Cross-country ski review for Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan and an accompanying slideshow.
1. Do they have trails for cross-country skiing – yes, 6 miles of cross-country ski trails. +1
2. Are the trails groomed – No 0 points
3. Trails for skate and classic – No 0 points
4. No hikers allowed – The trails in Warren Dunes State Park are multi use and often beat up by hikers. 0 points
5. Good hills – There are 240 feet dunes that rise up from the shores of Lake Michigan and then plummet down below to Painterville Creek and the Warren Dunes State Park campground. The hills are very steep, the trail damage from hikers, and the lack of a groomed trail makes it difficult to snow plow so use extreme caution on these hills. +1 point
6. Facilities – There are outhouses at the beach and at the parking lot for the trails. There is no warming hut. .5 points
7. Accessibility to Chicago – Warren Dunes is approximately 100 miles away and takes about two hours. Traffic can be horrible so click here for travel tips. +1
8. Well marked trails – At each trail junction there is a map with arrows showing which trail goes where. +1
9. Snow conditions – The area usually gets lake-effect snow, so Warren Dunes often has good snow when Chicago does not. +1
10. Website with conditions posted – The website does not show snow information, but nearby Berrien County Parks has a snow conditions website. .5 points
Total score 6
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Other pertinent information
Directions from Chicago:
Click here for directions to the entrance. There is also an option to stay on I-94 the entire time. It is longer, but there are no tolls.
Take the first right once inside the park and pass the park headquarters and park in the first parking lot on the left. The trail goes left, straight or right at the parking lot. Take the trail to the right.
Full range – Beginner to novice on the flat trails in the shadow of the dunes. Once the skier turns west the hills are difficult and one should have at least intermediate experience. Knowledge of the snow plow is a must.
$8.00 a day non-resident or $6.00 per resident. This can be paid at a self registration center near the entrance.
None inside the park. Either rent skis at the Chicago REI or another option is the Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles, Michigan. This park is another 20 miles away, but they also have trails for cross-country skiing. For more information contact:
Madeline Bertrand County Park
3038 Adams Road
Niles, MI 49120
They are available for free at the park office or in a box outside the campground registration booth. They are not really necessary as every trail junction has a detailed map with arrows.
Hardwood forest with occasional pine tree line the early part of the trail as Painterville Creek meanders to the right. Once the trail hits the dunes then there are sensational views of the dunes and Lake Michigan.
Places to stay:
Benton Harbor is ten miles north and Michigan City is located 16 miles south if looking for overnight accommodations.
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