Fresh snow on the ground, bright blue skies above, and that crisp, cool air in the lungs. It’s time to pull out the boots, mittens, and sunglasses… and enjoy one of Minnesota’s many wonderful outdoor winter activities.
If you’re averse to walking up hills, then you’ll want to go to one of the parks with a tow rope such as Buck Hill, Wild Mountain, Eko Backen, Elm Creek Park Reserve, or Green Acres. Be sure to check the age and height minimums; children generally need to be at least 4-5 years old or 42” inches tall. Click for more snow tubing/sledding options.
Many parks flood the hockey rinks to form neighborhood ice skating rinks, and of course, there are many frozen lake rinks. But if you want something a little fancier than we’d recommend one of these: Centennial Lakes Park, Rice Park, or The Oval. Click for more ice skating options.
Snowshoe hiking is a very accessible winter activity. Many regional & state parks have rentals available. Three Rivers Park District has miles of trails. If you’d like to snowshoe with a naturalist searching for tracks, homes, scat, and more then head to the Richardson Nature Center. Click for more snowshoeing options.
Strap on your skis and enjoy one of the many trails across the state. Click for more cross country skiing options.
Ice fishing abounds in Minnesota in the winter. However, it doesn’t need to be a day-only event. These resorts rent ice houses that include beds, bathrooms, and more: Lost Acres Resort, Brandt’s Ice Fishing, Fisherman’s Wharf Resort. Click for more ice fishing options.
Ely is the dog sledding capital of the lower 48 states, but there’s no need to go all the way up to Ely to try dog sledding. HHH Ranch in Hastings and B&J Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm in Clear Lake are both within the Great Twin Cities area. Click for more dog sled options.
Night Time Winter Fun
Three Rivers Park District offers a variety of full moon walks and snowshoe hiking events. If candlelight is more of your thing then visit one of your state parks for evening hikes where the trails are lit up with lanterns or luminaries. Afterward, warm up with refreshments by a crackling fire.
The Minnesota DNR provides an incredibly well-organized winter activities guide for the state parks. Find complete details on which state parks offer Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Fishing, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Ice Fishing, Winter Hiking, Fat Biking, Candlelight Events and more.
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