Ohiopyle State Park
Cross-country skiers at Ohiopyle. Photo courtesy of Ohiopyle State Park.

If you are looking for a sport to make winter more fun (without having to travel far) cross-country skiing may be for you. 

Here are five parks in Western Pennsylvania that are perfect for skiing fanatics who don’t want to risk a broken bone. (Check the website for times, which vary widely.)

1. Ohiopyle

7 Sheridan St., Ohiopyle, Fayette County

With more than 20,000 acres, Ohiopyle offers several options for anyone who wants to try cross-country skiing. The park offers a range of trails for different experience levels, such as the Sproul and Kentuck trails. With almost 34 miles of cross-country skiing, Ohiopyle State Park trails are fantastic if you’re looking for a way to improve your skiing skills.

Photo courtesy of The Falls Market.

While you’re there: Stop by Falls Market Restaurant, an area favorite. Equal parts restaurant and convenience store, Falls Market Restaurant offers patrons a place to buy Ohiopyle mementos and a good meal after some cross-country skiing. Check the website for hours.

Photo by Rick Ulaky.

2. Laurel Ridge State Park

1117 Jim Mountain Road, Rockwood, Somerset County

With more than 13,000 acres, Laurel Ridge State Park is a good option for cross-country skiers. Depending on difficulty, the park offers 20-plus miles of cross-country skiing trails that are color-coded (green, red, orange and yellow). Unlike the other parks on our list, Laurel Ridge State Park charges a modest fee to use the trails: $6 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under. 

While you’re there: Rock City Cafe offers well-loved wings and beer. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. 

Photo courtesy of Raccoon Creek State Park.

3. Raccoon Creek State Park

3000 PA-18, Hookstown, Beaver County 

With more than 7,500 acres, Raccoon Creek State Park contains trails that are excellent for cross-country skiing, especially for adventurers who want to get lost in nature. And to make the sport safer, the park added a 2.2-mile cross-country skiing trail and marked more challenging trails to ensure that skiers do not get hurt.  

While you’re there: Jack’s Diner features comfort food. Diners get several breakfast and lunch options to enjoy after a long day of skiing — and don’t skip dessert. Jack’s Dinner is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. 

Photo courtesy of Moraine State Park.

4. Moraine State Park

225 Pleasant Valley Road, Portersville, Butler County

The Pleasant Valley and Sunken Garden trails at Moraine State Park are maintained during the winter to give skiers an excellent cross-country skiing experience. And if you do both of the connected trails, they provide about 6 miles of skiing. 

Photo courtesy of Brown’s County Kitchen.

While you’re there: Brown’s Country Kitchen has been operating for more than 40 years offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. 

5. Hartwood Acres Park

200 Hartwood Acres, Indiana Township, Allegheny County

During the winter, the 629-acre park offers several trails and open fields where outdoor adventurers can enjoy cross-country skiing.

Photo courtesy of Hartwood Restaurant & Whispers Pub.

While you’re there: Hartwood Restaurant & Whispers Pub is located inside a bookstore and offers seasonal meals and dozens of wines, cocktails, martinis and craft beers to warm you up after a brisk day of skiing. Check the website for hours, which vary.

This story is part of the new Outdoor Guide series for NEXTpittsburgh focusing on outdoor recreation within a roughly three-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

Jason Phox

Jason Phox is a journalist in the Pittsburgh area sharing important information with the people of the Steel City. He enjoys writing, photography, and mostly comic books.