Enjoying winter sports like cross-country skiing is certainly not a problem in northeast Indiana, and it’s looking as though this season is going to provide the 4 inches of snow necessary for skiing at local parks.

Two local county parks and four state parks are within driving distance – under 60 minutes – and all provide cross-country skiing trails.

Cross Country Skiing in Fort Wayne

ski rental

Fox Island

7324 Yohne Rd., Fort Wayne

260-449-3180

A 605-acre park located in southwest Allen County with 270 acres dedicated as a state nature preserve, this is a beautiful and serene spot to cross-country ski.

The park boasts seven miles of marked trails throughout the preserve and over six miles are available for cross-country skiing (as long as there are four or more inches of snow on the ground).

Equipment rental: Available on a limited basis. When the rental equipment is not available, skiers can still ski, but must bring their own equipment.

Cross country skiiers have a choice of several state and county parks to practice their sport.

Metea County Park

8401 Union Chapel Rd., Fort Wayne

260-449-3777

This 250-acre park near Leo-Cedarville contains the 120-acre Meno-aki State Nature Preserve and offers cross-country skiers the beauty and tranquility of the preserve and Cedar Creek, a state-designated scenic river.

Equipment rental: A limited number of ski equipment is available for rental at a small additional cost.

The entrance to the southern portion of the park is off Union Chapel Road near its intersection with Leo Road (SR 1). The northern portion of the park can be accessed off Hursh Road between Puff and Halter Roads.

For both parks:

  • Dates:
    • Monday after the 1st Sunday in November – the 2nd Sunday in March: 9 am – 6 pm
    • Monday after the 2nd Sunday in March – Memorial Day: 9 am – 7 pm
       
  • Ski Rental Hours: Both Fox Island and Metea County Parks offer ski rentals from 10 am – 4 pm. (Rentals end at 4 pm so all skiers are accounted for before dark.)
     
  • Daily ski conditions can be found here on the Allen County Parks homepage. A stoplight system will alert skiers to the conditions: Green: It’s a go! Come out and ski and equipment rental is available; Red: Conditions are not favorable for skiing; Yellow: Equipment is not available for rent, but skiers can bring their own equipment and ski at their own risk.
     
  • Rental prices: $6 per hour for adults and $5 per hour for children 12 and under. The parks do not take debit or credit cards, only cash or checks. Limited sizes are available, especially at Metea County Park.
     
  • Both Fox Island and Metea County Parks offer trails that are marked off for skiing, as does Payton County Park. Remember to wait until there are 4 or more inches of snow on the ground.

ACRES Nature Preserves

Visitors are welcome to bring skis and snowshoes to ACRES nature preserves, as long as they stay on the trails. However, ACRES does not have any designated skiing trails, so remember to keep an eye out and share the trails with hikers! You can take your pick of scenery, as there are 10 different preserves in Allen County alone. Find an ACRES nature preserve.

Downtown Trails

Looking for a more urban backdrop? Bring your own cross-country skis and take to the trails at Headwaters Park! Located in downtown Fort Wayne, Headwaters Park offers open spaces for skiing just steps away from delicious dining, attractions, and even the outdoor ice skating rink.

Cross Country Skiing in Headwaters Park
Pictured: Cross-Country Skiing at Headwater Park in Downtown Fort Wayne

State Parks Nearby 

Chain O’Lakes State Park

2355 E 75S (Just off S.R. 9), Albion

Hours: Change seasonally; for current hours, call the park office at 260-636-2654.

Located on 2,718 acres in Noble County, 19 miles northwest of Fort Wayne, with nine connecting lakes, with 10 miles of forested trails, this park offers cross-country skiers a paradise of scenic trails, lakes, and wildlife.

Take I-69 to U.S. 33 to S.R. 9 – about 40 minutes.

Pokagon State Park

450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola

(260) 833-3506

Hours: Labor Day to Memorial Day: Monday-Friday, 1-5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, some holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Equipment rental: Weekends at the Civilian Conservation Corps shelter for $8 hour, adults and $5 hour, 15 and younger.

The park has three cross-country skiing trails, totaling 7 miles.

Salamonie Lake/Reservoir

9214 Lost Bridge Road W.
Andrews, IN 46702

(260) 468-2125

Take West Jefferson Boulevard West and US-24 West – a 40 mile or 51-minute drive

Winter Hours: Nov. 1 through March 31: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, closed Tuesday.

With nine trails ranging from 0.4 to 40 miles in length, it offers several levels of experience for cross-country skiers.

This post was originally written in 2018, and has been updated.