Abenaki Loop XC Ski
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Submitted by Guest
Address:390 Pine Hill Rd, Wolfeboro, NH 03894
Hours:Sunrise to sunset
Fee: Kids 12 and under free, Teens 13-17 $10, Adults $12


Bathrooms: Bathrooms available at Abenaki Ski Area or Pop Whalen Arena at trailhead.
Water/Snacks: Snacks available at Abenaki Ski Area or Pop Whalen Arena at trailhead.

Easy 1.7 mile XC ski through rolling hills, a pasture with horses and wild turkeys, and a vintage ski area lodge with hot cocoa and a crackling fire.

Start of the 1.7 mile Abenaki Loop trail.
Photo by: Ethan Hipple

This could be the perfect beginner XC ski or snowshoe trail for kids and families. It is a mellow 1.7 mile loop trail that rolls through hemlock birch forests and a large open horse pasture, complete with grazing horses. And perhaps the best part is that it starts and ends at the vintage Abenaki Ski Area, run by the Town of Wolfeboro, which has a new lodge at the trailhead complete with a crackling fire, hot cocoa, and snacks! The lodge serves the bustling little downhill ski area and also is a major access point to the 30km of groomed XC ski trails that meander through Wolfeboro. To top it off, there is also an indoor ice arena adjacent to the lodge and trailhead, so if you time it right, you can drop in for their Public Skating Session and do multiple winter fun activities in one day!

From the ski lodge at the base of the ski area, head right along the downhill ski trail past a green maintenance building. Be sure to stay to the right side of the trail here as you will be going uphill on a downhill ski trail. The Abenaki Loop Trail veers off to the right just past the maintenance building. Go up a short hill and then the trail splits—the local practice here is to do the loop clockwise, so stay to the left at the fork.

Soon the music and hustle and bustle of the ski area will fade away and the only sound you will hear is the swish of your skis gliding through the snow as the trail rolls gently through a hemlock birch forest. The trails here are groomed daily, so you will find excellent conditions for beginners: smooth, level corduroy trails, complete with a lane for skate skiing and ski tracks set in the snow for classic skiing. Passing through a large open field you will see some houses in the woods, home to lucky residents who can ski from their backyard on the 30km groomed XC ski network.

After about 1/2 mile, the trail loops back and heads toward the ski area. If the kids are cranky, you can cut the loop short and just head back to the trailhead for a 1 mile loop. But if everyone is happy, be sure to hit Pike’s Pasture Loop, which is another very small loop trail off of the Abenaki Loop. About ¾ of a mile from the start (heading clockwise) Pike’s Pasture will head off to the left. Follow this undulating little trail for about 1/8 mile until you come out into a large horse pasture. The Pike family usually has their friendly horses grazing, with groomed XC ski trails doing a loop around the perimeter of the classic New England horse pasture. The kids will love to see the friendly horses, and it is highly likely that you will see a large flock of wild turkeys that calls this area home as well.

After looping through the pasture, loop back the way you came and turn left on the Abenaki Loop trail to complete your 1.7 mile loop. Soon the sounds of the ski area will slowly grow as you ski closer, so be sure to stop in and check out the new lodge for a cup of cocoa, sit by the fire, or to rent some downhill skis and try their vintage rope-tow.

The Abenaki Loop trail described here is a perfect short introduction to the 30km of groomed trails in Wolfeboro. If you are hungry for more, there are plenty of other loops that leave directly from Abenaki Ski Area, and there is a second trailhead with many more loop options located on Clow Rd in Wolfeboro. An excellent map is available on the website of the Wolfeboro XC Ski Association.

The trails are on land that is owned by the Town of Wolfeboro or is privately held. Please help protect future access to these lands by being courteous of the land owners and staying on the trails. The trails are all groomed and maintained by the volunteers of the very active Wolfeboro XC Ski Association.

Plan B:

Try out the old fashioned rope tow at Abenaki Ski Area, adjacent to the XC ski trailhead. The vintage ski area will take you back to a bygone era of skiing where every town had its own rope tow and warming hut. If the weather is bad, try indoor skating at the Pop Whalen Ice Arena, adjacent to the Ski Area.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Aside from the snack bar at the Ski Area, downtown Wolfeboro has many excellent eateries lining Main Street, from pizza, to Mexican, to gourmet lakeside bistros. Our family’s favorite is the excellent coffee and sweet and savory crepes at Seven Suns Coffee.


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