Your guide to winter sports in Middleton

Nobody wants to be stuck inside all winter — thankfully, there are some great places to play in the snow (or on the ice) in Middleton. Here’s a quick guide to some of the area’s outdoor recreation options.

When the snow flies, a great place to get out and take in the scenery is Pleasant View Golf Course, which is groomed for skate and diagonal skiing when there’s a minimum of 2 inches of snow (depending on whether there’s an established base). Skiers can explore great views—you can even see the state Capitol building in nearby Madison — along 8 miles of trails open to all skill levels. No trail fee is required. Check in for updates on trail conditions here and click here to view an updated trails map.

Fat-tire biking can also be done on the trails at Pleasant View, but users are asked to stay off of ski trails.

Snowshoeing is welcome on park and Pheasant Branch Conservancy trails and there will also be a designated snowshoe trail at the CXC Outdoor Recreation & Sports Center (which broke ground fall 2021), located near Pleasant View Golf Course. In order to protect the revitalized prairie landscape in the conservancy, snowshoeing is not allowed off trails and cross-country; it is also not allowed on the golf course.

The city of Middleton also has groomed trails at Lakeview Park, open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the latest conditions, visit the Madison Nordic Ski Club website (click on “Trail Conditions” under Trails in the top menu).

A short drive from Middleton, visitors will find Governor Nelson State Park, a scenic spot on the north shore of Lake Mendota. In the winter, more than 5 miles of the park’s hiking trails are tracked for diagonal skiers and groomed for skate skiers. Most of the trails are easy to moderate in difficulty, and some have hills with challenging turns. The multiuse trail is also open to snowshoers and leashed pets (including skijoring). A daily park pass is $8 for Wisconsin residents and $11 for out-of-staters.

Another great spot for a winter hike or snowshoe is the 519-acre Pheasant Branch Conservancy on the north side of Middleton. Trek up to the top of Frederick’s Hill for a panoramic view of your surroundings, including Lake Mendota to the south and east and Madison and the state Capitol across the water.

Several of Middleton’s parks have ice skating facilities, including Parkside Heights Park, Meadows Park, Stricker Pond, Tiedeman Pond, Middleton Hills Pond, Orchid Heights Park and Esser Pond.

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