Snow reveals new terrain.
Boundary Waters, MN
When biting insects retreat and the famous waters freeze solid, Boundary Waters locals break out their skis and schuss through remote boreal forests—portaging not required. Created in 1983 from old logging roads, the 16.7-mile Banadad Ski Trail edges expanses of shifting lake ice and traverses the quiet northern country between Lake Superior and the Canadian border. “I see a lot of wolf prints,” says Ted Young of Boundary Country Trekking, who sets the ski track on the Banadad once a week. “In winter, moose hang out in the burnt-over area where new brush has grown.” The mostly flat trail sees about 100 inches of snow fall each year, which lingers on the spruce and balsam trees that line the way. Shelter from tree-cracking overnight cold at one of Young’s two yurts that sleep six each (located at the eastern trailhead and mile 11.8). Best part: He provides sleeping bags, organizes the car shuttle, schleps gear, and warms up the woodstove.
TRAILHEAD 48.053224, -90749988; 43 miles northwest of Grand Marais on Gunflint Tr. CAMP Two yurt nights plus shuttles for four people start at $325; boundarycountry.com PERMIT Minnesota Ski Pass ($6/ day; licenses.dnr.state.mn.us) and BWCA day permit (free at trailhead) required. CONTACT banadad.org
Minnesota timber wolf