Onondaga County Parks

Winter Activities

Click here for updated Ski/Snowshoe Condition Reports »

Click here for Winter Activities at Beaver Lake Nature Center, Baldwinsville

Highland Forest Park
, Fabius

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

Highland Forest offers 30 miles of ski trails, 19 of which are groomed daily, and 23 miles of snowshoeing trails; featuring varying terrain for all ability levels.

Cross-Country Trail Descriptions:

  • Skate Loop A . 5 miles; Skate Loop B 2 miles; Skate Loop C 4 miles • groomed
    Difficulty on these trails range from Easier to Most Difficult.
  • Northview Loop .5 miles • track set
    A short, flat, meandering, wooded route perfect for the beginner and young children.
  • Westwind Loop 4 miles • track set
    The Park’s most popular trail for brave beginners, families with young children, and a quick aerobic workout features mild elevation changes, long straight runs, plenty of solitude, and double-tracked grooming for an ideal recreation experience.
  • Southside Loop 6.2 miles • track set
    This signature run for advanced skiers has lots of hills and an invigorating half mile downhill stretch.
  • Southside Extension 8.9 miles • ungroomed
    A continuation of the Southside Loop takes advanced skiers into the back country.
  • East Rim Loop 4.3 miles • ungroomed
    This trail is for conditioned, experienced skiers. It offers scenic views through most of its length as well as a steep 0.8 mile downhill run.

Park maps are available at Skyline Lodge. During ski season the Adirondack-Style Skyline Lodge serves food and drink on weekends and a volunteer Nordic Ski Patrol monitors the beautiful snow covered trails. Please note: Dogs are not permitted on the ski trails during ski season.

Learn how to cross-country ski this winter... Ski lessons available, weather permitting, Saturdays & Sundays, mid December - February. Lessons are available at 9am, by appointment only. The $25 price includes equipment rental; lesson is $10 if you have your own equipment. A Day Pass is required and can be purchased at either the Information Counter or in the Equipment Rental Shop. Call (315) 683-5550 or visit the park office at Skyline Lodge.

Snowshoe Trails

Highland Forest trails offers all levels of snowshoers a chance to enjoy the forest on 5 trails; a 1 mile loop, 2 mile loop, 3.6 mile loop, 7.75 and a 9 mile loop. Click here to download the snowshoe trails map.

Highland Forest Trail Use and Rental Info
The Rental Shop is open daily, beginning December 13, 2014, snow conditions permitting.
Rentals are available from 9am - 3pm, all equipment must be returned by 4pm.
Trail Use

Ski Day Pass: $10; $5 child (15 & under)
Ski Season Pass: $25; $15 child (15 & under)

Admission: $3; $20 Annual Pass
(Includes hiking & snowshoeing)
Equipment Rental,
Ski Package
(Skis, Boots & Poles)
$15 Adult all day; $10 child (15 & under) all day

Individual Items
(Skis, Boots & Poles)
$7 per item
$10 Adult all day; $5 child (15 & under) all day

Visitors enjoy a sleigh ride at Highland Forest.

Visitors enjoy a sleigh ride at Highland Forest.

Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides

Enjoy a picturesque 20 minute ride through the Highland's winter woods. Sleigh Rides (or hay rides if not enough snow) are available weekends, December 13, 2014 - February 28, 2015  and Monday holidays, on a first come, first served basis. In addition, rides will be offered during the School Holiday Break, Daily, Tuesday, December 23-January 4.
• 11am - 4pm, last ride leaves at 3:30pm
• $6 per person; $3 (5 & under)

For year round group and evening party packages, sleighrides or hayrides, call the park office at (315) 683-5550.

For more information about Highland Outfitters Inc., our sleigh/hay ride vendor, click here to visit their website.


Go sledding or tobaggoning on the 500 ft. long slope of Skyline Hill. Please note, hill is unsupervised.

Volunteers Wanted:

The Highland Forest Nordic Ski Patrol is looking for some volunteers to help patrol the trails...improve your skiing and make new friends! For more information click here, send an email highland@ongov.net or call (315) 683-5550.

  Beaver Lake Nature Center, Baldwinsville

Girls cross-country skiing at Beaver Lake.

Girls cross-country skiing at Beaver Lake.

Cross-Country Skiing

Beaver Lake offers 7 miles of ski trails. All ski trails are rated easy with the exception of the Three Meadows Trail which is rated moderate. Trails are one way on weekends. Please note: Beaver Lake does not rent skis, you need to bring your own.

  • Lake Loop Trail 3.0 miles (4.8 kms)
  • Deep Woods Trail 1.4 miles (2.3kms)
  • Woodland Trail 1.1 miles (1.7 kms)
  • Three Meadows Trail 1.5 miles (2.4 kms)
  • Pine Meadow Trail 0.5 miles (multiple use)

Cross-Country Ski Lessons are available by appointment only and you must bring your own skis. Call 638-2519 for more information.


Snowshoe rentals are $5 per hour. Rentals are available from 9am-3:30pm, snowshoes must be returned by 4 pm.

Snowshoers can enjoy 3 separate trails, the Northern Exposure (1.4 miles) & the Southern Exposure (2.2 miles.) While the Southern has more hilly spots, the Northern offers a flatter trail and both go through open fields and wooded areas. The Pine Meadow Trail (0.5 miles) is also available to snowshoers.

Take the Try Snowshoeing clinic offered on Sundays in January & February at 12:30pm for $5 per person. Folks with little or no snowshoe experience will especially enjoy this one-hour introduction. Registration is required beginning at 8am on the day of the clinic, call (315) 638-2519.

Weekend Guided Walks are offered year round every Saturday & Sunday. In December the topic is Winter Wildlife Homes and in January & February the topic is Tracking Wildlife on Snowshoes. The program is free with park admission. Registration is required beginning at 8am on the day of the January & February walks, call (315) 638-2519.

Walkers may use:

  • Bog Trail .6 miles (Island pathway adds .25 mile)
  • Lakeview Trail .3 miles
  • Hemlock Hollow Trail .4 miles

Night time is the right time!

Let a full moon illuminate the way during Moonlight Skiing & Snowshoeing when Beaver Lake's trails are available for use until 9 p.m. (Provided there is adequate snowcover).

  • Thursday-Saturday, January 29-31, 2015 (Guided snowshoeing on Friday, January 30 at 7pm, call for reservations)
  • Thursday-Saturday, February 26-28, 2015 (Guided snowshoeing on Friday, February 27 at 7pm, call for reservations)

The Nature Center's trails are open from 7:30 am - 5 pm, except during night skiing & snowshoeing when the Nature Center is open until 9 pm.

Admission is $4 per vehicle

Oneida Shores Park, Brewerton

Enjoy Cross Country Skiing on the McKinley Ridge Trail or Lake Access. The trail is approximately 3/4 mile long, marked with yellow diamond trail markers,and travels around the ridge between the Cicero Swamp and the McKinley Reserved Area. It is a beginner level trail, with only two small inclines to navigate. It runs through a climax hardwood forest and open fields at the McKinley Shelters. Trail access is from the parking lot at the West McKinley Shelter parking lot.

Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool

Enjoy Cross Country Skiing on the Shoreline Trails, at the Long Branch Loop or on the West Shore Trail, including the new extension), those areas are not plowed. In addition, the Long Branch Park Sledding Hill is open daily 10am-5pm.


Onondaga County Parks, in cooperation with the New York State Snowmobile Association and Onondaga County Snowmobile Association, administers the local NYS Snowmobile Grant-in-Aid Program. Click here for more information.

During your visit to Onondaga County Parks, you may be photographed, videotaped, or filmed by Onondaga County Parks or authorized parties. Your attendance/admission serves as permission for use of these images by Onondaga County Parks. Commercial photography or filming is prohibited without permission of Onondaga County Parks.