Skijoring at Itasca State Park

Photo of a woman and her two dogs skijoringNew - Outdoor recreation for you & your dog!

Skijoring: from the Norwegian Skikjøring = ski + Kjøring (driving): A sport in which a skier is drawn over the snow by a dog.

If you enjoy cross country skiing and you enjoy spending time with your dog, get outside this winter for some skijoring! Kick the winter blues as you kick your skis, all while being pulled by your dog along 11.2 km (7 miles) of packed trail specifically designated for skijoring. Skijoring does not require a ski pass.

Map of skijor trails and parking This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Trails:

  1. Wilderness Drive North (from Lake Ozawindib/Wilderness Drive road junction) to Two Spot Trail Junction (2 3/4 miles; 4.4 km)
  2. Two Spot Trail (2 1/4 miles; 3.6 km)
  3. Wilderness Drive West (from Two Spot Trail corner) to Nicollet Trail Junction (2 miles; 3.2 km).

Skijorers—please do not use trails designated for Classic/Skate skiing only.

Parking:

To access parking and skijoring trail area, take Wilderness Drive approximately 2 1/2 miles past the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center. Parking is available along Wilderness Drive North, at the junction with Wilderness Drive and the road to the Lake Ozawindib boat access.

Tips:

Remember, you're not being towed; you are skiing with the dog. Since all dogs have the instinct to pull, being able to handle and direct your dog is important. Being able to cross country ski competently, including being able to stop, makes the sport both enjoyable and safe for both you and your dog.

Skijoring Etiquette:

  • Do not let your dog run loose (including on the trail, in the woods or around the parking area.)
  • Be in control of your dog at all times.
  • Be aware of your dog's behavior, especially around other dogs, people and wildlife.
  • Use trail courtesy. When passing from behind, call "Trail—on your right/left."
  • If being passed, move to one side and pull yourself close to your dog.
  • Use proper equipment, including your skijoring gear (belt, shock-cord bungee lines and harness). Do not use a choke collar while skijoring.
  • Remove dog waste from trail and parking area.