Find a cross country ski trail the whole family can enjoy this winter on the Iron Range.
My family fell in love with the sport of cross-country skiing three seasons ago, and our love for
the trails has grown tremendously every year. My family of five has the potential to generate more
noise than a pack of snowmobiles cutting through the wilderness, but it’s mostly happy
laughter and chatter that you’ll hear from us, with just a touch of whining and frustration from
We love the Carey Lake Trail system in Hibbing. Going at our kid’s pace, it’s the perfect match
to their ability level, and when we have the luxury to go at our own pace, my husband and I feel
like we get our exercise in as well.
We think it’s Hibbing’s best-kept secret.
More often than not, you’ll find us on the Southern Lights trail that can be accessed from the
second parking lot (drive straight to the lake, hang a right and drive to the end of the road).
What we love about the Southern Lights trail is that it’s the shortest (about two miles), and it’s
fairly flat. It’s one that our youngest can finish on her own. There’s a coziness to it, as well. A
softness to the winding trails and the views of the trees as you pass by.
The Highland Trail (also accessed off the second parking lot) is another nice trail for little skiiers.
This one has a couple of more challenging hills, but is still mostly flat, a touch under two miles
long, and is one that the kids can get through with the minimal amount of whining.
The magic happens on the Black Forest trail. This is my family’s favorite, and we usually tackle it
as a trio. The hills can be a touch much for our kindergartener, so my husband usually skis with
her on the Southern Lights while I take my boys on the Black Forest Trail. Our older two (third
and sixth grade) love this trail for its bigger hills, changing terrain and the lights. The Black
Forest Trail is a lighted trail and it’s completely magical—day or night. When you hit the black
forest, you know it, and the trees are amazing! The Black Forest Trail is about 2.5 miles. Access
it from the first parking lot, which is just off the intersection of Dupont Road and North Dublin
This might be the year that we take the older kids and do the bigger loops and circle the lake on
the Lakeview Trail (most difficult and about four miles) or even try exploring Carey Creek (more
difficult and just under three miles). Whichever trails we explore this year, I know we are
guaranteed to make more memories, meet friendly people and explore the woods without the
worry of mosquitos!
Tips For Cross Country Skiing With Kids
If you’re new to skiing, or not sure how to go with little kids, here are some of the things we’ve
learned along the way.
For the very first time on skis, we’ve taken our kids to an open park to let them get the feel of
wearing their skis. We make a small loop and let them practice for as long as they’d like. When
they’re done. We’re done.
Music helps. Sometimes we’ll stream the kid’s favorite tunes on our phones. This gets them
focused on the songs and motivated to stay close so they can hear the music.
Patience. We never go with a time schedule in mind. We know approximately how long it takes
to do a loop, and try to schedule it so we have ample time to enjoy the experience without
having to worry about finishing up to make it to another obligation.
Snacks can be a huge motivator. Either on the trail or at the end with mug of hot chocolate or
both, kids like to have a little treat to keep them going. We pack a small snack in a little
backpack. The backpack also comes in handy to stash hats or mitts if you get to warm while
Headlamps. We all wear headlamps when we go, so if it takes us longer than expected, we can
still see the trail, no matter what time the sun sets. We have also found that we like to wear our
headlamps even when we ski the Black Forest Trail.
With the five and under crew, we have found a lot of success in hooking a sled up to a harness
and pulling it. When littlest kid in the bunch gets tired of skiing, they pop their skis off and hop
in the sled. This keeps everyone happy and moving on the trail.
Give it a try!
Getting in to cross-country skiing is a great family sport and there are rental opportunities
available through the City of Hibbing Parks and Recreation Department. The City rents skis as a
courtesy to anyone interested in using the Carey Lake Trails. Ski Rental is available on weekdays
and weekends and is $15. The rental office cut-off time is 2:45 p.m. daily and Friday rentals are
due back on Mondays by 4:00 p.m. The $15 rental includes the $3 trail fee.
Skiers who do not need to rent are asked to deposit $3 in the box at the trailhead per use, or
buy a $20 season pass. Passes will be for sale at Hibbing Parks and Recreation, located inside
the Hibbing Memorial Building beginning in mid-to-late December. Trail maps are posted and
available at each trailhead.
By Hibbing writer, Katie Fredeen