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Local Ski Areas

See below for a list of areas for local and regional skiing.

If you would like to download this list as a Word document please click on xcski_areas.doc

U of I and Iowa City Cross-Country Ski Club

Local and Regional Skiing

The following are suggestions for skiing opportunities. The ones farther north may have more snow than we have, but try to call ahead for conditions. The year in parentheses shows when the info was personally verified. Please help us by updating and adding to the list.

Macbride Nature Recreation Area. (2000) 15 km of groomed trails, with room for skating, mostly easy beyond upper parking lot, mostly moderate to difficult between the parking lots. 15 min N of Iowa City: US 6 West through Coralville to 965 N to North Liberty. Turn R on Penn St and L onto Mehaffey Bridge Rd. (F28). Follow to Nature Center, on left. (Or, go N on Dubuque St to North Liberty, then R on Mehaffey Bridge Rd.)

Maps near entrance. Parking at Lower Parking area, Upper parking area (restrooms), and at Boat Dock/Yacht Club.

Macbride State Park and Coralville Reservoir. (2000) Several trail areas, mostly moderate, some difficult. Mostly in the woods. Tracked, but not groomed. Good maps at the intersections.

Linder Point. 3-km trail, connects to Squires Point. Go about 3.7 miles north of Mayflower Hall on Dubuque St., turn right onto West Overlook, go half a mile and park in the lot on the left. Port-a-John at lot.

Squires Point. A two-km loop (do it clockwise!). Connection to Linder Point. Go about 4.7 miles north on Dubuque St., turn right at sign. Don't get stuck trying to drive out.

F.W.Kent Park. (2000) Seven km of trail, mostly easy, but some hills. Mostly open fields, some woods. Eight miles west of Iowa City on US 6, on the right before you get to Oxford. Follow signs to Youth Camp (Keep turning right). Maps and outhouse at parking.

Hickory Hill Park. (2000) A maze of steep, narrow hiking trails, plus some open areas and wider trails. Take Bloomington St. east until it ends at the park. Or Conklin St. off Rte 1 in north Iowa City.

Finkbine Golf Course. (2000) Easy to moderate rolling golf course. Park at the lot off Melrose. Great after work or after dark on a moonlit night. I guess we ignore the "No Tresspassing" sign.

Amana Nature Trail. (2000) Several loops of ungroomed trail, up to 5 km long. Easy to moderate through woods. Lots of good ups and downs. Some "outdoor recreation enthusiasts" on snowmobiles ruined the trail the last time I went. Take US 6 West about 15 miles to T-junction with US 151. Go straight across, down the hill, and to the left. Ample parking. Be careful of that hill when you try to leave!

Sac and Fox National Recreation Trail. Cedar Rapids. Seven miles of flat, easy, gravel and sand trail shared with hikers, bikers, and horses. IA Rte 1 north to Mt. Vernon. Turn left, go through town, and veer right onto Mt. Vernon Rd. Go 10.5 miles, pass Vernon View, and turn left on Bertram Rd. Park there or continue on Bertram Rd to Indian Creek Nature Center, where there are maps, restrooms, and a gift shop (11-4 Sat, 1-4 Sun, 9-4 wkdys, 362-0664). Most of the trails away from the creek are difficult. Other access off Mt. Vernon Rd on Rosedale Rd and Wilder Rd.

Matsell Bridge. (1994) Ten km of groomed trails, gently rolling, open fields, woods, along Wapsipinicon River. One hour north of Iowa City. Take Iowa Rte 1 north about 35 miles to intersection with US 151 at Fairview. Go straight into Fairview and turn L at sign to Viola and Stone City. Go 3.5 miles, cross long curving bridge and turn R (before you get to Viola, which is unmarked from the East!) onto Stone City Rd. Follow signs, cross Matsell Bridge and park in near or far lots on left, both with outhouses. Maps along trail. Hunting permitted.

Heritage Trail. Graf to Dubuque. Eleven miles of flat, mostly sheltered trail along the Little Maquoketa River (passes Sundown Ski Area, which has 1 km of groomed trail, with snow-making, $6). About 90 minutes north of Iowa City. Take Iowa 1 north to Fairview, then right on US 151. About 8 miles beyond Cascade, turn left (North) toward Peosta, on Y21. Cross US 20 and continue to Graf, where there are parking and amenities. (Snowmobiling permitted west of Graf.) To start at the east end of the trail, take US 151 to Dubuque, then US 52 North, and park before Sageville (Rupp Hollow Rd), or farther on, in Durango. $1.10 per day or $5.25/year (1994). Self-register or get pass at local businesses.

Hoover Nature Trail. Several miles of flat, smooth trail. Several entry points, not always with good parking. West Branch, Nichols, Columbus Junction, Conesville. Expect to share with horses on some stretches. Fee.

Pikes Peak State Park. (1996) McGregor. Six km of trail through woods and fields. At least two hours north of Iowa City. Iowa Rte #1 north to US 151. Turn right (north) and go 21 miles to Cascade. Turn left on Iowa 136 and go 25 miles to Luxemburg. Take US 52 to beyond Guttenburg. Look for signs for Iowa 340, or go to McGregor and backtrack on Iowa 340. Trail starts at the parking lot beyond the campground. 873-2341

Yellow River State Forest. (1997) Harpers Ferry. Two separate units, both with a range of easy to difficult. Paint Creek unit with more trails. Great maps and tourist and lodging information from Allamakee County Tourism and Economic Development Commission, 568-2624. One hundred forty miles (under three hours) north. No easy way to get there: 1) I-380 to Urbana, IA 150 to West Union, US 18 to Marquette, IA 76 to IA 364 (Luster Heights Unit) or IA 76 to X25 (Paint Creek Unit). or 2) IA 1 to Fairview, US 151 to Cascade, IA 136 to Luxemburg, US 52 to US 18, US 18 to Marquette, then as above. Consider staying in Harpers Ferry--two motels and some B&Bs

Volga River State Recreation Area. Fayette. 30 miles of trails for snowmobile, horses, hiking and XC skiing. Lima Trail is groomed, mostly easy, with a long downhill. Others easy to difficult, through fields and woods. Two hours north, near Fayette, IA. Take I 380 north 46 miles to Urbana (IA 150) exit. Take IA 150 north 47 miles to Fayette. Continue on and turn right at signs. Hunting permitted. Maps at campground. Pit toilets at campground and lake. 425-4161.

Backbone State Park Near Strawberry Point.

Kepler-Palisades State Park. Take IA 1 to US 30, turn left and proceed a few miles to the park, on the left. Most trails better for hiking than for skiing.

Devil's Lake, WI. Near Baraboo, WI. About a 5 hour drive. Several long trails marked for X-C skiing, rolling terrain through woods and fields. Fee to enter park.($5?)


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