Winterize Your Life ❄️

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January 2022

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

~Desmond Tutu

A mixed race young girl, a toddler, her mom, and a Latino woman shown in an action shot with snowshoes in the snow with trees in the background

Leaping into 2022 with hope and a smile.

Winter Recreation for All

The diversity of Minnesota's landscape and Minnesota State Parks and Trails offers opportunities for recreation year-round. Whatever your outdoor adventure of choice is, whether hanging by the fire, cross-country skiing, camping, hiking, or capturing the beauty of nature from behind a camera, we have a place for you to enjoy this winter.

May your 2022 be filled with love, health, and outdoor adventures.

Graphic reading "destinations."

Choose Your Own Adventure

Two Hmong girls and their mom warming by the fire, outside on a winter day.

Share a laugh and the warmth of a fire with your loved ones. 

Add special flair to your winter outdoor adventure with a picnic feast. Food won't spoil, so the sky's the limit when it comes to creative snacks and meals that provide high energy for hard play. Read winter picnic tips from naturalist Kurt Mead.

A Latino woman, a Black man, and a white woman on their fat bikes on a snowy trail.

Slow roll on snow.

A fat bike has wide, low pressure tires designed for travel over snow without leaving deep ruts. Roll on a fat bike this winter on select trails only, as shown on signs and maps, including state trails, state forest roads and trails, state park and recreation area trails. Stay off trails groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling.*

From Minnesota Conservation Volunteer (MCV), read about winter fat biking at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. 

*Most groomed ski and snowmobile trails do not allow other uses. Skier and snowmobiler user fees pay for grooming and maintenance.

An Asian woman, a white man and a Latino man ice fishing together. Fishing shanty can be seen in the background.

Fish year-round! (Yes, even in Minnesota).

Grab your auger, rod, a couple of buddies, and enjoy some time on the frozen lake. It’s free to fish in Minnesota state parks, and many have equipment you can borrow. Learn more about fishing in winter, getting a license, and more.

Graphic showing ice thickness safety. Ice is never 100% safe. Minimum guidelines for new, clear ice.

Red snowmobile traveling on frozen lake

Get out on your sled and enjoy Minnesota's vast trail network.

There are over 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, with over 21,000 miles maintained by local snowmobile club volunteers. Most groomed, signed snowmobile trails are closed to off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and highway-licensed vehicles (HLVs) beginning December 1. 

Developed mainly for winter use and primarily used for snowmobiling, the 135-mile David Dill/Arrowhead State Trail extends from ten miles west of Tower, Minn., at the intersection with the Taconite State Trail, to Ericsburg, ten miles south of International Falls. 

Latino girl and her little brother smiling while pulling their sleds up a snowy hill.

Break out your other sleds and head to a Minnesota state park.

There are 11 Minnesota state parks with sledding hills for the young and young-at-heart to enjoy.

Deer crossing plowed trail

Go for a walk or hike on a plowed trail.

All you need for this family-friendly activity is a pair of warm boots and clothes. Hit a state trail or one of the many state parks and recreation areas that plow or pack many miles of trails for winter walkers and hikers. Whether you walk one or ten miles, you'll reap the benefits of time in nature. The relaxed pace of a stroll through the woods or prairie lends itself for spotting wildlife, and accommodates walkers of all abilities, young and old. 

Don't let the next snowstorm catch you off-guard. Get your ski pass.

Filipino man gliding on cross-country ski trail.

Glide into winter with a Great Minnesota Ski Pass.

Enjoy more than 1,100 miles of groomed ski trails at state parks, state forests, state trails and grant-in-aid trails. Buy your pass online, by phone (1-888-665-4236), or everywhere Minnesota DNR licenses are sold. Find your skiing destination on the Ski Pass Trails map.

Millennial Asian woman and man holding hands and smiling while snowshoeing on trail through the prairie.

Venture off trail with snowshoes.

You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as skiing or snowmobiling. You can also snowshoe in a Scientific and Natural Area, where you'll enjoy some of the finest native habitats Minnesota has to offer.

When the snow is six inches or deeper, it is fun to strap on snowshoes and explore off trail. Discover animal stories in the tracks you find and soak in the quiet solitude of winter.

Before you go...

Skis and snowshoes leaning against camper cabin.

If you’re new to the sport or don't own the gear, stop by FlandrauMille Lacs Kathio or Wild River state parks to rent cross country skis on weekends, when conditions allow. Rentals are also available through outfitters and concessionaires.

Snowshoes are available for rent at some state parks and recreation areas.

Bookmark these pages so you're ready for your next visit:

A Black woman, an Southeast Asian woman and a Filipino man holding skis by camper cabin in the woods.

Make a weekend of it! 

Enjoy a winter retreat in a camper cabin or yurt, with the luxury of having the trails right out your front door. Read or write, play games, share stories or snuggle up in these cozy, heated cabins ideal for small groups of 1 – 6 people.

Tent set up in the snow with traditional snowshoes propped up in the snow in the forefront of the photo.

... or pitch a tent.

Winter camping is available at select state parks. Discover a unique way to experience the great outdoors in the winter, spending a night or two in a snow covered landscape. Read MCV's article on winter camping at Itasca State Park.

New Year, New Permit

Image of 2022 Vehicle Park Permit Sticker, with months listed on border and image of tamarack trees in the fall at Big Bog State Recreation Area.

The 2022 Minnesota state parks vehicle permit features the boardwalk at Big Bog State Recreation Area. From the mile-long boardwalk you have a first-row seat to view the unique plant and animal life of the largest peat bog in the lower 48 states.

Get your permit sticker online and be ready to enjoy 365 days of adventure at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

Safety Header

Winter Safety Basics

Next time you hit the trail, plan ahead and play it safe, using this checklist:

✔️Let someone know where you’ll be and when you expect to return.

✔️Shorter daylight hours and blowing snow can reduce visibility. Bring a light and navigation tools.

✔️Dress in layers and avoid cotton. 

✔️Carry a space blanket, snacks and a warm beverage.

✔️If you're walking or hiking, wear ice traction cleats.

✔️Stay hydrated. Prevent your water from freezing by using an insulated bottle or putting your bottle inside a wool sock.

From the MCV Archives

Lure of the Wild Ice

Man skating on ice

The author's father, Kurt Lauber, skated atop a light layer of snow that covered much of the lake. PHOTO: Sophia Lauber.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer

Last winter, the stars aligned for one man to fulfill his dream of ice skating in the BWCA. Full story.

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

Join the Minnesota DNR and help protect Minnesota's natural resources.

No matter your professional background — financial management, communications, engineering, forestry, conservation, hydrology, parks, fish and wildlife, enforcement and more — there’s a career opportunity to fit your skills and interests. Apply.