The 107 kilometer Birkie Trail system attracts skiers, runners, bikers, trekkers, and hikers, from casual day-trippers to elite superstars.  The Birkie trail was built for all silent sports enthusiasts to enjoy. The non-profit 501(c)(3) American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation maintains 100% of the trail system.  Donations to help cover the annual maintenance costs are welcome. You can help with a personal donation which may be tax deductible (consult your tax professional) and by joining the Foundation.

Ski Trail Passes

Birkie Trail ski passes are required December – March to ski on any part of the 107 km American Birkebeiner Trail System.  100% of funds collected go toward our growing costs to maintain the trail.

Trail passes or parking passes for Birkie Trail use are not required April – November, however if you are using the CAMBA mountain bike trails, please consider dropping a donation into the yellow tubes!

Birkie Ski Trail Pass Information

By order of the Sawyer County Board of Directors, no person may use that portion of the American Birkebeiner Trail System in Sawyer County between December 1st and March 31st unless they have purchased a Trail Pass.  Sawyer County grants to the named holder of a Trail Pass a revocable temporary license to access the Trail System.  Funds collected by sellers of Trail Passes are remitted to the County, which provides funds to the ABSF to maintain the Trail System.  Sellers of Trail Passes act only as the agent of the County in collecting Trail Pass fees.

Grooming Procedures/FAQ's


Check out the Birkie Trail grooming procedures and FAQ’s: HERE

Latest Trail Report

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2.12.2016 (8:00pm):  We are now in race prep mode for the 43rd American Birkebeiner – getting the trail ready to host 10,000+ skiers!  Tonight we will be working on the Korte trail shoring up a few spots as well as more time on the lake.  Temps will be very, very cold over the next 48 hours so we won’t be disturbing the base much.  Currently the skate deck and classic tracks are very good throughout the trail – dress warm and enjoy the skiing!

– Chris and the trail staff

2.8.16 (10:00pm):  Tonight from OO we groomed both the Birkie Skate and Birkie Classic trails north to the Powerlines.  Grooming south from OO we had a mechanical issue and only made it to Gravel Pit….we will get our repairs taken care of and finish all the way to Hatchery Tuesday night.  Trail is in great shape- get out and enjoy!

– Chris and the trail staff

2.7.2016 (5:50am):  Last night we regroomed out the skate lanes on the Pre-Birkie course from Saturday – however with the warm overnight temps, we did not till and reset the classic tracks – that has to wait until it cools down – likely Monday.  Enjoy the Sunday skiing!  Note:  North End Classic race will be going on Sunday – best to probably ski south of FireTower food station to avoid if skating

– Chris and the trail staff

2.5.2016 (9:50pm):  Tonight we are grooming the race course for the Pre-Birkie — that is from Duffy’s field in Hayward north past OO to almost the Fire Tower food station for Saturday’s event.  The trail north of that was groomed on Thursday and likely less congested for skiing on Saturday. Enjoy the skiing!

– Chris and the trail staff

2.4.2016 (6:00am):  Groomed last night from OO south to Wheeler Rd, and from OO north on both the classic and skate trails to McNaught (including Birkie Rigdge and Easy Strider).  Enjoy the wonderful conditions!

– Chris and the trail staff

Get the Birkie Trails App

Birkie Trails is the official app for the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail between Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin.

Included are a map (which will show your current location, and where you’ve skied), grooming report and tracking feature, showing time, distance and elevation gain.

Optionally, by using this app you can contribute to trail usage data, helping the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation manage and prioritize trail maintenance activities (grooming, trailwork, signage, etc).  Available for both iPhone and Android.

Get it on Google Play

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Trail Reports compiled by

Feb 13 - Birkie Trail (Hayward, WI)

Conditions: Excellent for skate and classic. Consecutive nights of near minus 20 temps have really hardened the course up. Super cold wind blown snow is lots of work even with plenty of green wax in my skis.
Skied from McNaught road to OO today. Hard work but a good day on skis. There's some snowmobile damage early in the power lines that should get fixed easily once they get in there again with the Piston Bully. Otherwise, the trail is in great shape.
(Andy Schwartz)

Feb 11 - Birkie Trail (Hayward, WI)

Conditions: In a word, wonderful. Recently groomed. Looks like they're widening the trail to full race day width now.
Skied from OO south to Gravel Pit late this afternoon. Trail has firmed up nicely since Tuesday when I skied it last. So it's skiing much faster despite the cold. Also groomed to it's full race width. So they're deep into race day course prep at this point.
(Andy Schwartz)

Feb 9 - Birkie Trail (Hayward, WI)

Conditions: Excellent for both classic and skate. Fresh corduroy as far as the eye could see and a solid full depth classic track.
Fresh, cold snow made pushing the skis a little work but the trail is in about as good a condition as I've ever seen it right now. Well worth skipping out of adult responsibilities for a few hours in the middle of the day.
(Andy Schwartz)

Feb 6 - Birkie Trail (Hayward, WI)

Excellent conditions and grooming for the Pre-Birkie today.
(Louis Muench, CASTA)

Birkie Trailheads

  • Powerline – 4.5K
  • North End Cabin – Randysek Rd, two miles south from Cable
  • Timber Trail – 9K
  • Birkie Ridge – Highway 63 two miles north from Seeley
  • Boedecker – 18.5K
  • OO – 22.8K
  • Mosquito Brook – 38.1K
  • Hatchery – 44.3K

Trail Profile

The total climb on the Birkie Skate Course from the start line at Telemark to the finish line in Hayward (north to south) is 1,398 meters. The Birkie Classic Course’s total climb from the start line to the finish line is 21 meters less or 1,379 meters.

The Birkie Classic Trail which ends at OO has a total climb of 727 meters compared to the Birkie Trail’s total climb of 729 meters to that point. See chart to right for elevation break down.

Support the Trail


The Birkie Classic Trail – Building a Trail

In order to provide a better race experience for all skiers, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation developed the Birkie Classic Trail. Construction for the new trail began in late 2006 and was completed in three stages by the Fall of 2008. The 27K Birkie Classic Trail was used in its entirety for the 2009 event with Classic Skiers enjoying their own trail from just past the Race Start to County Hwy. OO.

Construction cost for the 27K trail totaled $104,000, which was raised with the help of many generous donations from skiers, businesses, organizations and friends of the American Birkebeiner.

The trail was designed and laid out by ABSF Board member Dave Nelson of Hayward and Rhinelander. Jack Moin, Cable, who also is Trail Chief at Telemark was Trail Construction Chief for the entire project. The project was successful due to the efforts of these two men who donated many hours of their time. The trail was built with the help and hard work of many volunteers who came out to numerous work nights and days over the three years.

25KFix1_mediumThe 27K Classic Trail is 20’ in width, and results in the Birkie Classic Race being 4K longer than the existing Birkie Trail used for the Skate course. Elevations of both trails is very similar with the major difference being that the Classic Trail climbs and descents are more gradual, but longer, facilitating the Classic technique. The two courses come together at each of the food/aid stations and close enough to be visible at several points.

The Birkie Classic Trail is groomed for both classic and skate skiing through the winter, but will be groomed for classic skiing only on race day. The trail is available for hiking, trail running and mountain biking the remainder of the year. There are no plans at present to further extend the Birkie Classic Trail.

The Birkie Classic Trail was built to provide the following benefits:

  • The Classic Trail will be used by classic skiers on race day, with skate skiers following the existing Birkie Trail. This separation will provide better course conditions for all skiers on race day. Classic skiers will have the best tracks we can provide, and skate skiers will have more room since the Birkie Trail will not be tracked, except on downhills, through these sections.
  • The new trail has elevated the stature of the Birkie Classic Race which we believe will draw additional participants, including top classic skiers, resulting in the Classic Birkie joining the Birkie in being recognized not only as the premier cross-country ski race in North America, but among the best in the world.
  • The “loops” created by linking the Birkie and Classic Trails at each food station and at several other points provide more options for other events and general recreation for all silent sport users, including hikers, runners and mountain bikers year around.
  • The new trail now provides another alternative for the Birkie in poor snow years. The new trail can serve as a return route to Telemark allowing a full marathon event to take place on the northern portion of the course when we can’t get to the much preferred finish in Hayward.

Major Donors

Contributing $1000 or more to the construction and maintenance of the Birkie Classic Trail:

  • John and Leslie Taylor
  • Johnson Family Foundation
  • Joseph and Cheryl Hoida Family
  • Judy and Gordon Faulkner
  • Becker Law Offices, Madison, WI
  • Phil and Ann Zink
  • Lori Steinbach
  • Bill and Nancy Bauer
  • Alvin and David Nelson
  • Lance Scott
  • Daniel R. Huber Family
  • Gail and Willi VanHaren
  • John Stien
  • The Hayward Lions Club
  • Jane Bidwell
  • Barbara Klippel
  • Seeley Ski Club
  • John Schneider
  • Steven Eyer
  • Kassbohrer All Terrain Vehicles
  • Michael Devanie

Trail Ambassadors

Trail Ambassadors are working as an extension of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, interacting and educating fellow skiers about the Birkie Trail Pass system. Skiing out and back from various trailheads along the Birkie Trail. All Birkie Trail Ambassadors must be 18 years of age, or older.

Volunteer 4-15 hours as a Trail Ambassador and receive a free Birkie Water Bottle. Volunteer 16+ hours as a Trail Ambassador and also receive a free Individual Annual Birkie Trail Pass for the 2016-2017 season. Volunteers will be provided with a Birkie Ambassador bib to wear and informational notecards to hand out while skiing during their shift. Bibs and cards can be picked up the Fri-Sun the weekend of your shift and dropped back off Sat-Tues the weekend of your shift.