek and Libby Falls. From there skiers can climb out of the canyon or hook up with the Barber Lake trail for an exciting downhill run. An intense route, recommended for intermediate and advanced skiers, this six mile loop offers sweeping vistas of the Snowy Range and the Laramie Valley. The National Forest charges $5 a day for parking.