Top 4 Cross Country Ski Trails Near Laramie, Wyoming

by Dani and Brian Harrington, photos courtesy of Brian Harrington

 


Top 4 Cross Country Ski Trails Near Laramie, Wyoming


Laramie, Wyoming is an exceptional home base for cross country skiing – a sport that is both a fun way to experience nature and a great workout. Awaiting you from the east, southwest, and west, Laramie’s backyard contains a wide variety of cross country ski trails tucked among beautiful alpine scenery. Here, we describe the top four cross country ski trails near Laramie, all of which you can reach by car in less than an hour (and some in just 10 minutes).

 

nordic skiing laramie wy


Barber Lake Trail


Within the gorgeous high alpine terrain of the Medicine Bow National Forest lies the Barber Lake Trail in the Snowy Range Mountains. The 4.5-mile Green Rock trail features pleasantly long downhill sections that wind you through beautiful sections of forest. Gliding along this mostly-descending trail is pure joy, though a few flat and uphill sections do emerge from time to time—all the better to keep you and your herringbone technique in shape.

 

Note that this trail is fairly narrow and is therefore groomed for classic-style cross country skiing only. Like most visitors, we typically shuttle a vehicle to the bottom of the trail, parking at the Forest Service Welcome Center on Highway 130. If you’re looking for the extra workout, however, skiing back up is a completely doable option.

 

The Barber Lake trail also plays host to one of the area’s most anticipated winter events: The Centennial Poker Run. This annual gathering brings hundreds of merry skiers, snowshoers, musicians and music-lovers together for a party-style descent on the trail followed by live music at several bars in Centennial. The Poker Run is a jovial, if somewhat absurd, activity that does however mask the sense of peace and solitude that skiers would otherwise experience on the trail.

 

To get to the Barber Lake Trailhead, head west out of Laramie on Highway 130 and follow the road until you see a sign that reads “Green Rock Winter Trailhead.” The trailhead is located high in the range, just before the highway ceases to be plowed during the winter.

 

Click here for a trail map.

 


libby creek skiing wyomingLibby Creek Trail


The Libby Creek Trail also begins at the Green Rock Trailhead but breaks off to the south and sets you along a trail that is recommended for more advanced skiers. Once on the trail, you’ll warm up quickly with a steep ascent to a ridge before gliding downhill to Libby Creek and Libby Falls before climbing out of the canyon.

 

Given the more challenging terrain, the Libby Creek Trail isn’t as popular as the Barber Lake trail and is therefore groomed less often. Still, this fact is easily forgiven in light of the stunning views of the Laramie valley and the amazing terrain that skiers experience on this six-mile loop.

 

After enjoying a ski on either the Barber Lake or Libby Creek trails, we recommend stopping in Centennial for a recharge in the form of a beer, lunch, or some delicious homemade pie. Both the Trading Post and the Bear Bottom are great options depending on your needs.

 

Click here for a trail map.

 


Chimney Park Trailhead


Located about 40 miles west of Laramie off Highway 230, the Chimney Park Trail System features groomed, classic-style trails that wind through a dense lodgepole forest. The thick forest creates a sense of serene calm and keeps your eyes wondering on and on through the trees, which seem to never end.

cross country skiing laramie wy

 

The Badger Fire of 2018 burned through a portion of the Chimney Park Trails, and a delightful visual consequence of this is the stark contrast of blackened lodgepole pines and crisp white snow. The signage that was destroyed by the fire has since been replaced, so it’s as easy as ever to find your way in the area.

 

The trails are primarily flat, making them great for families and beginners or even the most advanced skiers looking for a more casual day with a beautiful backdrop. The Jelm View loop and Lodgepole loop boast the most elevation changes in the trail system.

Click here for a trail map.

 


Tie City Trailhead


The Tie City Trailhead earns full bragging rights for proximity to Laramie (just 12 miles) and for having the most well and regularly groomed trails. It is also the only trail system on this list that grooms for skate skiing in addition to classic-style skiing. To get there, head east out of Laramie and take exit 323 off I-80 for Highway 210 / Happy Jack Road.

 

cross country skiing laramie wyomingThere are many trails to choose from at Tie City, the Ridge, Meadow and Alder trails being the best for beginners as they are relatively flat. One of our favorite routes to follow begins with a mellow climb along the Meadow Trail and continues on to the loops of Phil’s Pholly, the Tie City Turnpike, and the Moose loop. This route offers both invigorating climbs and thrilling downhills and increases in difficulty the further you go, so feel free to stop where you feel comfortable.

 

The Summit Loop is best for those wishing to lose the crowds as it is the furthest from the trailhead. While it is a climb to make it to the top of the Summit Loop, the way back is a downhill breeze.

 

Click here for a trail map.

Looking to learn more about the cross country skiing and winter activity options in and around Laramie? Be sure to visit our winter activities pages where you can learn more about snowshoeing, nordic skiing, and more when you visit us this winter and discover why all trails lead to Laramie, Wyoming.

 

Note: Brian and Dani Harrington are independent writers contracted by Visit Laramie. Views and opinions expressed here are their own and do not reflect those of the Albany County Tourism Board.