Skiing and Snowshoeing in the Arboretum


The snow has arrived—with a vengeance, and the Arboretum is prepared for snow and the skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking season.

We have designated more than 10 miles of ski trails for winter 2010-2011. Winter hiking and snowshoeing is permitted on Arboretum trails unless otherwise posted in the field. The official ski map is posted in the Visitor Center and at trailheads.

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand our winter trail use policy and the reasons for it:

Where can I ski?
Skiing is permitted on designated routes as marked on the official ski map. Routes are marked in the field with “ski” and “not a ski trail” signs. Skiing is permitted in Longenecker Gardens on marked trails only—follow the yellow-tipped stakes. We do not groom the ski trails, and they are multi-use.

Where can I snowshoe?
Snowshoeing is permitted on trails only. In Longenecker Gardens, snowshoeing is permitted on marked trails only—follow the black and yellow-tipped stakes. Do not go off trail, because compacted snow and ice damages plants, even in winter.

Where can I hike?
Hiking is permitted on trails only. Hikers may use ski trails or footpaths marked with poetry sticks or international hiker signs. To protect our restorations, do not hike off trail.

Why are some trails closed this year?
Several trails are closed because of hazardous conditions or conditions that change often (with storm water runoff, for example). Sensitive restoration areas or newly seeded areas are also off limits to skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. For your safety and to protect our restorations, use only designated and marked trails.

What are those “poetry sticks” blocking trails?
The poetry sticks mark narrow and/or sensitive trails that are closed to skiing, but open to hiking. Thanks to the assistant rangers for creating winter poetry!

Enjoy winter at the Arboretum—and thank you for observing our trail use policy and using the approved trails.

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.