From cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and sledding adventures, there are plenty of ways to shake off those winter doldrums and get out and play at the parks.
With groomed trails weaving through woods and diverse terrain, there are plenty of scenic snowscapes to explore. When snow blankets the county and conditions are right, our parks offer dozens of groomed (or prepped) multi-use trails to traverse. Here’s what you need to know:
When are trails groomed?
‣ When there is at least 6 inches of packable snow on the ground (including in the woods).
‣ When snow is predicted to last longer than overnight.
‣ The following day (or days), immediately after the snowfall event.
Who can use the groomed trails?
One of the best things about our winter trails is that they are open and available to all our park visitors to share and enjoy. Skiiers, hikers, dog-walkers, birders – all are welcome! To make sure everyone has a fun experience on these multi-use trails, we’ve created a list of etiquette tips:
‣ Ski traffic is one-way – follow the arrow sign directions.
‣ Slower skiers yield to faster skiers.
‣ Downhill skiers have the right of way.
‣ Hiking traffic is two-way.
‣ Keep to the side of the set ski trail – please watch your step so skiiers can stay on-track!
‣ Keep to the side of the set ski trail (and make sure Fido does, too!).
‣ Remember to pick up after your pet and keep them leashed at all times (6 ft or under).
Remember, snow is unpredictable, and a minimum of 6 inches is required before we can groom, so be sure to follow us on Facebook to hear about current conditions on the trails before heading out.
The Elkhart County Parks offers four locations with groomed trails perfect for your next winter daytrip:
Ox Bow County Park (2½-mi loop)
Trailhead at Fisherman’s Camp Shelter.
Bonneyville Mill County Park (3-mi loop)
Trailheads at main parking lot and Briar Patch Shelter.
Cobus Creek County Park (2-mi loop)
Trailhead at main parking lot.
River Preserve County Park (3-mi loop)
Trailhead at Benton Spillway
Cross County Skiing
With miles of groomed trails to explore, it’s no secret among locals that the Elkhart County Park offers fantastic opportunities to cross-country ski. New to cross-country skiing? Beginner workshops are held during peak snow season. Check the events calendar to see when the next one is being offered.
Bring the whole family! We’ve got sledding hills located by the warming houses in Ox Bow and Bonneyville Mill (Briar Patch Shelter open when weather conditions are appropriate for sledding).