Cross-country Skiing

Cross-Country skiing in the Ironwood area

Ironwood is a premier cross-country skiing destination. It was ranked in the top nine cross-country ski destinations in the world by Trips to Discover, along with destinations like Lake Tahoe and Big Sky, Montana. Ski here and you’ll see why. There are hundreds of miles of cross-country ski trails in and around Ironwood and the area receives ample amounts of snow every winter, thanks to its location in the Lake Superior snow belt. The ski trails offer something for every type of skier, from people who have never strapped on skis before to professionals training for the big race. Here’s a quick guide to exploring the area’s trail systems.


You’ll find plenty of places to base your ski adventure. Ironwood’s nine hotels are clean, comfortable and convenient—they are surrounded by six cross-country ski trail systems. See the hotel locations on this map and learn more about Ironwood lodging here.

Active Backwoods Retreat (ABR) Ski Trails

Distance from Ironwood: 3 miles

When you ski the ABR trails, you’ll see why USA Today called ABR the #4 cross-country ski resort in the country. This expansive trail system has varied terrain that offers something for everyone, from beginners to ski racers. The trail system is located in a 1,100-acre area along the scenic Montreal River, just south of Ironwood. There are more than 78km of cross-country ski trails and 10km of snowshoe trails, with including numerous hills and elevation gains of 100-130 feet, offering skiers some rolling challenges.

This full-service resort offers more than just top-notch trails. An on-site ski shop offers high quality rentals and ski services, and cross-country ski lessons can be arranged. Adult trail passes are $14; there are reduced rates for kids and seniors. See rate details here. Skiers can warm up at the heated warming cabin with light concessions, indoor restrooms and a large, heated wax area. The resort also rents saunas and has lodging options, including rental homes and rustic cabins.

ABR trails typically open for the season by mid-November, depending on snow conditions. The trails open each day at 9am and close at dark. Download a trail map here.

Wolverine Nordic Trails

Distance from Ironwood: 2 miles

Just north of Ironwood, you’ll find a beautiful system of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and trail running. The Wolverine Nordic Trails have 24km of cross-country ski trails, including several loops for skate and classic skiing. There are also 14km of marked snowshoe trails and 7km of fat biking trails.

Wolverine’s warming chalet offers a view of a historic wooden ski jump that was part of the club’s original activities. Cookies and hot chocolate are available in the chalet, which is open from 8am to 6pm during the ski season.

You can access the trails via two trailheads. One is located at 5851 Sunset Road; the other is behind Aspirus Ironwood Hospital, N10561 Grandview Lane. See a Wolverine ski and snowshoe map here.

Miners Memorial Heritage Park-MMHP

Distance from Ironwood: 0 miles

You can ski through Ironwood’s mining history right in the heart of Ironwood: Miners Memorial Heritage Park has trails for running, walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The park is developing a new system of mountain bike trails, scheduled to open in 2021. The 167-acre park is dedicated to the people who worked and died in the mines of the region and the park has various mining remnants and historical displays, including details of the Pabst Mine disaster of 1926, a mine collapse that killed three miners and trapped 40 others.

See a Miners Trail Map here.

Mecca Ski Trails

Distance from Ironwood: 25 miles    

South of Ironwood, you can ski through terrain sculpted by glaciers on the Mecca Trails. Located in the Iron County Forest near Mercer, WI, the Mecca Trails include 21km of groomed cross-country ski trails that are tracked for classic skiers, alongside a groomed skate skiing path. Various loops accommodate skiers of all levels. The trails are located in a hemlock and pine forest and offer scenic views of the Little Turtle Wildlife Area. The trailhead has a heated log cabin with changing room and toilet.

See a Mecca Ski Map here.

Montreal Ski Trails

Distance from Ironwood: 4 miles

A rolling system of cross-country ski trails can be found just south of Ironwood in the Iron County Forest. The Montreal Ski Trail system includes nearly 9km of trails that loop through Montreal’s historic mining district. Access trailheads at Rose Wreath on Hwy 77 and Spring Camp Rd. on the west side of Montreal. See a map of the Montreal Ski Trails here.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Distance from Ironwood: 26 miles                         

A pristine 60,000-wilderness area is located a short drive from Ironwood. The Porcupine Mountains rise dramatically near the shore of Lake Superior, offering some memorable cross-country skiing views. Groomed trails can be found at the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area, an area for downhill skiing that’s located within the park. The area has over 30km of maintained trails and the state park has an additional 90 miles of trails that are not groomed but are open to backcountry explorers.

See a Porcupine Mountains cross-country ski trail map here.

Uller Trails

Distance from Ironwood: 6 miles

A rewarding backcountry skiing experience can be found a short drive from Ironwood in the Iron County Forest. The Uller Trails are challenging—the system is not recommended for beginners. It includes 11 miles of cross-country trails that take skiers through remote, rolling and hilly terrain. Hikers and snowshoers are welcome on the trails but are asked to please stay off the groomed trail.

A parking lot is available in Iron Belt on North Road and at Weber Lake. Road parking is located at the system’s Hoyt and Lagoon trailheads. The parking locations are detailed on an Uller Ski Trail map here.


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