Winter Recreation in Eau Claire
When Eau Claire gets covered underneath a blanket of snow, it becomes a whole new land of winter play and fun. There are trails to glide on and hills to slide down on too. And here, there is no such thing as "too cold". When you want to play in the snow, it's ready for you and hopes that you've brought your hat and mittens. If you're ready to experience winter our way, the snow, the great outdoors, and Eau Claire await you. Here's what you can expect to do in our cool city during the good ol' Wisconsin winters.
Fun fact to kick the winter fun off: Tower Ridge is the largest cross-country ski trail complex in both Eau Claire County and in west central Wisconsin. It offers about 12 miles of ski trails with varying terrains and difficulties for skiers of all levels. The groomed ski trails include wooded and rolling terrain for you to move on. Tower Ridge also boasts another 3 km of lighted trails and a snowshoe trail adjacent to but separate from the ski trails. Whatchya waiting for? Let's rise and glide! >> Trail Map
Get in! We're going snowshoeing in Town of Union! Pop your snowshoes in the trunk and type in "Town of Union Conservancy" in the GPS. Here you will find some of the most beautiful views of the Chippewa Valley from above. The trails at the conservancy weave through trees and bushes to bring you up to the most spectacular lookout of the Chippewa River. As tree branches are weighed down by snow and the skies are crystal clear, take a moment to sit back and enjoy this peaceful and picture perfect moment. Another bonus stop for winter peace and serenity in the area is Sherman Creek Park. It's another little winter oasis in which you can listen to the trickle of water in the creek, hear the snow crunch beneath your feet and just be.
If you are looking for a winter recreation wonderland, it's undoubtedly Pinehurst Park. It's Eau Claire's one stop park to ski, snowboard, sled, snowshoe and skate. Pinehurst is actually in the midst of some renovations because they understand how important it is to have some fun in the outdoors during all the seasons. This is the place for rad snowboarders, avid skiers, and families who just want to have their own winter adventure. After a full day here, you're bound to want to come home and kick your feet up with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.
Jelly Bean Hill
This one is an unmarked gem in the Chippewa Valley. Located behind Altoona Family Restaurant, Jelly Bean Hill calls out for some serious, hearty sledding. An afternoon racing down this hill and taking tumbles at the bottom will fill your heart with joy and bring out your inner child. Plus, once you work up an appetite after climbing up and down the hill, Altoona Family Restaurant is just a few steps away ready to warm you up with a delicious plate of warm food.
Beaver Creek Reserve is located a few miles from Eau Claire in Fall Creek, WI. It offers about 400 acres of diverse habitats along with approximately 9 miles of trails. Here you can get some cross-country skiing in along with some snowshoeing too! If you don't have the equipment, Beaver Creek has you covered. You can rent equipment for $3 a pair and you'll be ready to hit the trails. If you're unsure about trail conditions, give them a call at 715-877-2212 to ask what it looks like out there. Beaver Creek also offers instructional classes for beginners along with candlelight snowshoe hikes. Due to COVID-19, winter offerings and events are subject to change, so it's best to call ahead and double check.
There is no such thing as the winter blues in the Chippewa Valley and especially in River Prairie. Located along the Eau Claire River, River Prairie is the ultimate hub. There's good food, epic views, and of course, loads of winter fun. Since you're in the Kubb capital of North America, you might as well play a game, right? River Prairie is the place to do it. The park is equipped with enough open space to set up your group's pitch and play well into dusk. The twinkly lights lit throughout the park set the tone for a fun winter evening in Altoona too. When you're all "kubbed" out, treat yourself to a warm and hearty plate of food from River Prairie's surrounding restaurants like Za 51, 44 North, or Cowboy Jack's!
When you want to explore winter somewhere new but don't want to head too far from home, make a trip to Osseo, WI. You'll find the Buffalo River State Trail here. The river was named by early French explorers as Riviere de Beeufs because way back when, many bison used to inhabit that area. The trail in its entirety is about 36 miles and runs all the way from Mondovi, WI to Fairchild, WI. If you have a snowmobile, this is definitely where you want to be. The trail is not groomed in the winter and makes for the freshest snow to drag your skis through. It also allows for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing but, be cautious and careful. Those traveling by foot must share the trail with snowmobiles. Always make sure you practice winter recreation safely wherever you are and whatever you're doing. >> Trail Map
You know what is 250 acres worth of pure winter fun? You guessed it: Lowes Creek County Park. Here, there is a trail or track for all. Lowes Creek has approximately 5 miles of double-track cross country ski trails and over 13 miles of narrow and challenging single track trails. If you're cruising on the single track, you can expect to hit all four corners of the park while weaving through pine trees and crossing creekbeds. The trails at Lowes Creek are multi-use so the single tracks trails are open in the winter for mountain biking and snowshoeing. But if you're not skiing, make sure to stay off groomed trails. See? Told you there's a trail for all! >> Trail Map
All Things Icy
The city of Eau Claire rightfully gets its name from the French translation for "clear water" as two rivers run through the city and meet in the heart of downtown. Plus, the entire Chippewa Valley is home to several bodies of water that freeze over in the winters but continue to call out the names of fishing fanatics. Fishermen can drill their ice holes all winter long at Half Moon Lake, Lake Altoona, or Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls. There's even an annual ice fishing contest on Lake Wissota each February, Jig's Up, where people gather for some ice fishing, raffles, and a pure good time. If it's sliding and gliding on the ice that brings you joy, then Eau Claire has that too. You can lace up your skates and find boarded ice rinks at Pinehurst Park, Putnam Heights Elementary School, and Roosevelt Elementary School. So, what's cooler than being cool? Being ice cold in Eau Claire, WI!
Eau Claire has a "Wintermission" each year; that is for locals and visitors to be able to simply stay active and spend time outdoors even when snow covers streets and trails. To deliver their mission, the city created a 4-mile winter recreation path that is plowed with high priority after snow hits the ground. While you walk, jog, or run the path, you'll pass through the historic Randall Park Neighborhood, UW-Eau Claire's beautiful campus, and our city's favorite: Phoenix Park. So, take your walk on the path and discover some of the best winter scenes you can get in Eau Claire, WI. >> Route Map
We want a part of your winter adventures this season! Capture your best winter recreation memories in Eau Claire and tag us with #eauwinter and #captureec!