The Best Cross Country Skiing in New York
Cross Country Skiing is the best winter activity for Manhattan residents looking for a nearby athletic vacation for the weekend.
New York State is home to some of the best cross country trails in the country. Believe it or not, you can cross country ski in Manhattan as well. During the winter months- when there is enough snow- you can ski in Central Park. If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience- like skiing in Central Park– or trying to plan consistent training days, New York has endless trails for all ability levels. Some of the cross-country trails are accessible for day trips from NYC by train on metro north.
Downhill skiers will love New York States’ most iconic ski destination, Lake Placid. Notably one of only two destinations in the world that has hosted two Winter Olympics- the other being Switzerland. Lake Placid is home to the best skiing in New York and has a cute mountain town vibe. Click here for our guide to the best ski resorts in New York.
Living without a car in Manhattan is the norm for many locals. So, when it comes time to take a long weekend, the Metro North train is the cheapest and easiest way to get out of the city. By far, the best weekend getaway is to visit Bear Mountain. The Metro North stops at Manitou which is one mile from the Bear Mountain Inn and dozens of hiking trails.
Best Weekend Vacation Destination on the Metro North
Bear Mountain is the best weekend destination for cross-country skiing. Less than 1-hour via the Metro North Rail (“MNR”) to Manitou, Bear Mountain is a Manhattan locals winter playground. Miles of cross country skiing trails wind through the snow covered forest at Bear Mountain.
Cozy up in one of the three lodges that Bear Mountain Inn offers. There are a variety of restaurants close to the Inn including Bear Mountain Pizza – a popular spot for locals and visitors.
The Lake Placid Ski Resort has solidified its place in the winter sports history books by hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Today, the Olympic Village makes for a great family-friendly attraction. And, with Whiteface ski resort just down the road, you can make the most of powder days. If you are looking for the best cross country skiing in New York, this is the mountain.
Miles of trails surround the Lake and make it easy to go from your hotel to the trail. Be sure to visit Mt Van Hoevenberg, home to the Olympic training grounds. The Mt Van Hoevenberg cross country trails vary in distance and difficulty, from the Bobcat Trail (15 minutes, beginner, .89mi) to the Porter Mountain trail (150 minutes, most difficult, 9.3mi). The extensive trail system and wide variety, earns Lake Placid the title of the best cross country skiing in upstate New York.
Located roughly two and a half hours from Manhattan in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Belleayre has 10km of beautiful New York cross country ski trails and a downhill ski resort. The trails range from wide carriage roads to narrow trails that challenge advanced skiers. A reasonably close drive from Manhattan, the mountain town of Belleayre is one of the best weekend get-away locations. There are four lodges at Belleayre Mountain, including plenty of other hotels in the area that have easy access to the XC trails. Belleayre does not rent cross country equipment, be sure to bring your own.
From the Joe Minder Lodge you will find the trailhead to all 55K of cross country trials in Gore Mountain. By starting south you will find intermediate and advanced trails. These trails open up to beautiful scenic view points. If you are looking for a short XC ski, try the Beginner Loop or go North to Hudson Woods and circle back around toward the lodge under the Hudson Chair lift. The trails range in length between 0.25K and .64K with easy to advanced options and can be linked together to create a longer loop. The intermediate and advanced runs are only accessible from Stadium Run to Blueberry Path. Be sure to purchase your cross country ski equipment in advance as there is limited selection at the Gore Mountain Nordic Center.
The Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY has 21 cross country ski trails that are accessible from the base of the ski mountain. The accommodations in Roxbury are is an experience in itself. Most notably, The Roxbury Hotel & Spa which has been featured as HGTV’s “most amazing hotels in the entire country.” Nestled along the East Branch Delaware River, The Roxbury has themed rooms that are fun for all ages and is only five miles to the Plattekill Ski Resort.
Close to Roxbury is the Bearpen Mountain State Forest, the former home to the Princeton Ski Bowl– a skiing event hosted by the Princeton Outing Club from 1956 to 1969. Bearpen Mountain is known for having the tallest elevation ski area in the Catskills of 3,600ft.
Better known for its surf town vibes in the summer, Montauk has great XC Skiing during the winter. Many golf courses are converted to cross-country ski trails that offer easy accessibility to training on the miles on groomed trails. Additionally, the hotels in Montauk are dramatically less expensive than during the summer months, not including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
The woodland cross country trails in Lapland were designed by form US Olympic Skier Olavi Hivonern. Offering some of the most reliable snow in the State, Lapland Lake is a great training ground for those looking to put in some hard miles. Located three and a half hours north of Manhattan, the Lanpland Lake Nordic Center opens mid November and operates through April. The nordic trails wind through forested areas and along streams within the Adirondack Preserve.
The Mohonk Mountain House is one of the most iconic destinations in New York for summer and winter activities. Located 90 miles from New York City, the Mohonk Mountain House is surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest, perfect for long cross country ski adventures.
Located five hours north of Manhattan, McCauley Mountain in Old Forge is the second furthest ski destination (number one is Lake Placid). McCauley is self-proclaimed “New York’s best family mountain” and was the home mountain for two US Olympic Skiers and multiple US Ski Team Racers. The Adirondack Lodge Old Forge is one of the top accommodations in the area and is close to locally famous restaurants like Tony Harpers Pizza & Clam Shack and Frankie’s Taste of Italy. After a day of skiing, warm up with a hot drink from Blue Line Coffee House.
Tupper Lake is a village west of lake placid. It is nestled between the shore of Raquette Pond and the Adirondack Foothills. Tupper Lake is the most dog friendly cross country ski destination in New York, offering multiple trails that you can take your four legged friend on with you. Best of all, there are many places to cross country ski for free in Tupper Lake.
Located near Ithaca and just south of Syracuse, Greek Peak has a great blend of winter sporting activities, including downhill skiing and 19 cross country trails that are groomed with tracks set. The resort has an indoor waterpark, snow tubing, zip lines, and skiing.
City guidelines dictate that Central Park is open for cross-country skiing once there is a six-inch snow base. When the snow base reaches this magic number, trails are groomed and open for XC skiing. Experiencing Central Park is one thing; to cross-country ski in Central Park is an experience in itself. If there is enough snow, the Bridal Path running trail is skiable as well.
As one would expect from cross country ski trails in The Hamptons, they are exceptional. High-end golf courses in the area groom trails and set tracks. Even with so many exceptionally groomed trails, many locals opt for their secret roadside trailheads to avoid crowds.
What is the cost of the Metro North Rail (MNR) Train to Manitou?
Purchasing your Metro North ticket at the station will save you money. A one-way fare from Harlem 125th Street to Manitou is $20. Round trip tickets are $20.
How long is the train ride on MNR to Manitou? And then to Bear Mountain?
It is a 56 minute train ride from Harlem 125th Street to Manitou. Once at Manitou, Bear Mountain is less than 10-minutes away by car.
Where do I book tickets on Metro North Rail (MNR)?
You can book your tickets online on the MTA Transit Website. Alternatively, you can buy tickets at the station or on the train. Buying tickets on the train is more expensive however so be sure to book in advance or at the train station.
Is the New York City Metro North Train Pet Friendly?
Yes, the Metro North is pet friendly. You are even allowed to bring your dog on the train outside of a carrier on a leash.
Can you bring cross country skis on the Metro North train?
Yes, you can bring your skis with you on the Metro North Rail.
Connect with other cross-country skiers one-on-one with the Klubb App. The Klubb App connects you with skiers of similar abilities in your location. Use the app to easily schedule XC skiing with the people you meet at an XC Ski race or on the trail.