Expanded Trails at Door Creek Park

Last fall, Madnorski members Brock Woods, Dick Steinle, and Tamara Bryant met with Madison City Parks Conservation Supervisor Paul Quinlan to walk areas of Door Creek Park to consider further development of the ski trail system in this east side Madison park. That “walking meeting” has proved to be quite productive as City Parks is moving forward with many of the ideas discussed then. 

Until now, the park has had just over 2K of ski trails groomed once a week.  “We’ve been working with Paul to plan new routes for 3K of additional trails to be skiable this winter—more than doubling the trail mileage! And this is just the start since more park land is available for additional trails in the future.” says Brock Woods. 

Madison Parks would like to groom all these trails at least 3 times/week this winter provided there is adequate snow. Door Creek Park would have to be approved to become another “fee-based” site supported by, and skiable with, a city-county trail pass. This would greatly improve the ski conditions. This popular community park has a paved bike path that can accommodate walkers separate from the ski trails. In addition to the paved trail, Brock and Paul have been creating new designated snowshoe/hiking trails for the winter season as well. Careful trail development will make this park a great place for hikers, snowshoers and skiers alike! 

The park is in a small valley, similar to Elver though not quite as large. Trails run through the valley bottom, over some fun hills and through wooded slopes on the valley wall. The terrain is interesting for skiing with a varied landscape of woods, prairie/old field, water courses and wetlands. The layout of the trails will allow users to choose from several 1 km loops, as well as 1.5 km, 2.2 km and 2.3 km loops. These can be skied in sequence or various combinations, allowing lots of options for total length.

The ski trails added this fall are phase one of a bigger vision outlined by Paul and his team. Additional trails will likely be added in phase two once plans are made for further expansion into wooded and old field park lands east of Door Creek. These areas of the park hold promise for both more mileage and more interesting terrain, especially once an additional creek crossing is put in at the north end of the park. Dane County Parks has also expressed interest in connecting trails on their adjacent lands!  

Another bonus at this park is the city’s plan to build an indoor, heated shelter there in 2023-2024. This might help it become the East side’s hot ski venue, and will certainly be a location to watch grow and develop. 

If you are not familiar with this gem of a park, please join us for Solstice Afternoon Ski Walk (bring your poles!) on both old and new trails led by Brock and Dick.  Come check it out, ask questions and get ready to ski the trails this winter!  Madnorski is thankful for the collaboration with our friends at Madison Parks!

Action Needed – support this effort! Board of Parks Commissioners Virtual Meeting Dec 14 at 6:30 pm
If you want to support Door Creek becoming a new east side fee park, your input at the Commissioners’ meeting would be invaluable. Email your comments to the committee at pacommission@cityofmadison.com, and/or you may register to speak up to 3 minutes once the agenda is published on Friday afternoon.  Please contact Brock if you have further questions.

Madison Nordic Ski Club supports revising the ordinance so that Door Creek Park will become a new fee-based site in addition to Elver Park and Odana Hills Golf Course. 

Reasons for our support:

  • Citizens of Madison need access to nature and outdoor spaces, so developing more trails at Door Creek now and in the future will promote people to get outside and to be active. 
  • In particular, the East side of Madison would benefit from having a fee-based city park for skiing (Yahara Hills has not proved to be popular cross country ski location)
  • Grooming and ski conditions will be improved if Door Creek becomes a fee-based site 
  • Door Creek’s interesting terrain make it a great park for hiking and skiing
  • New heated shelter for Door Creek with construction starting next year is ideal for winter recreation with possible ski & snowshoe rentals for the future
  • Great potential for further trail development in the future with Phase 2 of trail development by the City and by potentially collaborating with the adjacent County Park

Club Solstice Walk or Ski at Door Creek
Date: Wednesday, Dec 21, 2022
Time: 3 – 4:30 pm
Meeting location: Door Creek Park Parking lot at 7035 Littlemore Dr, Madison, WI 53718