Kirkwood Cross Country Center
Kirkwood Cross Country Center

Cross Country Trail Systems

Our trail system is divided into three different systems:

The Meadow System

Located across the highway from the center, connects the cross country center to the Kirkwood Village and provides the best novice skiing in the region. The meadow itself is over two miles long is one of the last undeveloped high altitude meadows of its size in the Sierra. The meadow has two five kilometer loops. One loop is the popular dog friendly, (or whatever one cares to travel on) loop. Another pristine loop is for skiers only.
The meadow is the perfect spot for children, elders and those that just want an easy cruise. Few Sierra cross country centers offer such expansive skiing on such gentle terrain. The Meadow system is accessed at the north end at the cross country center or the south end, near Kirkwood Village, where most to the lodging is located.

The Caples Creek System

The Caples Creek system is directly adjacent to the center and provides the most diversity of the three systems. The System begins with a long rolling decent to Caples Meadow.  This sheltered meadow offers a tranquil experience as one skis along the winding creek.  Caples Creek is dotted with beaver ponds, birds of prey; ducks, heron and all the small fur bearing critters that stay active in the winter.  Several side loops twist through forested areas, up and down granite domes making for exciting skiing. Further along the trail, one comes upon a spectacular view of Round Top looming over the area at 10,381 feet. An added feature to Caples Creek is that it has nature signs along the trail that point out information about the surrounding area and wildlife.

The Schneider Trail System

The Schneider Trail System is located at a higher elevation, climbing to over 9,000, feet affording phenomenal views of the surrounding wilderness areas including the Carson spur and Caples Lake. These trails can be accessed by car for those who wish to avoid the steep terrain of “ Agony and Ecstasy". The Schneider Trail System is an elaborate system of interwoven trails in the high country of Kirkwood. Climbing to the crest of the Sierra these trails afford views of the Desolation Wilderness, the Coastal Range and a panoramic view of the Sierra Crest. The trails all lead up toward the famed Schneider Cow Camp. A wonderful old barn remains in the meadow, a great spot for basking in the sun (we provide the lounge chairs). Beyond the camp one climbs Sierra Vista and on to Coyote Pass.  Coyote Pass sits high above the Kirkwood valley and Caples Lake. A this is a perfect place to sit and ponder. The return ski is exciting and mostly downhill. While descending the high ridge and crossing open bowls the views are so incredible that one must stop often to take it all in.


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