Explore Off the Beaten Path

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parks and rec


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February 2020

Smörgåsbord of Opportunities

Ski trail with tree canopy

Skiihng at Lake Bemidji State Park

We have snow. And places to enjoy it: 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 1,100 miles of groomed ski trails, countless miles of woods and prairie for snowshoeing. Hop on a frozen lake for ice-fishing, biking, or skating—check ice conditions first!

The abundance of snow and low temps offer the perfect smörgåsbord of sports to choose from to get your vitamin D on the short MN winter days. But you don't have to choose: Consider snowmobiling to the edge of the BWCA Wilderness, then snowshoeing in for a day or two of world-class trout fishing

Bookmark mnDNR.gov/snow for current snow conditions. Happy Trails!

Our state trails icon

David Dill/Arrowhead State Trail

snowmobiles in woods

Experience the thrill of riding through the woods on a snowmobile.

David Dill/Arrowhead State Trail provides 135 miles of winter recreation opportunities.

Travel north from Tower to International Falls, through Kabetogama State Forest on this natural surface trail, primarily developed for winter use. The southern part of the trail features rolling hills with numerous lakes and streams. The higher ground is mainly forested with aspen; lower ground has a mix of spruce and ash. Map and more information.

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The faces and stories of our visitors and staff.

Anniversary Celebration on Sleds

Sherry and Mike Klehr

We met Sherry and Mike at Itasca State Park when they were on their way to the Headwaters: They were snowmobiling to celebrate 29 years of marriage! 

"We were married December 29, 1990, and went off to snowmobile with our friends for the next few days," reminisced Sherry.  Mike grew up snowmobiling, and passed his love of the sport to his family. They enjoy this activity with friends, their adult children, and anyone who loves to be outside in winter.

Here's to many more years of sledding for Mike and Sherry!

Sherry is a retired teacher and Mike is a contractor who will likely never retire

Mike and Sherry


Can I Go on the Ice?

Ice thickness illustraion

Check the ice thickness at least every 150 feet: Use an auger, drill or ice chisel to measure clear ice and be especially cautious when drilling through snow or “white” ice. General guidelines and details on checking ice thickness can be found on our website.

Tips graphic

Freeze-Proof Fool-Proof Energy Bars

You know those (very) cold MN days when the temps drop so low that your energy bars become jaw breakers? Pro tip: make your own bars! (1) Soak prunes in water for 15 minutes; (2) purée prunes in a processor; (3) add an equal amount of any of your favorite bar ingredients to create delicious, healthy bars for your outdoor winter exploration.

Bar ingredients could include oats, grated coconut, nuts, cocoa powder, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins and nut butter.

Make tracks and get your ski pass

How-to icon

Curious About Snowmobiling?

Minnesota United Snowmobile Association (MnUSA) works with the DNR to provide information regarding local snowmobile clubs, events, and resources.

Start here if you've never snowmobiled before.

You need a snowmobile certification and know the state’s rules and regulations.

*Stay on marked trails to avoid striking an obstacle or trespassing onto private property. 

*Leave the booze at home. Drinking and riding is one of two main factors in crashes, and plays a role in about 60% of those that are fatal.

*Watch the speed. Going too fast is the other main factor in crashes. 

*Be careful on the ice. You need at least 5-7" of new, clear ice to support the weight of a snowmobile and rider.

Snowmobilers through the woods
From the MCV icon

Sleddin’ for Trout

Big fish and expansive wilderness are but a snowmobile ride away for a group of Minnesota anglers. Full story.





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




Julie Collman poses with a 20-inch brook trout. Photo credit: Michael Dvorak

Brook trout and angler
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Escaping Groundhog Day

Visit Blue Mounds State Park to celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2, and learn all about the star of the show—not Bill Murray, the groundhog.

Find a skills-building program for adults or children: Cross-country skiing, intro to winter camping, snowshoeing, or ice-fishing. Venture out for a candlelight event to experience parks and trails in the evening. (*)

NEW this season, winter survival escape rooms at Lake Bemidji State Park! (Pre-registration required)

*Some events require pre-registration. All events are subject to cancellation. Visit our calendar of events page for the most up-to-date information