Winter Wonderland Adventures

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parks and rec


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January 2020

2020 State Parks Permit: Four Seasons of Fun

Permit image with border

Spring may be several months away,  but you can get a taste of it now with the 2020 Minnesota State Parks annual permit. The permit, which allows admission to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full 365 days, features Kilen Woods State Park, where you can see the bright white petals of the spring wildflower bloodroot.

While bloodroot and other wild flowers wait to bloom again, nature is blessing us with a different type of white beauty: Snow! There are countless opportunities to enjoy it—from snowshoeing and snowmobiling to fat biking and skiing.  What's your winter wonderland adventure?

Bookmark for current snow conditions. Happy Trails!

Ski pass and fat bike locations map

Our state trails icon

William O'Brien State Park

Snowshoes and camping at William O'Brien State Park

Ski or snowshoe right out of your tent.

Enjoy 12 miles of groomed, cross-country and skate ski trails.

The trails at William O'Brien State Park range from easy to difficult and are a popular destination during the snowy Minnesota winters. Stay the night in a cozy camper cabin and in the morning, ski away on a trail. You'll also find 1.5 miles of snowshoe trails along the Riverside Trail. Snowshoes are available for rent at the park office. Check the park's page for current conditions.

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The faces and stories of our visitors and staff.

Training at William O'Brien State Park:

Stillwater High School Girls Ski Team

Stillwater highschool girls cross-country ski team members

Sophia Saldin

Hometown: Stillwater, MN
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Cross-country skiing
Favorite Type of Trail: Hills and flats 
Fuel for the Trail: Clif bars
Off-Season Training: Roller-skiing and running

Pinty Nidersson

Hometown: Stillwater, MN
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding
Favorite Type of Trail: Flats to work on technique and mini hills so when you get to the top you can power through 
Fuel for the Trail: Power Bloks, Clif bars.
Off-Season Training: Roller-skiing and other sports

Sophia and Pinty training at William O'Brien State Park

Tips graphic

No Cross-Country Skis? No Problem!

Skiers at Wild River State Park resting on bench

We Have Rentals For You!

If you’re new to the sport or don't own the gear, stop at FlandrauGlendalough, or Mille Lacs Kathio state parks to rent the equipment: Skis, boots and poles are only $10/day. Rentals are also available through outfitters and concessionaires. 

Join one of our naturalists for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or candlelight events.

Minneopa State Park promotion

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The Great Minnesota Ski Pass

Deer on Wild River groomed trail

This doe knows she is the only one allowed to walk on the groomed trail!

Your ticket to 1,100 miles of groomed ski trails throughout the state!

Buy your Great Minnesota Ski Pass online, by phone, or everywhere Minnesota DNR licenses are sold. A pass is required for all skiers 16 years and older on trails in state parks, state forests and on state and grant-in-aid trails. Funding from the sale of the ski pass supports the grooming and maintenance of these trails.

  • Daily: $10
  • One-year: $25
  • Three-year: $70
  • Duplicate passes: $2.50
From the MCV icon

The Ski Scene That Made Jessie Diggins

Jessie racing at William O'Brien

How a small town and a state park became the center of Minnesota’s Nordic ski culture. Full story.



Minnesota Conservation Volunteer is a print magazine dedicated to Minnesota’s wild places and creatures. For more stories, visit or subscribe.





Jessie racing at William O’Brien State Park. Credit: Bruce Adelsman

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Did Somebody Say Escape Room?

Start 2020 with a First Day hike—or snowshoe, or bird count!

Skills-building programs include snowshoeing, building a quinzee, making a campfire, and ice-fishing. Venture out for a candlelight event to experience parks and trails in the evening. (*)

New this season, Winter Survival Escape Rooms: Use puzzles, hints, and clues along the way to figure out the steps you will need to complete in order to survive a winter night outdoors.  (Pre-registration required)

(*)Some events require pre-registration. All events are subject to cancellation. Check the events page for the most up-to-date information