The Red Lake District Cross-Country Ski Club maintains over 40 km of cross country ski trails including the McKenzie Island Trails, the Golf Course Trails in Balmertown and Centennial Park in Red Lake. The various trails offer classic and skate-skiing and range from 4-12 km long. Skiers can purchase their annual registrations at Red Lake Outfitters. Ski and boot rentals are also available at the Red Lake Outfitters storefront located on Highway 105 in Red Lake. Please visit their rates page or call 807-727-9797. Keep up to date with club happening on Facebook.
McKenzie Island Trails
With well over 30 kilometers of trail constructed in a series of loops, it's easy to tailor your skiing to your personal fitness level and time schedule. The trails cross a variety of habitats, from mixed wood forest to black spruce and jack pine stands to wetland areas. Be on the lookout for wildlife, you never know what creature you will happen upon. Look for signs of wolf, moose and a wide variety of birds. The trails are well-marked and each loop is colour-coded, but be certain to review the map prior to your ski to become familiar with the trail system. The McKenzie Island Trails support skiing in both directions, so remember that the person on the uphill yields the person coming downhill.
To get to the McKenzie island trailhead, first make your way to the island by travelling the ice road from either Red Lake (road begins at the Government Docks) or from Cochenour. Once on the island, signs will help lead the way to the trailhead and parking area. Please remember, you are not just sharing the trails with nature, but also with the mining and exploration companies that own the land. Ski safely and be respectful of private property.
The Golf Course Trails
The Club is fortunate to be able to ski the trails at the Golf Course. The single loop trail can be found along the fairways and open wooded paths making it ideal for fitness and training. The slopes are gentle on this 4 km loop. Since you will be skiing in the open, you can often ski in the evening if the moon is out. Just dress in layers as it can get windy. Parking is available at the corner of Highway 125 and Nungesser Road. Please remember to stay on the trails so not to ruin the golf course.
Centennial Park Trails
The loop at Centennial Park is located in the green space between the Red Lake Recreation Centre and the Red Lake District Heritage Centre and is great for beginner skiers. In fact, this is where the Jack Rabbit program is held each winter. The program teaches kids aged 4-14 years the basics of cross-country skiing. Park at the Red Lake Recreation Centre. The trailhead is located through the metal gate at the south side of the parking area.
For winter enthusiasts that are looking to get away from it all the region boasts incredible opportunities. Red Lake Outfitters offer daily shuttle service to dozens of trail heads in the area and can help outfit you in skis and help plan your full day or multi-day trip. Try renting a hot tent and make it a weekend getaway.
For more information on the trails in Red Lake, contact the Red Lake District Cross Country Ski Club. Ontario's Sunset Country has many really great winter recreation opportunities. Besides cross-country skiing you can also try snowmobiling, ice fishing, or even dog sledding. Visit our website for operators open in the winter.