Wisconsin has an abundance of winter recreation trails and Waukesha is no different! When snow is in abundance in our area, check out our picks for area cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. And for the kids or the kids at heart, we have a couple sledding hill recommendations.
The Waukesha County Park System is a natural resource-based park system that demonstrates stewardship while offering recreational opportunities throughout the seasons. Park fees for the 2020 season are $5 per vehicle, per day or purchase an annual sticker for $35. All parks are open from sunrise to 10pm daily.
Glacial Drumlin State Trail
Glacial Drumlin State Trail is a 52-mile trail developed on a former railroad grade, which runs between Waukesha and Cottage Grove. Thirteen miles of the trail from Waukesha through Dousman are paved and the rest of the trail is surfaced with crushed limestone packed to a smooth surface. The eastern half of the trail begins in the Fox River Sanctuary at College and Prairie Avenues in Waukesha. The trail is open to walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, the trail is not groomed and users must share it with snowmobiles. Skiers don’t need a trail pass while using the trail.
Lowell Sledding Hill
Lowell Park offers a sledding hill with an old-school toboggan run for kids of all ages or you can bring your own sled. It’s a local favorite for Waukesha JanBoree and sledding. Many bring their own sleds and snowboards for family-friendly fun.
Lapham Peak in Delafield, just a few miles west of Waukesha, is located in the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Visitors enjoy 17 miles of loop trails with varying degrees of difficulty, each trail clearly marked. Two specialties of Lapham Peak are the 2.5-mile lighted loop, open Monday through Saturday until 9pm and the blacktopped Plantation Path, an accessible trail for wheelchairs. A state trail pass, daily ($8) or annual ($28 resident or non-resident), is required for all skiers.
Menomonee Park, located north of Waukesha in the Villages of Menomonee Falls and Lannon, offers three cross-country ski loops ranging from 1.2 to 3-mile trails. In addition, there are several hiking/snowshoe trails only, ranging from .2-3 miles. The rolling terrain provides a worthwhile challenge to cross-country skiers and those on snowshoes. The kids will love the sledding hill!
At 579-acres, Minooka Park is the county’s largest park, located on the south side of Waukesha. In winter, the park becomes an outdoor enthusiast’s frosty paradise with miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and a spacious sledding hill. Enjoy three loops, totaling six miles of groomed cross-country skiing, hiking and snowshoe trails on gently rolling terrain.
Nashotah Park is a 444-acre park nestled among rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands and grasslands that offer habitat for deer, waterfowl and a variety of songbirds. Winter activities include four cross-country ski trails, ranging from .9 to 3.3-miles and five ungroomed hiking trails ranging from .1 to 1.3-miles.
Snow conditions on the county parks can be found here or call the 24-hour recorded hot line at (262)548-7800.
Retzer Nature Center
Retzer Nature Center offers 335 acres of trails perfect for snowshoeing or winter hiking. You can rent both wooden and aluminum snowshoes ting at 8:15am and return them by 4:15pm or bring your own. The main building at Retzer offers an environmental education center and the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium (with year-round planetarium shows).