Skiing and Snowshoeing at the Arboretum


The Arboretum is prepared for snow and the skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking season. We have designated over 10 miles of ski trails for winter. Winter hiking and snowshoeing is permitted on Arboretum trails unless otherwise posted in the field. The official ski map is posted at the Visitor Center, at trailheads and at some trail intersections.Winter hiking is permitted on all Arboretum trails unless otherwise posted in the field.

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

Where can I ski or snowshoe?

Skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on designated routes as marked in red on the official ski map. In Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, ski and snowshoe trails are marked with blue-tipped stakes. We do not groom our ski trails and they are multi-use. Where possible, please avoid snowshoeing in ski tracks. Do not go off trail–compacted snow and ice damages plants, even in winter.

Where can I snowshoe?

Snowshoeing is permitted on trails only. In Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, snowshoeing is permitted on marked trails only—follow the blue-tipped stakes. Do not go off trail, because compacted snow and ice damages plants, even in winter.

Where can I hike?

As always, hiking is permitted on trails only. Hikers may use ski trails as well as footpaths marked with red-tipped stakes or international hiker signs. Where possible, please avoid hiking in ski tracks. To protect Arboretum land, 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 stormwater runoff, for example). Sensitive restoration areas or newly seeded areas are also off limits to skiing and snowshoeing. For your safety and to protect our restorations, use only designated and marked trails.

What are those “sticks” blocking trails?

The sticks mark narrow and/or sensitive trails that are closed to skiing, but open to hiking.

We encourage you to enjoy winter at the Arboretum while cooperating with our trail use policy and posted 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.