WI Kettle Moraine South McMiller Trails
McMiller Ski Trails - Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit
The McMiller Cross Country Ski Trail System has about 9 miles of trails groomed for classic and skate style skiing. Though there is a short easy trail loop, this is primarily and intermediate level ski trail system.
- Terrain / Scenery: Mostly woods with some prairie. Mix of gentle grades, rolling hills, and a few steeper hills.
- Fees / Permits: A Wisconsin Park Sticker and Trail Pass are required for parking in the park and skiing or biking on the trails.
- Trail Conditions: Call the Southern Kettle Moraine Ski Hotline at (262) 594-6202. You can also view and post trail reports at The Trail Reports page at Skinnyski.com
- Trail Markings: Color coded trails, may or may not have maps at key intersections.
- Facilities: Pit toilets and Warming Shelter.
- Official Web Page: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/specific/kms/trails.html
- Getting There: The McMiller Trailhead is located southwest of the town of Eagle on County Road NN just west of State Highway 67. There is a sign on the North side of NN showing the road to the parking area. After entering the parking area, park near the small building on your left about half way into the lot. The trail starts just behind the building.
I don't get out to the McMiller system all that often, not because it isn't a good ski trail system, but rather because it isn't quite as good as the nearby Nordic Trails or Lapham Peak Trail System. On the plus side, because it's not quite as good as those nearby trails, it's also not as busy as those nearby trails. I think another reason for its lower popularity may be the fact that the trail system is kind of co-located with a shooting range. In fact, the shooting range shares the main trailhead parking area and is basically located right in the middle of the trail system. So on the weekend, you can see a guy wearing plaid and camo pulling a couple of guns out of his truck, parked right next to a guy in a brightly colored lycra racing suit pulling his skis out of his mini-SUV (there I think I've covered the stereotypes pretty well).
I have to admit, the nearby gunfire can be a little unnerving while you're skiing. You'll also see plenty of signs along the trail saying "DANGER Shooting Range Area KEEP OUT" which are marking the boundaries between the trails and the shooting range. Now I can only assume that they have designed the shooting range and trails in a manner such that there are hills or berms between the shooters and the trail users. Right? You can check the McMiller Sports Center website to see the shooting schedules.
McMiller Ski Trail Map
You access the trail system via a short two-way connector trail that starts behind the main building and then runs back (southeast) parallel to the entrance road to connect up with the loops. All the loops are one-way running clockwise.
Except for the short 1.7-mile Red Loop, these are all intermediate-level trails. I estimate total miles of trail to be about 9 miles, but to ski all the trails you will ski some sections over and over and over and over and over again resulting in over 15 miles of skiing. If you ski the 6.4-mile Blue Loop and then come around again and ski the 3.7-mile Green Loop, you will have skied about 10 miles and covered the vast majority of trail here. The short connectors that make up the White, Orange, and Red loops don't really provide anything new, but they are worth skiing if you want to put in more miles. The signs on the trails designate the Blue Loop as a Most Difficult trail (the black diamond signs with the zigzag line), but I really don't think that Blue is any more difficult than the others (except red) other than it has more miles and subsequently a few more hills. Since I don't get out here as often as some of the other area trails, this may not be a fair statement, but my experience has been that the grooming at McMiller is not quite as good as what I have experienced at the other trails. As I said, this just could be that I just happened to hit the trails on bad days. Like all Cross Country Ski Trail Systems in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, you can expect plenty of hills and nice scenery on this system.
Because of access to the shooting range, there is also a biathlon course here that intersects with the ski trails. I didn't include the biathlon course on the map but the intersections are pretty clearly marked so it would be pretty tough to accidentally ski into the shooting range. If you are interested in the biathlon course, I would suggest contacting the McMiller Sports Center or the Kettle Moraine State Forest Headquarters for more information.
The Ski trails also intersects with the Stute Springs and Homestead Nature Trail at the northwest portion of the Blue Trail (you can see some of the old farm buildings from the ski trail). I don't show the nature trail on this map, but you can click on the previous link for a detailed map of those trails.
Other activities: I don't think they allow bikes on these trails, but I'm not sure of this. I think you can hike here when there is no snow on the ground, but I don't believe they maintain these trails in the summer (they don't mow them). With all the other hiking opportunities in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, you may want to leave this area for the shooters. For some nice hiking, you can access the nearby Ice Age Trail from the Emma Carlin trailhead, or check out the Stute Springs and Homestead Nature Trail
This page is authored and maintained by Dave Piasecki