While you can cross-country ski in just about any forest preserve in Cook County, there’s only one place to learn the sport for the first time—Camp Sagawau, which is located in southwest suburban Lemont and close to the Palos Trail System.
The facility offers rentals, lessons and groomed trails to help anyone get started with cross-country skiing. And for those more experienced skiers, the trail system includes a 1.3K trail that will offer a bit of a challenge.
In Wheaton, the Arrowhead Golf Course becomes the Arrowhead Nordic Center once the snow falls, and it is a gem for cross-country skiers in the western suburbs. Rentals are available, and the groomed trails are great for both classic and skate skiers. Once you realize you love the sport, head to the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, You may be able to find other trails like this in northern Wisconsin or Michigan, but this is one of the best cross-country ski experiences you can find within a couple of hours of Chicago.