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Minnesota is an awesome place to go snowshoeing! Snowshoeing is becoming more and more popular each year with its gorgeous trails, stunning scenery, and quietness of freshly fallen snow. Snowshoeing in Minnesota is one of the best things to do during winter.
You can explore snow-covered forests, wander across frozen lakes, and really get your heart pumping.
Plus, it’s an great way to stay active during the cold winter months. If you’re looking for a fun winter adventure, grab some snowshoes (or rent a pair) and hit the trails in Minnesota!
Minnesota’s snowshoeing history dates back to the early 19th century, more out of necessity. Today the activity has grown in popularity as an alternative to hiking in winter.
You can explore snow-covered forests or traverse frozen lakes, all while staying active and enjoying the beauty of winter. Minnesota’s vast terrain makes it the perfect place to experience the joys of snowshoeing.
Snowshoeing is a low-impact form of exercise, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for a more relaxed workout. Plus, it’s easy to do, plus you can rent or buy snowshoes almost everywhere.
Snowshoeing also helps you reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, and boost your balance and coordination. I also think it makes you a better hiker, keeping you in shape, and also uses a different set of muscles.
Best Trails for Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail is one of the coolest snowshoeing spots in Minnesota. Located on the North Shore with over 310 miles of stunning views and some challenging terrain, you won’t be disappointed.
Along the way, you’ll find breathtaking glimpses of Lake Superior, the Laurentian Divide, and the Sawtooth Mountains.
Plus, the trail is super easy to follow with different entry points all over the north shore.
I doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, there are plenty of sections to explore. Oh, and did I mention it’s totally free and open year-round? So, what are you waiting for? Get out to northern Minnesota and start snowshoeing!
Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park is the place to be for snowshoeing! The park has over 20 miles of trails perfect for both beginners and pros. You’ll cross through forests and meadows and even along the St. Louis River.
The views are breathtaking, trust me! Plus, you won’t have to worry about taking a leak or getting cold because the park has restrooms, picnic areas, and heated shelters.
It’s the perfect spot for a snowshoeing adventure with your squad!
Afton State Park
If you’re into snowshoeing, you gotta check out Afton State Park. The place is loaded with over 20 miles of trails that cater to all levels of expertise.
You can take an easy stroll down a beginner-friendly route or get your heart pumping on more challenging terrain. The trails are pretty sweet too, cutting through forests, meadows, and along the St. Croix River.
You’ll definitely want to stop and take in the stunning views. Oh, and don’t worry about roughing it – the park’s got you covered with restrooms, picnic areas, and heated shelters. It’s the perfect spot for a day of snowshoeing!
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Looking for a cool spot to go snowshoeing? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is where it’s at!
This place has tons of wild territory for you to explore, with over 1,200 miles of trails to choose from. You’ll find all kinds of terrain to match your skill level.
And don’t forget the wildlife! There are moose, deer, otters, and bald eagles, if you are lucky enough to catch a glimps.
Best of all, you wont need a permit to hike in winter. Head on up to Minnesota and check it out!
Bear Head Lake State Park
Bear Head Lake State Park is a great destination for snowshoeing due to its great north woods trails.
The park have over 15 miles of trails, ranging from easy, beginner-friendly routes to more challenging and technical terrain.
The trails wind through forests, meadows, and along the lake, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
The park has restrooms, picnic areas, and heated shelters, making it an ideal spot for a day of snowshoeing.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot for snowshoeing. Not only do they have great hiking trails in summer, but in winter they all turn into a snowshoers paradise.
It’s close to the Twin Cities and offers beautiful views of the Minnesota River valley.
The trails wind through forests, prairies, wetlands, and riverbanks, so you’ll get to see a variety of terrains. Primarily flat trails along the river, making it great for beginners.
There are different trail options to choose from, so you can pick one that matches your experience level.
Plus, the refuge offers educational programs and exhibits about the area’s natural history and conservation efforts. Overall, it’s a fun and accessible spot to snowshoe in Minnesota.
Lake Maria State Park
Lake Maria State Park in Minnesota is a great spot for snowshoeing. The park has a range of trails that take visitors through forests, prairies, and around the park’s namesake lake.
You’ll get to see stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including views of the lake and rolling hills. Just make sure to stay off the groomed cross country ski trails.
The park is near the Twin Cities Metro area and easy to get to. It’s a great way to get the woodsy feel and dont want to travel far.
Plus, there are several snowshoeing trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, so you can choose the one that best fits your preferences and experience level.
Theodore Wirth Park
Theodore Wirth Park is a sweet spot for snowshoers in Minneapolis. Located in the Three Rivers Park District, it’s right in the Twin Cities.
It’s easy to get to and has over 13 miles of groomed and ungroomed trails, so there’s something for everyone.
You’ll get to explore forests, meadows, and hills, so the terrain is diverse and fun.
Plus, they have rentals available if you don’t have your own gear. The park also has a chalet with restrooms, a fireplace, and a warming room so you can stay cozy.
Theodore Wirth Park is the perfect place to snowshoe if you want an accessible and varied experience near the city.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Lebanon Hills Regional Park is a great spot for snowshoeing because it has over 12 miles of trails with varying difficulty levels, beautiful scenery, and snowshoe rental available.
It also has amenities like a warming house, restrooms, and a picnic area, which make it a comfortable and convenient place to snowshoe.
Plus, it’s located in the Twin Cities area, in Dakota County so it’s easy to get to.
Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and accessible place to snowshoe, give Lebanon Hills Regional Park a try!
Quarry Hill Nature Center
Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester is a sweet spot for snowshoeing.
The park has over 8 miles of trails that meander through woods, wetlands, and prairies.
You can see the quarry lake and the surrounding landscape. There are even bird feeders that attract a bunch of birds, perfect for birdwatching.
Don’t have snowshoes? No problem! The park has rentals available.
There’s also a warming house, restrooms, and a visitor center with lots of cool info about the park’s wildlife and natural history. Oh, and they offer guided snowshoe tours too!
Plan your visit today to Rochers and find out the other activities and attractions to check out with this guide!
Tips for Beginner Snowshoers
Dressing for the Weather
When you’re snowshoeing, it’s super important to dress for the weather. Layering is key because it can get pretty chilly out there!
Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking layers on the bottom, like tights or leggings, to keep your legs warm. Then, throw on a windproof layer on top, like a cozy fleece or insulated jacket, to keep your core toasty.
Don’t forget to protect yourself from the snow and wind with a waterproof outer layer. Make sure to keep your head, neck, and hands warm. Layers are ideal!
Last but not least, make sure your boots are waterproof and have good traction to help you stay on your feet.
Choosing the Right Snowshoes
If you want to have an awesome snowshoeing experience, you need the right type of snowshoe! The type of terrain you’re planning to explore will determine the type of snowshoes you need.
For example, if you’re hitting up packed trails, you’ll need wider and more durable snowshoes with great traction.
But if you’re trekking through deep, soft snow, you’ll want to go for lightweight, tapered snowshoes. Think wooden shoes.
Don’t forget to take into account your weight and the kind of terrain you’ll be navigating!
Get ready to explore the winter wonderland – buy your snowshoes today! The Best Snowshoes for Hiking this Winter
Navigating Snowy Terrain
Snowy terrain can be tricky to navigate. When walking on snow, take short, measured steps and use your poles for extra stability.
If you’re navigating steep terrain, take your time and use your poles to help you keep your balance.
When walking downhill, keep your weight slightly forward and your feet close together.
When walking uphill, keep your feet wide apart and your weight slightly back.
Also, watch out for obstacles. I spend a bunch of time looking down for rocks, logs, and tree roots, which can be difficult to spot in the snow.
Techniques for Walking and Turning
Snowshoeing is a blast, but it can take some practice to get the hang of it.
To move efficiently and stay safe, try taking short, measured steps and use your poles for some extra stability.
Keep your eyes on the trail ahead so you can spot any obstacles or changes in terrain.
When it’s time to turn, lift your snowshoes and swing them around in a wide arc to avoid tripping over them.
And remember to keep your feet nice and wide apart to maintain your balance.
Going uphill on snowshoes can be a bit of a workout, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, it can be a breeze. Spread your feet apart and lean back a little to keep your balance.
Take small, deliberate steps and use your poles to stay steady.
Keep your eyes peeled for any bumps or shifts in the terrain. And remember, don’t rush it – keep a nice, chill pace as you climb.
Don’t worry if downhill snowshoeing seems daunting at first! With the right techniques, you can totally rock it.
When heading downhill, keep your weight slightly forward and your feet close together, taking short and careful steps.
Your trusty poles will also give you some extra stability. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for any obstacles or changes in terrain ahead.
If you need to slow down, just use your body weight to control your speed. You got this!
Safety Tips for Snowshoeing
Preparing for Winter-Related Dangers
When you go snowshoeing, you gotta watch out for the potential dangers of winter weather. Hypothermia and frostbite can sneak up on you in a flash when it’s cold out and can be super dangerous.
To avoid these bad boys, make sure you dress warm, stay hydrated, and don’t hang out in the cold for too long. Also, be careful with the terrain. If it’s steep or icy, it can be a real hazard.
Make sure you’ve got shoes with good traction, use your poles for extra stability, and don’t rush when you’re moving through tricky terrain.
It’s also a good idea to bring a map, compass, and other tools to help you navigate, cause it’s pretty tough to find your way in the snow.
Staying Visible and Alert
When you’re snowshoeing, it’s super important to make sure you’re visible to others and alert to any potential dangers.
Try wearing bright colors or reflective materials to make sure you’re seen by other snowshoers and drivers.
Go with a buddy or make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
Keep an eye on your surroundings, steer clear of any wildlife, and make sure to stick to marked trails.
Most importantly, know your limits so you can have the best and safest snowshoeing adventure possible!
Trail Regulations and Permits
It is important to be aware of and obey all trail regulations and permits when snowshoeing.
In Minnesota, some trails are designated a ski trail and snowshoeing is not allowed. Additionally, some trails may require a permit or fee to use.
In most cases, anywhere there are hiking trails, it’s also a snowshoe trail.
Be sure to check with the trail manager or local authorities before snowshoeing to ensure you are in compliance with all regulations and permits.
Other Winter Activities to Enjoy in Minnesota
Aside from snowshoeing, Minnesota has a ton of other winter activities to try out.
Cross country skiing is a fantastic way to explore the trails and breathtaking scenery of the state.
Ice skating is a fun and quirky way to enjoy the beauty of winter, and snowmobiling is a thrilling way to venture through the vast terrain.
Ice fishing is a great way to explore Minnesota. With tons of great lakes.
For a truly unique and authentic experience, you should definitely give dog sledding a go.
It’s been a part of Minnesota’s history for centuries! No matter which activity you choose, Minnesota is sure to provide an unforgettable winter experience.
Don’t miss out on the winter fun in Minnesota – click here to discover more things to do!
Go Out and Start Exploring
Minnesota is an amazing winter wonderland and snowshoeing is the perfect way to explore it.
I put together this document to give you the rundown on the best snowshoeing trails and tips, plus to encourage you to get out there and explore the stunning winter landscape in Minnesota. Let’s do this!