Strap on your skinny skis and explore thousands of miles of old logging roads and trails within the Black Hills region, including several areas designated and maintained for cross-country skiers.
If cross-country skiing is your wintertime passion, you’ll find no better paradise than within Black Hills National Forest. Adventurous skiers can break new trail in challenging areas, such as the Eagle Cliff Network. Big Hill XC area is a great destination for skiers of all abilities, as well as Centennial and Mickelson multi-use trails.
With average snow accumulation around 150 inches per year, cross-country ski conditions are generally favorable between late November and early March.
Equipment rental is available at sporting good stores, and local ski clubs often organize races and tours open to members and nonmembers alike.
Where to Go To Cross-Country Ski
Big Hill XC Ski Network
- Description/Location – This well maintained trail network is situated in Black Hills National Forest, 7 miles southwest of Spearfish (route 134).
- Featuring – 17 total miles of designated trails; .5 miles rated “easy,” 10 miles rated “moderate,” and 7 miles rated “difficult.”
Eagle Cliff Network
- Description/Location – This challenging 25-mile trail network consists of loops of varying difficulty, situated 15 miles southwest of Lead.
- Featuring – 20 trails winding through ponderosa pine forests and open meadows; 5 trails rated “easy,” 4 trails rated, “moderate,” 11 trails rated “difficult.”
- Description/Location – Situated 10 miles southwest of Hill City, the Bear Mountain network leads skiers along ridges, near overlooks, and through forests, with 16.1 miles of trails.
- Featuring - Plenty of wildlife viewing opportunity including mule deer, elk, and coyotes.
Additional cross-country ski trails include Beaver Creek ski network, portions of Centennial and Mickelson Trails, and trails located in Bear Butte State Park and Custer State Park.