Nordic Centers of the Sierra Nevada

Cross Country Skiing is a growing sport in the Sierra Nevada. For many creating a wilderness experience in numerous locations on our national forest lands is the perfect afternoon that adds tranquility to your snow adventure. However, some desire a more structured, safe environment where groomed areas for skiing and nature comforts such as warming huts and ski instructors can make all the difference in a fantastic day in the mountains.

I wouldn’t even say these are for beginners. There is a particular structure and beauty to a Nordic center playground. The meadow at Kirkwood mountain resort is one of the iconic ski village treks in the sierra.

Here is a list of Nordic Cross Country Skiing centers in the Sierra Nevada.

man and woman skiing
Photo by Murre Al zubaidi on

Nordic Centers

Tahoe Donner XC

Tahoe Donner has 11 km of single track just for snowshoes. These quiet snowshoe trails take you to scenic vistas along the Tahoe Donner trail system.

Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center, when fully open, offers over 100 km of the finest terrain and grooming to be found anywhere in the world.

Trails are carefully groomed daily for skating and classic skiing using state-of-the-art snow-grooming machines. Our goal is to provide the best skiing experience possible. Snowshoers will also find packed single track trails winding through the woods to warming huts and great views.

The Alder Creek Adventure Center and our trails are open from 8:30AM-5PM daily starting the Friday following Thanksgiving day (conditions permitting).

Royal Gorge

North America’s largest XC resort, Royal Gorge offers 6 distinct trail systems featuring 8 different warming huts across 6,000 acres, seamlessly integrated with the Village at Sugar Bowl. From classic striding to XC skating, snowshoeing, and even trails you can enjoy with your dog, Royal Gorge offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy scenic winter adventures with some of the finest views in the Sierra.


Northstar has over 40 miles of cross-country/ snowshoe trails that begin at mid-mountain. With shopping, dining, and downhill skiing at your fingertips, it’s a great spot for a fun-filled day. Cross country or “Nordic” skiing is the perfect way to spend your day touring the mountains with impeccably groomed trails and endless high alpine views.

RESORT at Squaw Creek Nordic Center

The Squaw Creek Nordic Center at the Resort at Squaw Creek offers ski-in/ski-out access to Palisades Tahoe, sledding, and kilometers of groomed trails for beginners to expert Nordic skiers.

Snowshoe enthusiasts can enjoy the terrain of the Squaw Creek Nordic Center or venture into the adjacent backcountry.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Photographer: Greg Von Doersten Day 2 – Snow Action, Cross Country, Snowshoe, Ski School

Kirkwood Cross Country Ski Center

Above all the rest, with a base elevation of 7,800 feet and 80 kilometers of machine-groomed trails, Kirkwood Cross Country & Snowshoe Center offers the most spectacular scenery and the most exciting terrain in the west. Nestled in a beautiful Alpine Valley, our diverse landscape provides excellent skiing for all abilities. You will climb to ridge tops, glide along the base of impressive lava cliffs and roll along creeks through picturesque meadows. The spectacular scenery lingers in your mind after skiing at Kirkwood Cross Country. We allow dogs on two trails, the High Trail, located behind the Kirkwood Inn and the Inner Loop on the meadow. During breaks from skiing, you can sip hot drinks by a wood-burning stove in the cozy day lodge or warm up in one of the many trailside warming huts.


Granlibakken offers plenty of Sierra terrain to explore. Enjoy the trails around Granlibakken’s 74-acre resort or go to Paige Meadows to experience Tahoe’s backcountry. Guests have easy access to popular cross-country trailheads, which provide miles of ungroomed Lake Tahoe skiing and snowshoeing terrain. Equipment rentals are available at our rental shop. In addition, a 1.5-mile trail around the property and an access trail to Paige Meadows is groomed (flat-groomed, without stride-skiing tracks) when the weather and snow conditions permit.


Kick your winter up a notch and get in great shape this season. Explore the Mammoth Lakes Basin on cross-country skis or snowshoes for scenic family adventures or butt-kicking fun across 19+ miles (30+ kilometers) of secluded, groomed, world-class trails. Rentals, lessons, guided tours and season passes are available from the Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center, located at Tamarack Lodge.

Bear Valley Adventure Company

Cross-country skiing guests enjoy an extensive trail system with 70+ kilometers of groomed paths over 3,000 acres at Bear Valley. Thirty-eight carefully groomed trails for track and skate skiing, a trailside Meadow Cafe, and three warming huts throughout the trail system. There are also two kids’ ski trails, and a groomed downhill practice area. The elevation of 7,000 to 7,800 feet guarantees first to open (usually mid-November) and last to close (usually mid-April) among Sierra Nevada cross-country centers.

Pinecrest Nordic Ski Patrol

Pinecrest Ski Patrol monitors two trailheads, Crabtree and Gooseberry, in the Stanislaus National Forest just north of Yosemite National Park. The trail system intersects that of the Dodge Ridge Ski Area.

Trail Maps-You can download the trail map of the Pinecrest Nordic ski area. Here

Other feature Areas to consider:

McGowan Lake Cross-Country Ski Area

Camp Richardson (Tahoe South)

Recently ranked the best place for cross-country skiing for local residents in Tahoe, Mountain Sports Center Camp Richardson offers groomed and marked trail systems for beginners and professionals in Lake Tahoe. When snowpacks reach 2 ft, head to Kirkwood Resort for a quick trip. At 7800 meter in height, this hotel offers excellent choices for the early or late season. The trail pass contains an impressive network of trail paths, including three warmer chalets, including the Kirkwood Inn (founded in 1864). Click Here To Find Where to Ski In Lake Tahoe & the surrounding area.

Badger Pass Cross Country Skiing Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most beautiful cross-country skiing trails. World-renowned for their outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and famous Yosemite landmarks. From the Badger Pass Ski Area, you’ll find 90 miles of marked trails and 25 miles of groomed track—including the beloved cross-country track from Badger Pass Ski Area to Glacier Point (a 21-mile round trip). So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll find mile after mile of beauty and tranquility in Yosemite.

McGowan Lake Cross-Country Ski Area – Lassen Volcanic National Park Region

The McGowan Lake Cross-Country Ski Area has existed since 1982 and offers 10 miles of trails, 5 miles of which are periodically groomed. Access is on Highway 89, 2 miles north of Highway 36 and near the southern entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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