Snow Depth and Groomed Trail Conditions

McCarthy Beach State Park

Trail conditions:

Snowmobile Trails ? The Taconite and Tim Cory State Trail, as well as the Ridge Top trail offer a nice circle loop with other grant in aid snowmobile trails in the area. Watch ice conditions on area lakes as slush may be present on top of the ice. Limited trailer parking available in front of the enclosed picnic shelter.

Cross Country Ski Trails - The campground and Lake Shore trail offers a nice mixed pine forest and is a great beginners trail for those who want a gentle ski. Park in the small parking area next to the office and walk towards the main road. The trail starts across from the dumpsters. The Big Hole trail loop is an advanced trail that offers avid skiers a backcountry workout with long rolling hillsides in the pines. Park at the Ski Trail Rd parking area off Hwy 5, the trail starts off in the corner of the parking lot through the young pine stand.Reminder that ski passes are required when cross-country skiing on public lands. Daily and Annual ski passes can be purchased at any ELS station. (Locally Side Lake Store and CC Store.)

Snowshoes - Explore the lake shoreline and mixed pine forest stands of the park. Snowshoes can go off trail and create your own path through the woods. Reminder to be respectful and stay off groomed cross-country ski trails and snowmobile corridors.
Updated 1/24/23

Trail conditions: fair
Trail groomed? yes
Trail base: 12"
Trail mileage: 5
Difficulty: beg. to int. (track)  
Trail conditions: excellent
Trail groomed? yes
Trail base: 10"
Trail mileage: 7

The trail(s):
The trail system winds through birch and pine forests, with rolling hills and steep ravines. Deer, grouse and songbirds can often be seen, plus the occasional wolf track.
You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as skiing or snowmobiling.


  • Ski passes can be purchased from area businesses with ELS registration systems.

McCarthy Beach State Park home page »

Last updated on January 24, 2023. Local snow depth is 30".

Getting there

7622 McCarthy Beach Road
Side Lake, MN 55781

From Hibbing, take Highway 169 north to County Road 5. Head northwest for 15 miles on County Road 5 to Side Lake. The park office is one mile west on the McCarthy Beach Road. To reach the ski trail parking lot, continue north on Hwy 5 instead of turning. The Ski Trail Road is one mile north of Side Lake on the left. The parking lot is 100 yards in on the right. No facilities are available at this parking lot.


Phone: 218-274-7200
Email: [email protected]
Contact hours vary through the winter. Please leave a message and someone will return your call.

More Info

Skiing »
Ski pass »
Snowmobiling »