New Store Hours

Monday: 10am - 7pm
Tuesday: 10am - 7pm
Wednesday: 10am - 7pm
Thursday: 10am - 7pm
Friday: 10am - 7pm
Saturday: 8am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 5pm

Ski Area Profile: William O'Brien State Park

your reward for reaching the "top of the world" at William O'Brien is this view

If you’re looking for a venue for your next over-distance workout or just a new place to ski look no further than William O'Brien State Park. With it’s constantly changing scenery and terrain it’s the perfect place to spend a long winter afternoon. I say long because once you start skiing there you won’t want to stop. I've been the victim of this trap many times...just ask my wife. One hour quickly turns to two, then three, and pretty soon it's dark and you're late for dinner.

O’Brien will keep your mind and body engaged no matter what kind of workout you're looking for. It boasts everything from marshes to rolling meadows and oak savanna. The park offers rolling hills, long sustained climbs, and winding flats.

trails winding through the marsh early in the outer loop

The park staff at O’Brien is committed to consistent grooming. If it snows, they'll be out and these people know what they're doing. They seem to be able to work magic with whatever Ma Nature throws (or doesn't throw!) at them. I swear they have secret snow guns hidden in the forest. You can usually ski there early in the season and they seem to be able to hold the snow longer than a lot of places.

classic tracks stretch out through the woods

One full outer loop of the park measures about 12.5 K while many spurs and cut through allow you to customize your workouts. I'm going to go out on a limb here and hopefully cause a little controversy...or at least a healthy discussion. The trails at William O'Brien are the closest thing to the Birkie trail we have in the Twin Cities area. If you are going to ski down Main Street in Hayward in February, you should train at O'Brien.

Subscribe to CyclovaXC by Email


  1. Perhaps O'Brian is the most similar in terms of rolling terrain. With that said, we do have a number of more challenging trails with generally better grooming in the Metro. I'd say the most challenging trails in the Metro include Battle Creek, Murphy, and Wirth. Elm Creek gets honorable mention due to the quality of the snow and grooming!

  2. I agree. Battle Creek, Murphy, and Wirth can be more challenging. I just think O'Brien is a lot of fun to ski and their grooming seems to get better every year. Aren't we lucky to live in a place with so many options? I'd love to see a profile on any of the places you mention. I also don't think anyone is going to disagree with you on Elm Creek. Great snow quality and awesome grooming!