Winter recreation in Madison Parks is in full swing! Trails are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and frozen lagoons and ice rinks are ready for skating.

Madison Parks offers seven designated cross-country ski trails, four that are free-to-use and three which require a daily or annual Cross-Country Ski Permit that may be purchased online or by calling the Parks Admin Office at 608-266-4711. The permit is also valid at designated trails in Dane County Parks. Grooming on the ski trails occurs as conditions allow and more frequently at the fee-based locations, which are Elver, Odana Hills and Yahara Hills. The Parks website ( is the best place to see which trails are open and the latest grooming date, as well as the status of all winter recreation opportunities and events. Madison Parks Winter Activities

Elver Park continues to be a winter recreation destination. In addition to the cross-country ski trails, the ever-popular sledding hill and two skating rinks, new this year is a designated snowshoe trail. The trail was designed by MadNorSki volunteers and provides snowshoe access with little disruption to the groomed ski trails. Also, new this year, snowshoes for adults and children are available to rent from the Elver Park shelter. Snowshoes are also available to rent from Vilas Park, which offers hourly and daily rentals, allowing the user to try snowshoeing for an extended period of time.

Just like Elver Park, Tenney and Vilas parks are also staffed Wednesday through Sunday offering ice skate rentals, as conditions allow. To help keep staff and visitors safe during the pandemic, additional outdoor seating was added, while the traditional warming shelters at these locations remain closed and no concessions are available.

Returning this year are “loaner skates,” these are free-to-borrow ice skates at four parks. Olbrich, Rennebohm, Warner and Westmorland parks each have a small supply of ice skates you can borrow while at the park. The sizes and quantities vary at each location.
Parks- Vilas

If you haven’t experienced skating at night, Parks staff highly recommend attending a Groove & Glide. These free Friday night events make the most of winter by offering fun music and games as you skate under the stars and lights. This Friday, January 28, Vilas Park will host one of three remaining Groove & Glide events. Olbrich and Elver parks will finish out the season in February. Other upcoming events include Skate Cinema and Learn to Curl with Madison Curling Club both happening on Saturday, February 12 at Tenney Park. Keep up to date by checking out the Parks’ Winter Fun website.

I hope you get a chance to get outside and enjoy some winter fun in our wonderful Madison Parks!

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.