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Your guide to winter fun in the Blue Hills

When the snow flies, head to western Rusk County to discover the great winter recreation options available in the Blue Hills. Whether you're skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, you're sure to have a great time exploring this beautiful section of northwestern Wisconsin.

What are the Blue Hills?

It might sound strange, but western Rusk County is home to the remnants of a mountain range that's older than the Rockies. While the landscape has eroded over the ages, the Blue Hills still rise up about 600 feet from the surrounding terrain. If you're wondering how the Blue Hills got their name, it comes from the Woodland Souix name "paja toyela"--literally "blue hills"--that referred to the hue the landscape takes on in the early-morning mist.

Where are the Blue Hills?

The Blue Hills are located about 10 miles northwest of the village of Bruce in western Rusk County, about a 25-minute drive from Ladysmith.

What can I do there?

The Blue Hills are a great option for outdoor recreation all year long, including spring hikes and fall color bike rides, but fresh snow creates a fun playground every winter. Here's a closer look at some of the area's top winter activities.

  • Cross-country skiing & snowshoeing: Strap on your skis or snowshoes and experience the snowy serenity of the Blue Hills Trail System, which offers more than 20 miles of trails that cut through the Rusk County wilderness. On the east side of the trail system, a heated warming house offers changing rooms and trail information; learn more here.
  • Downhill skiing: You can find great downhill skiing and snowboarding (as well as tubing!) in the Blue Hills at Christie Mountain near the village of Bruce. The hill has 22 lighted downhill ski runs, including four black-diamond runs. There's also a snowboarding terrain park, and ski rentals are available on site.
  • Snowmobiling: Rusk County is home to more than 300 miles of snowmobile trails, but some of the most scenic riding can be found in the Blue Hills. Learn more about snowmobiling in Rusk County here.

Where can I gear up for winter fun?

As mentioned above, ski rentals are available at Christie Mountain. If you're interested in cross-country skiing, the Blue Hills Trail Association works with several outfitters that sponsor the trail system--see them here.

Snowshoe rentals are available at the Rusk County Visitor's Center in Ladysmith.

Where can I stay?

Rusk County is home to lots of friendly lodging properties, many within an easy drive of the Blue Hills. See information about Rusk County's bed & breakfasts, hotels, motels, resorts and cabins here.