About the Abbey Arboretum Ski Trails

Grooming Updates Ski Trail Map Support the Ski Trails!


Parking is available in the Athletics Fields Lot (P2). You are otherwise welcome to park in other official university parking lots (Science Lots, Palaestra, etc). Groomed trails are easily accessed from the athletic fields, or after a short walk to the Old Entrance Road. View a SJU Campus Map for parking options.

Ski Trail Descriptions

Athletic Fields Parking:
This parking allows easy access to the Pine Knob and Trinity Loops and all their connectors.

Prep School Parking:
Park in any open spaces near the Prep School. Walk to the gate of the Old Entrance Road. Please do not park near the gate or along the road edges as we need access for forest use and potential emergencies. This parking area allows easy access to the Old Entrance Road and the Stone Gate Loop and can also be used to access the Pine Knob trail and Old Saint Joe Road.

Trail Skill Level Ratings
All ski areas rate their trails relative to their area. For example, since our elevation change is quite small compared to a mountain ski area, our intermediate skiing might be beginner at a mountain area. Grooming descriptions are written for ideal snow conditions. For updated grooming conditions, sign up for our ski trail email list (or search past emails).

Trail Signs
Colored fiberglass poles are placed periodically along the trails. The color of the poles matches the color of the trail on our Ski Trail Map. Signs are included at key intersections to help you identify your location on the trail.

Old Entrance Road (3K – round trip, White)

Beginner. Groomed for skating and classic.

The Old Entrance Road loop is a two directional down and back loop on the western edge of the old entrance road. It begins at the main gate and goes all the way down to the footbridge over the interstate. It has both a skating and classic track and the round trip uses the same track. It is quite flat and good for beginners and is easy to see oncoming skiers. The eastern edge of the road is plowed for runners, walkers, and driving access to the sugar shack, forest, and radio tower.

Prep Practice Loop/Tower Field (0.72K, Orange)

Beginner. Groomed for skating and classic.

The practice loop for Saint John’s Prep School is accessible from the Stone Gate Loop. Tower Field is groomed for both skate and classic, is flat and good for beginners.

Old Saint Joe Road (1.5K, Pink)

Beginner. Groomed for classic.

The Old Saint Joe Road trail begins off the Old Entrance Road near the footbridge over Interstate 94. This one-way trail starts with an uphill climb through conifer trees planted in 1933 followed by a gentle descent before turning onto the mostly flat Old Saint Joe Road.  The trail leads to the Tower Fields where the Prep School has a practice loop. To return to the Old Entrance Road there is a fairly steep downhill portion of the Stone Gate Loop, which is what adds an intermediate rating to this otherwise gentle ski.

Stone Gate Loop (4.6 K, Yellow)

Beginner – Intermediate. Groomed for classic. The area near Tower Field is groomed for both skate and classic.

Stone Gate is a loop on the east side of the Old Entrance Road and begins by the Stone Arch. It is one-way except for the first hundred yards. You can use it to access the Tower Fields where the Prep School has a practice loop. That section of the trail is both skating and classic.

The classic only segments are in a lovely forest. The loop follows parts of the Hillary trail, Logging Road, and St. Joannis Trail. It is a fairly gentle loop with some occasional hills that give it the intermediate rating.

Langlauf (0.7K, Dark blue)

Beginner – Intermediate. Groomed for skate.

Langlauf is a one way trail that makes a cut across the interior of the Pine Knob Trail. Langlauf is a German term for cross-country racing on skis and is the name of our ski race hosted  in January some years (and the reason this trail was created).

Pine Knob Trail (4.1K, Green)

Intermediate. Groomed for skating and classic.

The Pine Knob was established by the monks long ago as a forest access trail and mostly follows a summer trail of the same name. The trail is a mix of easier and intermediate skill segments. One of the first segments (from Athletic Fields parking) is a steep uphill called “Miserere nobis” (Have mercy on us). After that 100 foot climb to 1250 feet, much of rest of the trail feels downhill.

It is intended to be skied in a counter clockwise direction. Pine Knob shares a relatively short and easy area with the Trinity Loop. It is also a good access to the Stone Gate trail.

Zicke-Zacke Trail (1.8K, Brown)

Intermediate – Advanced. Groomed for skating only.

This trail has can be accessed from the Pine Knob Trail and ends back on the Pine Knob trail. The first segment (Zicke) is intermediate and you can get back to Pine Knob without doing the second segment (Zacke). Zacke has a challenging downhill and is rated advanced. You will work a little. (The term “Zicke-Zacke” is from the last line of a famous German beer drinking song.)

Trinity loop (3.3K, Light blue)

Advanced. Groomed for mostly skating

This is a very challenging course that twists, climbs, and falls “inside” the Pine Knob loop. Starting from the Athletic Fields parking, you enter the woods and go north. (That will also access the CSB/SJU practice loop on the intramural field.) Then it heads into the woods to climb the namesake big uphill called the Trinity hill. There are some fast downhill bowls in this area. You can also use the “Toboggan Run” (or even the Pine Knob trail) to go up to the high point. All these trails join near the high point and you can head back to the start on “Down Home” or try your skills on the “Spitze.”

Spitze (German for “peak” and also slang for “really cool”) is at 1,260 feet and drops off in a winding left turn into a bowl. Note that you can alternatively stay on the Pine Knob for a hundred feet and then drop into the bowl from below the peak (Unterspitze) and avoid the left turn.

Trinity continues on to the old ski hill called Mt. Carmel. Then it offers several choices to ski back to the start including a link over to the Pine Knob and Zicke-Zacke trails.