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Ski Trail Profile: Balsam Branch Trails / Garfield

Finding the Balsam Branch Trails is a snap, due the great signage, all the way from Hwy 8!

It's no secret that the St. Croix River Valley is a mecca of sorts, for endurance athletes. This certainly applies to cross country skiers as well!

The Balsam Branch Trails, also known by some simply as "Garfield" (as the trail system is located Garfield township) are located just south of Hwy 8, between St. Croix Falls and Amery, WI. With 12k of trails groomed for both skate and classic, it's developed a reputation as one of the premier trails of the area. The glacial terrain of the area provides a bit of everything ranging from flat prairie areas to steep ridges.

The trails flow very well and there are a number of combinations that you can ski the loops in, allowing a skier to get in a long day on the trail without doing the same loop over and over.

Grooming here is consistently good, with a couple of gentlemen who team up to ensure that the trail is groomed regularly. I recently spoke with one of the groomers and he commented that "grooming the trails is a labor of love and that all of the lonely hours at night out on the groomer are worth it". I think that many volunteer ski trail groomers can relate to that!

New for the 2010 - 2011 ski season, the Balsam Branch Trails will have an approximately 4k lighted loop. This lighted loop has been a dream for years, but is now a reality thanks to hundreds of hours of volunteer work the fall of 2010.

Lights go up at the Balsam Branch Trails, Fall 2010.

The Nordic Ski Club of Amery is the hard working group of folks we have to thank for making this amazing skiing available to us all. This group has been working on these trails for over 10 years, an amazing accomplishment considering that they are a small group of about 12 individuals.

I was only able to find a hard copy of the Balsam Branch Trail map, so scanned it in...

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