8 of the Best Places to Go Cross-Country Skiing in the Albany, NY Area
One of the best winter sports in the Albany, NY area is cross-country skiing. Not only is it a great way to spend a few hours outdoors, but there are a variety of scenic places where you can enjoy this activity. Check out these top 8 spots for cross-country skiing and plan your visit this season!
Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center
Named "Best in the Mid-Atlantic" and "Best Cross-Country Resort for Families," Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in Northville is well worth the drive for cross-country skiing. Their vast property includes 38 kilometers (approx. 24 miles) of groomed cross-country ski trails that will take you through majestic woods and along waterways. They even have 12 additional kilometers (a little over 7 miles) of ungroomed trails for snowshoeing.
What makes Lapland Lake truly special is their location. They are nestled in a unique snow basin and see plentiful snowfall each year. In fact, the winter season at Lapland Lake frequently begins in November and continues into March. Both first-timers and experienced skiers are welcome, and rentals are available.
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Open year round with free admission, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is an excellent place to go cross-country skiing in Albany. The Pine Bush Preserve features approximately 20 miles of multi-use trails that are marked and considered easy to moderate. Although the trails aren't groomed, many skiers use the preserve, so you can typically expect tracks to follow. Snowshoers are also welcome, but they should stay to the sides of the ski tracks as a courtesy to other visitors.
Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail
Have you ever checked out the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail? This 9-mile rail trail follows the old Delaware & Hudson Railroad between the Port of Albany and Voorheesville, and the entire rail trail is paved and open to the public from dawn to dusk. During winter, the parking areas are plowed to allow trail access for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Please note that the rail trail surface will not be plowed. Parking and one of the trailheads are located on South Pearl Street in Albany.
Capital Hills Golf Course
Located on O'Neil Road in Albany, the Capital Hills Golf Course is a hidden gem cross-country skiing spot. When the course is closed to golfing during the off-season, the grounds are open from dawn to dusk for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. Stop by this winter and explore 10+ kilometers (about 6 miles) of scenic trails at Capital Hills.
The Nordic Center at Gore Mountain
Customize your cross-country ski outing at Gore Mountain's Nordic Center in North Creek. This is one of the few places in the region that makes snow for its cross-country skiers and snowshoers. There are trails for all skill levels, and you can enjoy varying inclines, natural wooded routes, and lighted tracks for skiing in the evening. Gore offers rentals and lessons for beginners as well.
Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area
Explore 35 kilometers (nearly 22 miles) of groomed cross-country ski trails at Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area in Petersburg. Situated at the foothills of the Berkshires and Taconic Mountains and just a quick drive east from Albany, Pineridge features acres of unspoiled wilderness. Visitors can also enjoy night skiing, skate skiing, and snowshoeing on 15 kilometers (a little over 9 miles) of ungroomed trails. Both ski rentals and day passes are available.
The Schenectady County Forest Preserve
Head over to nearby Duanesburg for cross-country skiing in a flat to rolling woodland forest preserve. The Schenectady County Forest Preserve is comprised of 102 acres of native hardwood forest that's open to the public for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. Trailhead parking is on Lake Road, and the Forest Preserve is open from dawn to dusk.
Peebles Island State Park
Soak up the amazing views of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers while cross-country skiing at Peebles Island State Park. Located just north of Albany in Cohoes, Peebles Island features a few different trail routes, including a 1.84-mile Perimeter Trail that will bring you around the property. Throughout winter, the trails are open for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
In addition to Peebles Island, we recommend skiing at some of New York State's other great parks too. Grafton Lakes State Park in Grafton, Thacher State Park in Voorheesville, and Cherry Plain State Park in Petersburg are all outstanding for cross-country skiing.