Try The Northwoods Ski Trails And Korkki Nordic

Skiers pause along the Northwoods Ski Trail near Silver Bay. (News Tribune file)

I joined a couple of friends on Saturday to ski the Northwoods Ski Trails just outside of Silver Bay. The trails are in great shape, and we skied for a couple of hours. The system includes 19 kilometers of single-tracked trail for classic skiing with several loops of different lengths. The trails also provide access to the trails at nearby Tettegouche State Park (25 kilometers classic; 7.5 kilometers skating) through a 4.8-kilometer connector trail that is also groomed.

Although most of the skiing is easy to moderate in difficulty (except for one long herringbone uphill), the topography in the area is dramatic. It is perhaps most spectacular on the connector trail that leads from the Northwoods trails to Tettegouche State Park. There, we skied at the bottom of a deep valley between steep headwalls and scree slopes. I don’t think you’ll see much more relief on any other groomed trails in Northeastern Minnesota.

Here’s how to reach the Northwoods trails: From Highway 1 in Silver Bay, go 3.2 miles north on Outer Drive, which turns into Penn Blvd (County Road 5). Parking lot is on the right. Donations are accepted.

Call (218) 226-4334 for snow conditions

Maps are available at the trailhead and at signs along the trails.

A lone cross-country skier heads down an intimate trail at Korkki Nordic between Duluth and Two Harbors. (News Tribune file photo)

On Sunday, three of us skied the trails at Korkki Nordic on the Korkki Road between Duluth and Two Harbors. (Take Highway 61 to the Homestead Road and go up the hilll 2.5 miles and turn left on the Korkki Road. Go about a half-mile and look for sign on the right.)

The Korkki trail system, pioneered several decades ago by Charlie Banks, includes loops of 4 kilometers, 5 kilometers, 6 kilometers and 11 kilometers. Conditions were perfect on Sunday — about 25 degrees — and the trail was holding up well since its last grooming. We skied a couple of the longer loops, including Iso Maki (Finnish for “big hill”). Spectacular. The 4- to 6-kilometer loops are easy to more difficult, and beyond that, the trail has some steeper climbs and faster descents.

Korkki is all single-tracked, narrow and intimate and beautiful, for classic skiing. You can get a one-year membership for $15 or a one-year family membership for $30, or make a donation when you ski.