Make tracks

Middleton is home to some of the area’s best cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.

The 519-acre Pheasant Branch Conservancy is another great spot for a snowshoe stroll. Take the trail up Frederick’s Hill and enjoy expansive views – you can even see the state Capitol. Even in winter, the wildlife here is abundant and the variety of terrain makes for an interesting hike. In order to protect restoration efforts for the prairie lands, snowshoers are required to stay on the trails.

CXC Outdoor Recreation and Sports Center (CXC Center) trails are groomed for both skating and diagonal striding. Facilities are open Dec. 14, 2021 through March 31, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Use of the cross-country ski trail system requires the purchase of a trail pass (December-March only). City of Middleton residents receive a 50 percent discount by purchasing tickets at City Hall or via online. Only cross-country skiing is allowed on the cross-country ski trail system.

Mountain bike trails will remain free on the CXC trails.

Directions to the trailhead and parking: from Highway 14, go south to the end of Schwartz Road, take a right at the end of the Schwartz Road to the CXC Outdoor Recreation and Sports Center access drive. Parking lot located at the end of the access drive. No parking is allowed on the access drive. If parking lot is full, please park along Schwartz Road at the bottom and walk up.

Download a printable cross-country ski map here.

Just a short drive from Middleton, Governor Nelson State Park is home to 8.4 miles of hiking trails that convert to easy to moderate cross-country ski trails in the winter. A day pass for a Wisconsin resident is just $8.