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.
Where to cross-country ski
Trail conditions can change with the weather and some trails may close occasionally. Before you head out, check the trail conditions.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 during office hours (see below) or send us an email.
Office Hours for Scheduling Private Lessons:
Dec. 2–March 6 (Holiday Hours Below)
- Mondays: 10 AM–4 PM
- Wednesdays: 4–7 PM
- Thursdays: 10 AM–4:30 PM
- Fridays: 10 AM–2 PM
Holiday Hours (Dec. 22–Jan. 2)
- Monday, Dec. 23: 10 AM–4 PM
- Tuesday, Dec. 24: Closed
- Wednesday, Dec. 25: Closed
- Thursday, Dec. 26: 10 AM–4:30 PM
- Monday, Dec. 30: 10 AM–4 PM
- Tuesday, Dec. 31: Closed
- Wednesday, Jan. 1: Closed
- Thursday, Jan. 2: 10 AM–4:30 PM
- Friday, Jan. 3: 10 AM–2 PM
Requests for private lessons should be received and paid for 48 hours prior to the lesson date and time.
$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)
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.
Programs and Events
See all cross-country skiing programs and events.
Related Blog Posts
By: Three Rivers Staff
We're in for a lot of snow this weekend, which means it's time to hit the ski trails! Read on to find our favorite beginner, intermediate, advanced and long-distance (5-10K) cross-country ski trails in Three Rivers.
By: Jenifer Garcia
Here in Minnesota, we try our best to make winters bearable. Hygge may be a way for some of you to crack the code on creating a fun and even merry season despite the arctic temperatures. Read on to learn what hygge is and get ideas on how to start incorporating it into your life.
By: Erin Korsmo
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.
Other things to do
Skijoring & Dog Sledding
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.
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.