Slide into those boots and click into those skis because winter is here and it’s time to hit the trails. Fairbanks gets cold, so what better way to stay warm – and avoid cabin fever – than cross country skiing? Luckily there are lots of trails in and near the city that are maintained for non-motorized use and often groomed for skiing.

Birch Hill Recreation Area

The extensive trail system at Birch Hill is maintained by the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks. The trails were first made by Jim Whisenhant in the 1970s and have been upgraded several times since for competitions including the Arctic Winter Games and Junior Olympics. The upgrades for these events and continued maintenance of dedicated individuals makes this a premier area for skiing.

There are more than 40 kilometers of trails wending throughout this 200 acre recreation area. About 10 kilometers of trails are lighted in the evenings. There are also several buildings on site, including a warming hut and a ski center with long hours in the winter.

The Nordic Ski Club also maintains a great list of other cross country skiing trails in the Fairbanks area.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The university has more than 20 km of groomed ski trails and 3 km of ungroomed trails. The hexagonal ski hut at the entrance to the trail system on the West Ridge of campus offers a place to wax skis, mingle, or simply warm up. But there’s no bathroom in the hut. Go on a short ski on the criss-crossed trails or make a longer loop on the trails father from campus. A portion of the trails are lighted.

If you’d prefer your dog gets some work instead of you, there’s a skijoring trail maintained by the university near the cross country trails.

Skarland System

The trails on the University of Alaska Fairbanks overlap with the Skarland system cross country skiing trails. The Skarland system is north of the university and winds through residential neighborhoods. Some northern sections of the trails are more hilly than the trails that can be found on campus.

Creamer’s Field

The recreational skijoring association in interior Alaska maintains about eight kilometers of trails that tie into a larger network of dog mushing trails. The Creamer’s Field trails are relatively flat

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