Independence Oaks County Park: Cross-Country Ski Trails
There are some serious slopes at Independence Oaks. Who knew Oakland County could be so hilly?
When there is sufficient snow, usually from early January to early March, the park grooms more than 7 miles of trail for both classic and skate skiing. Once groomed and tracked, these trails are open only to Nordic skiers but the park has three other winter trails; Habitat Trail, All Visitors Loop andRiver Loop, that are open to all activities including snowshoeing, walking and visitors with dogs.
Most of the ski trails have a posted direction of travel but the Lakeshore Loop has two-way travel on the west side of Crooked Lake, allowing skiers to begin at either the Boat House that serves as the ski and snowshoe rental office in the winter or the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center parking lot.
The park’s most challenging trails are Springlake Loop and Ted Gray Trail which are combined for a 3.6-mile loop from the Ski Rental Office and include seven downhill slopes including a wicked dogleg hill on Ted Gray. Lucky for beginners and novice skiers, Independence Oaks' most popular trail is Lakeshore Loop, an easy 2.4-mile run that is rarely out of view of Crooked Lake and features only two minor downhill slopes.
The Ski Rental Office also doubles up as a warming center during the winter with heated restrooms while outside the park maintains a fire and picnic tables overlooking the skating rink. Both cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for rent when there is sufficient snow while on most Saturdays in January and February ski lessons are offered.
Early and late in the season or during those January thaws it’s important to call the park office (248-625-0877) to double check if the trails are groomed or if the rental office is open.
|Difficulty - Easy|
|Difficulty - Challenging|
|Difficulty - Moderate|
|Groomed Classic Skiing|
|Groomed Skate Skiing|