The mission of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club is to promote the sport of cross-country skiing in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan for both youth and adults and to provide stewardship of the Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids trails in Hancock, MI.
In Finnish, maasto hiihto means “cross-country ski.” The trail was originally developed in the 1980s by a group of Nordic enthusiasts with support from the City of Hancock. In 1997, KNSC became official when it gained nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status.
Today, the teamwork of KNSC and the City remains integral not only in maintaining and grooming both the Maasto and Churning Rapids trail systems, but also in ensuring the trails remain available for a variety of silent sport uses, year-round.
Trails that provide fun for the whole family
KNSC values offering an extensive trail system which is 100% family friendly. Whether you ski with your dog, or with the kids in a pulk, you are welcome on every trail.
The trail system is groomed for:
- Classic skiing
- Snow shoeing
- Snow biking
There are also many miles of ungroomed “back country trails” within the system; these narrow, scenic paths are popular with snow shoers and skiers.
All trail users should purchase an Annual Membership or day pass.
A few rules…
At Maasto/Churning, we are happy to announce that compared to many trail systems, there aren’t that many rules!
- Enjoy the trails with your dog. Unlike most trail systems, Maasto is 100% pet-friendly! Please pick up any “presents” left on the trail. Use a leash if you must. Keep your dog under control. That’s about it!
- Take the kids out in a pulk. We support kids being on the trail, no matter how they need to be on it.
- Travel any trail in either direction.
- Use the Four Seasons Chalet at the fairgrounds to warm up, use the restroom, fill water bottles, change your clothes…
Please do not:
- Walk on groomed trails without snow shoes. Walkers in boots can cause damage to the groomed surface, which can trip up skiers.
- Step or bike on the set tracks. Our skiers enjoy the trails when the tracks are in good shape – snow shoers and bikers, please avoid the tracks.
Maasto Hiihto Trails
The crown jewel of this system is “The River Trail” (trail 3), which follows the Swedetown Creek down its breathtakingly beautiful Gorge. Maasto’s northern most loop connects with the Churning Rapids trails. The two systems contain about 25 kilometers of groomed trails (see the trail map for details).
Two trailheads provide access to the groomed trails at Maasto. One is at the Chalet on the Houghton County fairgrounds, and the other at Tomasi Road near the Hancock Department of Public Works garage, north of UP Health – Portage.
Churning Rapids Trails
Churning Rapids provides an intimate, backcountry type of experience. Its narrow trails can be accessed either from Maasto Hiihto or from a trailhead at Christensen Road, off M-203, 5 miles north of Hancock. Trails wind through the John Christensen wildlife preserve. A 15-foot high observation tower (along trail 10) provides wonderful views of Lake Superior; a scenic meadow trail leads to the beaver pond; more trails wind through the diverse woodlands.