Utah offers a variety of scenic backdrops for incredible cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at ski resorts, state parks, national forests and private lands.
Cross-Country Skiing Utah
There are many ways to experience The Greatest Snow on Earth® beyond the dreamy downhill of our 15 ski resorts. Utah's famous snow is equally ideal for serene, moonlit cross-country ski tours as it is for more strenuous cardio workouts. Utah's well-organized cross-country skiing community means plenty of groomed trails on and off the resorts. You can also explore deeper into Utah's extensive backcountry.
Utah has hundreds of roads and trails perfect for exhilarating cross-country skiing journeys. There are mountaintop routes, tracks through snow-dusted red rock, historic trails ... even numerous snowed-in golf courses and state parks get into the act. Below you'll find a combination of groomed trails popular for families and multiple skill levels and access to trailheads that lead into the backcountry. Always check current conditions before venturing in the backcountry and learn more about backcountry safety below.
The Utah Nordic Alliance promotes cross-country skiing in the Salt Lake City area, including the popular Mountain Dell ski area and upper stretch of Mill Creek Canyon. Similarly, the nonprofit Nordic United works with the forest service, state and local government to identify and groom trails in Northern Utah, near Logan, that are free to use. Both organizations promote the ease of access to Utah's greattrailheads as well as the health benefits and tranquility of Nordic skiing. The Utah Nordic Alliance suggests Wild Rose Sports, Wasatch Touring, REI, Kirkhams and White Pine Touring for rentals and to visit organized Nordic centers below for lessons.
Pictured at left, Snowbasin Resort, in Huntsville, (801) 620-1000, has a Nordic skiing area with 26 km of groomed cross-country and snowshoeing trails. Image courtesy Snowbasin.
North Fork Park, just north of the town of Liberty, (801) 399-8491 has 20 km of trails that are groomed six times per week. The South Gate trailhead's Ogden Nordic Center offers warm drinks, maps, gear and friendly conversation Thursday through Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm.
In 2002, Soldier Hollow was the Nordic skiing venue for the Olympic Winter Games. Now you can experience this world-class biathlon course for yourself with 16 miles of groomed cross-country trails at your feet. Contact Soldier Hollow at (435) 654-2002, or online at www.soldierhollow.com. Also check out the adjacent Wasatch Mountain State Park.
The Homestead Cross-Country Ski Centerin Midway near Park City, has 12 km of onsite groomed trails, lessons and rentals and accesses more than 100 miles of groomed trails and open powder. Warm up in the steaming 96-degree waters of Homestead Crater. (435) 654-1102, 800-327-7220
Solitude Nordic Center, Big Cottonwood Canyon, near Salt Lake City, (801) 536-5774, 800-748-4SKI, 20 km of groomed trails, lessons, rentals, and tours offered. Ski or snowshoe to Solitude's cozy Yurt for a five-course meal prepared before your eyes. Reservations at 801-536-5709 or email@example.com.
Check out the classic or skate skiing on Alta's 5-km groomed track. Accessible mid-mountain via Sunnyside lift with a Nordic Pass or Track Ticket, (801) 359-1078.
The Viking Yurtat Park City Mountain Resortbrings Norwegian hospitality to the Rocky Mountains, and while the Yurt concept might traditionally be accessed on skis or a hearty snowshoe climb, this four-hour dinner event includes a snow-cat-pulled sleigh ride up the hill. (435) 615-YURT.
Sundance Nordic Centerat Sundance Resort is accessed through Provo Canyon, between Provo and Heber and offers incredible access to a pristine back country experience as well as immaculate wide groomed trails. Not only is there 15 km of groomed trails, lessons, rentals, and night skiing for cross-country skiers, but another 10 km of forested trails are dedicated for snowshoe exploration. (801) 225-4107, 1-800-892-1600
The Manti-La Sal National Forest is a lesser-visited refuge for high-altitude adventure, wildlife and serenity. Skyline Drive is one of the world's premier snow kiting sites while extensive trails crisscross the diverse forests, plateaus and mountain landscapes of the forest. Explore the Manti-La Sal's cross-country skiing areas. Image at right by Flickr user a4pga Creative Commons license attribution.
Brian Head Resort, near Cedar City, (435) 677-2035, (800) 27-BRIAN, 42 km of trails including 10 km groomed, lessons, rentals, and night skiing.
Best Western Ruby's Inn, near Bryce Canyon National Park, (435) 834-5341, (800) 468-8660, 50 km of groomed trails, lessons, rentals, tours offered, and night skiing.
Bryce Canyon National Park and Vicinity, cross-country skiing is allowed in the national park. A ski trail brochure is available at the visitor center.
Just south on Hwy 143, in the winter the road into Cedar Breaks National Monument closes and the area offers seven miles of groomed trail for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the monument and the surrounding Dixie National Forest. An additional 31 miles of marked and unmarked backcountry trails also surround the area.
Duck Creek Village, 30 miles east of Cedar City on state Hwy 14, has groomed cross-country ski trails, ski and snowmobile rentals and instruction.
West of Monticello or north of Blanding, trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling lead into the Abajo Mountains of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Groomed trails provided, private backcountry huts are available. Call (435) 259-SNOW for road, avalanche, and snow conditions.
About Utah's Backcountry and Sidecountry
Remember that the gift of backcountry also comes with responsibility for avalanche safety. Each day, hard-working ski patrols make the terrain inside of ski area boundaries extremely safe from avalanches. Those leaving the ski area boundaries or entering the backcountry from a trailhead need standard, avalanche rescue gear, avalanche training and should regularly consult the Utah Avalanche Center website for critical avalanche safety information before venturing out in search of the goods. If you don't own avalanche equipment or feel that you have the right skills, no problem. You can utilize local guides listed below that can set you up with the proper gear, keep you safe and lead you to the good stuff.
Utah Avalanche Center
No matter where you are in the state, always make sure to check local conditions before entering Utah backcountry. Read more about avalanche safety from expert Craig Gordon and for current avalanche conditions throughout Utah, please visit: www.utahavalanchecenter.org
Utah Avalanche Center's Craig Gordon
Know Before You Go
Get the Equipment: everyone should have a transceiver, shovel and probe on their person and know how to use them.
Get the Training: take an avalanche course to learn obvious clues to danger and how to read the terrain.
Get the Forecast: consult the Utah Avalanche Center website before heading out for critical avalanche information and education resources.
Get the Picture: recent avalanches on similar slopes mean dangerous conditions.
Get out from Harm's Way: one at a time on avalanche slopes and get out of the way at the bottom.