- This is a volunteer ski grooming program run by LRCT.
- All of our trails are open to cross-country skiing. We are grooming some trails to provide free easy access for all levels of skiers.
- Trails will be groomed periodically and as conditions allow.
- Updates will be posted to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s website and Facebook page.
- Grooming may occur at any time, please be aware and step to the side to let groomer pass.
- The trails are not individually rated with a level of difficulty, but are generally easy to moderate.
- Trails are groomed to give skiers a fun place to explore the Castle in the Clouds Conservation area in a different way.
- Please keep in mind our trails are not professionally groomed and can be a little rugged.
- Due to the width and general condition of the trails the optimal skis to use are classic skis (opposed to skate skis).
- What does a “snowmobile packed” trail mean? This means we have driven the snowmobile on the trail to pack down the snow on the trail, but have not dragged the groomer behind the snowmobile which would make the typical “corduroy.”
- Be nice to the trails! It’s hard work for LRCT staff & volunteers to maintain them.
- Trails are groomed for cross-country skiers.
- Snowshoers and leashed dogs, please be respectful of groomed trails and walk along the side. Please, never step on classic tracks.
- No walking or fatbiking.
- Donations to help LRCT maintain the trails are greatly appreciated.
Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area hiking trail maps are available at LRCT’s online store here!
March 17, 2019 Update
Volunteers Ken and Cindy groomed the Settlement Trail out to the midway loop and the Oak Ridge Trail to the viewpoint via the Pond Trail this morning. Expect some variability with the end of season conditions!
March 13, 2019 Update
On Wednesday, March 13th, volunteer Lynne H (with some serious help from her puppy Nell) groomed the Settlement Trail to the midway loop, the Oak Ridge Trail to the viewpoint via the Pond Trail, both pastures, and the wooded trail that connects the top of the pastures.
Hope to see you skiing on the trails during this last official week of winter!
March 12, 2019 Update
On Tuesday, March 12th, our volunteer, Tracey, machine packed the entire Settlement Trail, Oak Ridge Trail to the viewpoint via the Pond Trail, both pasture loops, and the trail through the woods that connects the top of pastures. Fields are a little windblown and icy, but the woods trails are holding up well!
March 8, 2019 Update
Big thanks to volunteers Cindy and Lynne W for some stellar grooming.
Settlement Trail out to the midway loop, Oak Ridge Trail via Pond Trail to the viewpoint, and both pastures are groomed.
March 5, 2019 Update
This morning volunteer duo Tracey and Lynne H used the snowmobile to pack the following trails: Lower Pasture, Upper Pasture, Pasture Connector (trail connecting upper ends of pasture thru the woods), the entire Settlement Trail, and Oak Ridge Trail via the Pond Trail up to the lookout. Tomorrow, two other volunteers hope to get out to groom what was packed today- stay tuned!
Also today, new signs are up reminding non-skiers on how to use the trail. Please, no walking with bare boots or microspikes on the groomed ski trails. Snowshoers PLEASE stay to the side of the trail, as to preserve the flat, groomed surface for skiers.
February 28, 2019 Update
Today we groomed the Settlement Trail to the lollipop loop, around the upper and lower pasture and crossed over the middle pasture. We also groomed the Oak Ridge Trail up to the lookout.
February 27, 2019 Update
Volunteer cross-country ski groomers, Dana, Lynne, other Lynne, Tracey, Cindy, Ken, and Tristan joined LRCT’s Conservation Easement Steward, Leah Hart to refine their skills at our training event.
February 23, 2019 Update
February 22, 2019 Update
On the morning of Friday, February 22nd, we snowmobile packed loops around each of the two pastures, out and back to the turnaround midway on the Settlement Trail, out and back to the view on Oak Ridge Trail via Pond Trail, and a small but very scenic trail (unnamed) that connects to the top of each pasture.
Currently, the groomer (which attaches behind the snowmobile) is lodged in a dense sheet of ice, so until we get it out there will only be snowmobile-packed trails.
Should be lovely spring conditions, opt outside this weekend and enjoy!
February 1, 2019 Update
January 25, 2019 Update
- The drainages that cross the Settlement Trail are flooded and have left wide gaps of flowing water, due to the flooding the trail was unable to be groomed – new snow will be needed to fill in the crossings to groom. The sections between the gaps are in decent shape, were softened a bit by the machine and cleared of branches, but are they pretty littered with tree debris.
- The Pasture Trails are skiable, but they refroze after the rain and became hardpacked and ungroomable. Our snowmobile did very little, if anything at all, to soften up the surface. Snow covered routes through the pastures are there, however, the route between the Lower and Upper Pastures has been diminished due to water/ice. A new section has been machine packed, that had not been packed out this year – it is the road that runs through the woods on the upslope side of the pastures (it runs from the top gate at the Upper Pasture, where the Mt. Robert trail is, around to the top gate at the Lower Pasture). The snow on the route is very nice, though it is a short route. We will continue to groom this trail moving forward.
Turtleback Mountain Trail:
- The Turtleback Mountain Trail has a very large (wide and deep) drainage washout bisecting the trail that are not passible even with the snowmobile, so that route is going to be out for quite a while.
- The Pond Trail has been machine packed, starting at the dam, and onto the Oak Ridge Trail.
Oak Ridge Trail:
- The Oak Ridge Trail has been machine packed all the way to the lookout. This route is in great shape and is currently the best skiing available, even though it is only packed out and not yet groomed. We will continue to groom this route as conditions provide, and probably forgo managing the section from the outlook down to the Turtleback Mountain Trail.
January 11, 2019 Update
With all the recent snow, we have started to groom a few trails at the Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area for cross country skiing.
Stay tuned for more information and updates on this volunteer ski grooming program this winter on our facebook page and website! Here is our latest update:
- Pasture Trail: From the Hiker Parking lot through the horse pastures to the Mt. Roberts Trail at the top of the Upper Pasture. Machine packed on 1/10, not groomed.
- Pasture Loop: Around the Upper Pasture. Machine packed on 1/10, not groomed.
- Mt. Roberts Trail: From the start of the trail to the junction with the Pasture Trail at the top of the Upper Pasture. Machine packed on 1/10, not groomed.
- Settlement Trail: The entire trail. Machine packed on 1/10, not groomed.