Visitors and locals alike love skiing on the Birkie trail. From the death-defying hills to the quiet forest to the majestic views, folks come from all over to experience Birkie Fever all winter long. The notoriety of the Birkie Trail to skiers is, indeed, akin to that of the Eiffel Tower for tourists flocking to Paris. But Hayward and the surrounding area has a few “hidden” gems that are just as amazing in their own ways as our beloved Birkie trail. Now, it is true, the grooming on these quieter trails can often be hit or miss, but you can check on SkinnySki or the New Moon staffers for the latest trail reports, and, also, that is part of the adventure, right?
If you and the family like to do a bit of everything in the winter outdoors, this is the trail for you! There are about 4 miles of winding trails for both classic and skate skiing as well as snowshoe trails, and, possibly even more popular, a sledding hill for all ages! At 2 miles from town, it’s super easy and fast to get outside for some winter fun. Dog-friendly!
In the Washburn County forest along Hwy 70 between Stone Lake and Spooner lies the Nordic Woods Ski Trail. This 15K series of loops winds through conifers and hardwoods and around lakes. Nordic Woods has some of the best forest views in the area. Great for intermediate skiers. Quiet, contemplative, and curvy! Judy thinks this one is a bit scary but it’s actually quite gentle and amazingly beautiful!
Bruce’s trails of choice, the Drummond Ski Trails are just south of Drummond. There are 9K of flat and rolling loops to choose from. Located deep in the Chequamegon Forest, the terrain is flowing and gentle and the trails are narrow, snaking their way through stands of huge timber. As a bonus, check out (backcountry ski or snowshoe!) the North Country National Scenic Trail which cuts across the Drummond Ski Trails property.
If you’re adventurous, you should definitely visit the Tomahawk Lake Ski Trails in Barnes. This is perhaps the least known trail system in the area. There are tons of downhill runs on these trails, and the possibility of seeing some of our northwoods wildlife is quite high. Tomahawk lies in a broad swath of sandy glacial outwash and offers a look and somewhat different forest habitats than the classic northern hardwoods found at the other trails in the area. The trails are very well-marked with rest benches and shelters along the way. Skiers are even encouraged to build a fire after their adventures.
Down towards Winter, WI lies the Flambeau Hills Cross Country Ski Trail. Groomed for classic and skate, these trails offer something for everyone from beginner to expert. Visitors will ski over bridges and through the woods partaking in some great river views.
A little further afield near Hurley/Ironwood is the Uller Trail or “Ullr” to be true to the Norse god of winter. This is a truly remote experience over 30km of beauty, serenity, and truly challenging skiing. It is definitely worth the trip! Uller is in the core of the Lake Superior snowbelt often receiving over 200” of lake effect snow annually. As such you may find perfectly groomed tracks or 20” of powder – be prepared for both! The trail winds through the rugged Penokee Mountain Range and can be accessed near Whitecap Mountain, Iron Belt, Pence, and Montreal. These retro ski trails are Chris’ favorite out-of-town ski spot.
Beat the crowds and find your own special trail in the woods! Whether you like fast downhills, peaceful vistas, or a glimpse at winter wildlife, there is a ski trail near Hayward just perfect for you. Please check websites/facebook pages to learn more about directions, parking, and fees.