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SKI TRAIL PROFILE: Big Rock Creek Farm, St Croix Falls, WI


Here is a fun video that Cyclova team member Dallas put together after the first ever ski at Big Rock Creek Farm!  This does a nice job of showing off the more extreme terrain along the southern border trail.  Thanks Dallas!

 
Every so often, one is fortunate enough to stumble across truly remarkable things, and my crossing paths with the fine folks of Big Rock Creek Farm, and their one of a kind destination is a truly remarkable happening - a once in a lifetime sort of happening. 

For the past year, I've had the incredible privilege of "helping" the Klein family, along with property manager Scott Hansen.  My "helping" consists of sharing my feelings on how silent sport & outdoor enthusiasts from across the region (or the globe) would flock to this 1600 acre property with 26 miles of world class trails, amazing terrain, rustic cabins, historic buildings, and pristine waters.  I've also been involved in helping with the procurement of grooming equipment, and with trail layout.  From the moment that Scott first showed me the property, it occurred to me that this is a world class venue for what ever they choose to do with it.

Starting on Saturday, February 16, 2013, Big Rock Creek Farm is opening it's gate to Silent Sport Enthusiasts - initially to Cross Country Skiers - with other user groups likely to follow.  Big Rock Creek Farm will be a destination for all levels of XC Skiers - with terrain for all to enjoy.  Skiers will find the outer perimeter of the trail to have trails beautifully flowing over terrain that exceeds the terrain of the Birkie Trail - with actual categorized climbs on the course.  Beginners or those wanting an easy ski will find gentle terrain running along the bottom of Big Rock Creek Valley.  There is always significantly more snow on most of these trails than the surrounding area, thanks to the towering ridge on the southern edge of the property - protecting snow on most of the trails from the warm southern winter sun.  For the remainder of this winter season, roughly 20k or half of it's trail network will be groomed for skate and classic skiers to enjoy! 

Here is a rough map of the 22K trail system at Big Rock Creek Farm, with a better map to follow.  Click on the map to download any GPX files, etc.
Following are the basics on skiing this trail system:
Location:  ~3 miles north of St. Croix Falls, WI on Hwy 87.  Look for the small yellow sign and the blue parking sign on the east side of Hwy 87 (just north of River Road).  
Parking:  For the remainder of the 2013 Spring ski season, park in the "Clubhouse" area by the parking signs by driving back in on the driveway along the creek.  Once in there, you will see a trailhead info board.
Trail Passes:  Day passes are available at Cyclova XC or the trail head kiosk for $10 for adults, $6 for Juniors (11-18), $4 for kids (10 & under).  Punch cards for 5 days of skiing are available for the price of 4 days (a $50 value for $40) only at Cyclova XC.  
Trail Distance: 20+K of immaculately groomed trails for skate or classic skiing.
Grooming:  Trails are very well groomed by Scott of Big Rock Creek Farm using a variety of top of the line Snowmobile pulled implements.
Warming House:  Not yet...
Lighted Trails:  No
Hours:  dawn til dusk...

An epic first ever group ski at Big Rock Creek Farm in early February, 2013.

To truly appreciate this place, you must know a bit of it's history.  This property was purchased in 1914 by the Siems family (and today is still owned by the same family - the Klein's) - built to be a Trout hatchery & epic get away for their family & friends.  They acquired Wisconsin Fish Hatchery License #10, which they still hold today (yes, this is still an active fish farm).  Many epic structures were built, most of which still exist today.  A few highlights include:
  • The Clubhouse:  Step back into the 20's in this huge house with a 3/4 wrap around porch that sleeps 18 people.  This house illustrates what good living was like in the 20's - ranging from top of the line woodwork, furniture, original ranch guns hung on the wall, and yes African big game throughout the house (Mr. Siems was an African Big Game Hunter for the Science Mueseum of Minnesota - much of the African mounts still hanging in the mueseum today were harvested by him).  The luxurious 20's clubhouse will be available for group rentals / retreats beginning in Spring of 2013.  See www.bigrockcreekfarm.com for the details on renting.
  • Wilderness Cabin:  Built of logs harvested from the surrounding hillsides (mini mountains, really), this cabin is a rustic, ornate work of art.  This cabin was built to the period of Big Rock Creek Farm's glory days - so there is no electricity, and it's a rustic yet elegant experience.  Lights are provided by propane mantle lights, wood heat, ice box, propane cooking stove, and an indoor water pump at the sink.  2 bedrooms & a futon to sleep 6.  Look out the window and you'll see a beautiful lake & marshland area, which is home to a pleathora of wildlife.  Are you in Montana, British Columbia, or St. Croix Falls, WI - out here it's easy to loose track!  This cabin is available for rental now - with rates said to be $175 for the first night, and $325 for 2 nights (and $140 for each additional night beyond 2 nights).  There is a 2 night minimum on the weekends.  See www.bigrockcreekfarm.com for the details on renting.
The Cyclova crew takes a breather on a ski at the remote & amazing cabin - which is available to rent.
  • Water Management System:  Through the middle of Big Rock Creek Farm, runs spring fed Big Rock Creek, providing pristine spring water for the trout that call this place home.  From the towering ridges above the creek flows enormous amounts of run off and snow melt water, as this property is the watershed for the entire Centuria region.  Back during the depression era when dozens of laborers lived on site, they built a network of dikes, dams, and water retention ponds to keep the dirty water & silt out of the precious spring water, where the fish were.  This network of water control measures was built largely with hand shovels and horse carts, including a particularly impressive 50 + foot tall dyke, which today's ski trails pass over.  This water management system keeps agricultural run off and silt out of the St. Croix River to this very day!  When out exploring the trail network at Big Rock Creek Farm, you will be dazzled by this water control system.
  • The Barn:  Built in 1924, this was the biggest barn in Western Wisconsin at the time.  It's still a huge barn by any measure, still used for a variety of agricultural purposes to this day.
The group takes a breather on the epic first ever ski of Big Rock Creek Farm - February, 2013.



2 comments:

  1. Incredible world class trail and facility for not only cross country skiing but the outdoor enthusiast. This is the real deal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Check out Dr. Steve Edling's blog post on Big Rock Creek Farm: http://dredling.com/?p=1241

    This place is epic - another great ski out there today!

    ReplyDelete