The North Shore of Massachusetts is full of beautiful scenery, lush forests, and snaking Nordic skiing trails. Both professional and recreational cross-country skiers can appreciate the dozens of sinuous paths that wind their way through the historic region. Below, we have detailed a few of our favorites—they surprise and delight year after year, and we hope you have the opportunity to experience them.
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary—Topsfield
Length: 12 Miles
This wildlife sanctuary is composed of a series of interconnecting trails—skiers can experience forests, meadows, and wetlands in the course of a single outing. The trail is also home to several endemic bird species, including owls, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. Crossing through the wetlands? Watch for river otters, painted turtles, and great blue herons.
Martin H. Burns Wildlife Management Area—Essex
Length: 3.4 Miles
Once used for a trolley line, this trail winds its way through a heavily-wooded 1,555-acre wildlife area. The trail ends before reading busy I-95, making for a quiet and peaceful ride. Skiers can glimpse deer, fox, beaver, and several bird species. Looking to extend your ride? Riders can choose to take one of two wide trails leading toward Newbury, and a connection can be made heading in the direction of the Merrimack River.
Length: 10 Miles
These trails link three major hills—Shrub Hill, Boston Hill, and Holt Hill. If you hike to the top of these hills, beautiful “Solstice Stones” mark the summits. Holt Hill is the highest point in Essex County. These ten miles of easy/moderate trails make for a wonderful place to spend a sunny, snowy day. The trails themselves are part of the larger Bay Circuit Trail, which is a greenway linking the North and South Shores of Massachusetts.
Bald Hill Reservation—Boxford
This quick and easy trail is perfect for beginning Nordic skiers. It touches on parts of North Andover, Boxford, and Middleton, winding through Ball Hill’s 1,700 acres of forested land. The conservation area is home to white-tailed deer, fisher, mink, otter, and several species of birds.
Discover Your Own Favorite Trail for North Shore Cross-Country Skiing