Arrowhead Golf Course, which becomes the Arrowhead Nordic Center when conditions are right in the winter, is a gem for cross-country skiers in the western suburbs. With rentals and lessons available, it’s one of the few places south of Wisconsin for beginning skiers to learn the sport. The groomed trails are great for both classic and skate skiers, and while the golf course is relatively exposed, you can easily access the Herrick Lake Forest Preserve next door, which offers some very nice tree-line trails that are also groomed for both classic and skating.
What Makes It Great
The trails on the golf course, though, are still very good. The 27-hole course offers plenty of room, with lots of ups and downs and several decent size hills to challenge you.
Because of the groomed trails, you’ll find lots of skate skiers at Arrowhead. It may indeed be the top spot in the area for those who are training for the American Birkebeiner or other ski races in Wisconsin. If weather cooperates, it’s also the home of the one of the few ski races in Illinois, organized by the Northern Illinois Nordic Club. But don’t be intimidated. You’ll find just as many—if not more—beginners and families out on a nice winter day.
The facility is owned and operated by the Wheaton Park District, and the relatively new building that serves as a clubhouse and rental shop is spectacular. It also features a bar and restaurant with excellent food and great views of the skiing for when your day is done.
For those who like to go fast, the groomed trails at Arrowhead offer one of the best places to do so in the area. You’ll also get a good workout conquering the hills on the up-and-down trails. They’re a good workout for veteran skiers but not too tough for beginners.
Take advantage of Herrick Lake. Just follow any trail towards the woods-line at the edge of the golf course and you will be able to hop onto the trails there. The main trail system makes a lopsided figure eight, with a big south loop below a smaller north loop. The trails closest to Herrick Lake are all tree covered and offer some nice rolling hills. On the south side of the bottom loop, you’ll run through more wide-open prairie.
At the west side of the bottom loop is the connector trail to the Danada Forest Preserve, which continues to that preserve by crossing under Naperville Road. All in all it’s pretty easy to put together 12 miles of trails to be skied in addition to the five to six miles on the golf course.
Who is Going to Love It
Arrowhead really does have something for everyone. If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing before, rent a pair of skis and give it a try. You may just be joining those training for the Birkie before you know it.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The golf course is located at 26w151 Butterfield Rd. in Wheaton. Parking at the Arrowhead is easy.
Ski hours are from 9 a.m. to dust Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to dusk on the weekends.
There must be six inches of snow to ski at Arrowhead. Watch for the flags on the course—green means open for skiing, red means it’s closed.
No trail pass is needed for Arrowhead, just pop on your skis and go. A rental package of skis, boots and poles is $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. (You can also rent equipment à la cart).