Cross-country Skiing

Winter in Minnesota brings scenic, snowy landscapes and crisp, fresh air. It’s the perfect backdrop for cross-country skiing. This recreational activity is a peaceful way to explore the parks in winter while getting a great, low-impact workout. Three Rivers features over 80 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails at various locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area, and certain parks offer rental equipment, including adapted equipment. Trails are available for skiers of all skill levels.

Upcoming Events

Ski Rennet – Signature Race

Jan. 11 & 17 | Hyland
The Twin Cities Orthopedics Ski Rennet, presented by L.L. Bean, features two days of racing on world-class trails with challenging climbs and scenic views of Hyland Lake Park Reserve. 

Trail Conditions

Trail conditions can change with the weather and some trails may close occasionally. Before you head out, check the trail conditions

Miles of trails

Baker – 9.1
Carver – 11.3
Cleary – 6 (2.8 lighted)
Crow-Hassan – 2.6
Eagle Lake – 3.6, 
Elm Creek – 11.4 (3.4 lighted, 1.8 snowmaking)
French – 5.2 (2.9 lighted)
Glen Lake – 1.5
Hyland – 9.5 (5.3 lighted, 3.3 snowmaking)
Lake Rebecca - 15.6
Murphy-Hanrehan – 9


A cross-country ski pass is required for skiers age 12 and older. Minnesota Ski Passes are not required in Three Rivers Parks.

If you already have a recreation pass card, your new season pass will be loaded onto it, allowing you to use the same card year after year. One card can hold multiple pass types. 

Two-tier Ski Pass Program

All Parks Pass

Required at Elm Creek and Hyland where snowmaking capability offers a reliable season of ski-able snow. Valid at all Three Rivers parks offering cross-country skiing.

Natural Snow Parks Pass

Valid at all Three Rivers parks offering cross-country skiing except Elm Creek and Hyland. 

Daily Passes

  • Elm Creek & Hyland: $9*; Natural Snow Parks: $6*
  • Daily passes may be purchased online, at trailhead pay boxes and at Three Rivers visitor centers and ski chalets.
  • A one-time credit of a daily ski pass can be applied to the cost of a season ski pass when purchased in person at staffed park facilities or by mail at Three Rivers Park District, 3000 Xenium Ln N, Plymouth, MN 55441.

Annual Passes

  • All Parks: $75*; Natural Snow Parks: $55*
  • Purchase online, by calling 763.559.6700, or at Park District facilities such as visitor and nature centers, ski chalets, and the Administrative Office.
  • If you already have a recreation pass card, even from a previous year, any newly purchased annual pass will be immediately added to your card.
  • If you purchase your pass online or over the phone, you will receive a confirmation receipt via email which will serve as your seven-day temporary pass. You can expect to receive your recreation pass card in the mail in about one week.
  • There is no limit to the number of additional annual passes that can be purchased in a household.
  • Annual passes may be purchased as gifts.

Pass exchanges and upgrades can be handled in person at the parks or at the Administrative Center.

Replacement Passes

Recreation pass cards can be replaced if lost or damaged for a $5* fee. Call 763.559.6700 to request a replacement card.

*Sales tax not included.

At Three Rivers, we believe everyone belongs in the parks. The Recreation Pass Plus includes free equipment rentals and recreation passes, and discounts on programs and events. It is available for families and individuals who are experiencing financial difficulty and live in Hennepin County. 

Two women smiling and holding cross-country ski poles.

Ski Rentals

Ski rentals are available at several parks. View regular rental rates

Ski after 6 PM any day of the week and receive a discount on your rentals at certain parks! Bring a friend to Cleary, Elm Creek, French or Hyland and take advantage of 50 percent off cross-country ski rental sets.

Ski Lessons

four men with ski poles smiling at cameraPublic Lessons

Three Rivers offers cross-country ski lessons for adults and children, including adapted sit-ski lessons. Lessons will help you glide into action on the trails this winter. Sign up beginning Oct. 31. 

Private Lessons

Looking for more personalized instruction or a fun group activity? Arrange a private or group lesson at your skill level at a Three Rivers park. Choose between classic or skate techniques. Discounted rates are available for groups and packages of four lessons. Lessons are typically 1.5 hours, but 1-hour lessons are available. Call 763.694.7718 or send us an email


$65/one-on-one private lesson
$80/group of two
$90/group of three
Group rate: $6.50/person, $100 minimum (one instructor per 10 people)

Ski clubs are a great way to meet others with a passion for cross-country skiing. Registration opens Oct. 30.

Programs and Events

See all cross-country skiing programs and events

Three Rivers works to ensure the accessibility of our parks and trails for all people. Cross-country sit-skis are available for use at several locations.

Get great benefits, including a free season pass, competitive wages, a fast-paced environment, flexible hours and more. Check out all employment opportunities and apply today!

Related Blog Posts

January 07, 2019

A changing climate has changed our relationship to snow. Unreliable snow cover means an unreliable Nordic ski season. As a way to adapt, Three Rivers has turned to snowmaking. Learn more about the process of snowmaking and how it has helped sustain cross-country skiing in the Twin Cities metro area.

December 31, 2018

It's that time of year: time for New Year's resolutions. Start off 2019 feeling fit and free with 11 ways to stay active year-round.

December 17, 2018

Why should we be outside in the winter? Learn the benefits of getting outdoors and how to be outside comfortably in the cold, and find inspiration for embracing winter this season.

Other things to do



Children waiting at the top of the tubing hill

If you like sledding, you’ll love snow tubing at the Winter Recreation Area at Elm Creek. Ride a moving sidewalk up a hill 10 stories high and then soar back down on a specially designed inner tube. Once you get to the bottom, do it all over again. 

Skijoring and Dog Sledding

Skijoring & Dog Sledding

Women on skis with dog pulling

If you have a dog with some pent-up winter energy, bring it to Three Rivers Parks for fun exercise where we have designated trails for skijoring and dog sledding.

Downhill Ski Area

Downhill and Telemark Skiing

Skier mule kicking in the air

Hyland Hills Ski Area and the Winter Recreation Area at Elm Creek offer downhill ski areas for all skill levels, from training hills to Olympic-level training jumps. The downhill ski areas feature snowmaking and well-groomed hills for unbeatable winter fun.



four people snowshoeing on a sunny day.

Three Rivers offers trails of varying difficulty for snowshoers of all skill levels. It’s a great way for the entire family to take in the scenes of a Minnesota winter.



a green sign that says hiking trail pointing toward a trail.

One of the best ways to explore year-round is to head out for a hike on the extensive trail system in Three Rivers. Trails wind through the woodland, grassland and wetland habitats of many species of wildlife. You’ll be amazed at what you might see along the way.

Bike Trail


A gives a thumbs up as he bikes over a concrete bridge.

Biking in Three Rivers is a great way to get the whole family outside. Whether you’re the casual rider or a cyclist in training, you’ll appreciate more than 240 miles of off-roadway bike/hike trails that wind through woodlands and grasslands and rim the shorelines of lakes and ponds at our parks.