Cross country skiing is available on a number of beautiful trails all over the southwestern Pennsylvania area.
In the winter, Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County makes most of its trails available for cross-country skiing. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recommends using trails that are not rated as “difficult.” One of the best trails is, of course, the Cross-Country skiing trail. It's about two miles long and there is a warming area with a fireplace at Shelter 6. Also, among the easier trails are the Appaloosa Trail, Appaloosa Spur and the Pinto Loop.
Close to home, fairly flat and completely free, the 40 completed miles of the Montour Trail are open to cross country skiers throughout the winter. As expected, the skiing is best after a decent snowfall. But because the trail is also used by walkers, cyclists and other pedestrians, xcountry tracks are not always tamped down or in very good shape. The Panhandle Trail, running from Walkers Mill near Carnegie to Weirton, WV, is also open to cross country skiers.
This 13,625-acre state park is located high along the Laurel Mountain ridge with some of the best cross country snow conditions in southwestern Pennsylania. The Laurel Ridge Ski Center is open from November to April and operates over 30 km of trails based on snowfall, for every level of skier from beginner to advanced, to back-country enthusiast. There are different cross country ski trails to choose from, with both Classical or Diagonal track skiing, plus wider lanes for Skate skiing. There is a fee to ski the maintained, color-coded ski trails when the center is open – $6 for Adults and $3 for kids 12 and under (no fee when the center is closed). You can also rent equipment. The Pennsylvania Cross country Skier’s Association (PACCSA) maintains a webcam to check snow conditions.
Ohiopyle covers more than 20,000 acres in Fayette County and boasts millions of visitors each year. While best known for its hiking and whitewater rafting, each winter more than 30 miles of trails are available for cross country, including the Sproul Trails which were specifically developed for cross-country skiing. One of the easiest trails is the Kentuck Trail. The Great Allegheny Passage, with its mostly level surface, is also a good option for cross country.
During the summer months, Lake Arthur is the main draw at beautiful Moraine State Park. But once the snow falls, the beautifully maintained trails at Moraine are a great place for cross country skiing, as well as snowshoeing. The Pleasant Valley and Sunken Garden trails are the most popular for cross country, with about six miles of total trails available for skiing.