There are some parks in the city that gets tons of chatter. Everyone raves about the snowshoeing, skiing, and hiking trails. But in Fall when you finally get a free weekend to visits you find out that half the park is closed to a deer hunt.
Thankfully Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Winter was one of the stops on the Regional Park Scavenger Hunt I was doing, giving me the perfect excuse to explore the trails.
Things to do at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Winter
Lebanon Hills Regional Park is part of the Dakota Parks System. I can not say enough good things to say about them. Not only do they have incredible signage, but all of their parks also have free admission. They have staff on-site and amazing facilities.
What sets Lebanon Hills Regional Park apart from the others in the system is its extensive trail system. It is also the largest park in the system, containing almost 2,000 acres of park to explore.
During winter they have cross country skiing, hiking, ice fishing, kicksledding, mountain biking, skate skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Winter Hiking Trails
With most parks transitioning their trails to cross country ski trails in the winter, it’s refreshing to see that Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Winter leaves half the trails reserved for hikers and snowshoers.
The extensive trails and loops throughout the park make it ideal for those looking to still enjoy winter.
The park trails are marked with lots of maps at intersections and labels each intersection with a waypoint number. This really helps with all the intersections.
If you are navigationally challenged I recommend downloading the Avanza map before going or bringing a printed map.
The trails at Lebanon Hills Regional Park weave around lakes and cross over each other many times. Relatively speaking the park is flat, with some small inclines. This park is great for people of all fitness levels.
See Related: Fun things to do at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
If you are looking for a pair, check out these pairs. If you don’t want to buy snowshoes, you can also rent them at the park. Snowshoes cost $7 per adult and $5 per child per hour.
While I was there, I noticed that REI was conducting classes on the sport. They do a Family Snowshoe Tour of Lebanon Hills park thought the season. They bring all the gear, and you just need to dress warmly. The programs fill up fast, so make sure to plan ahead.
The trails get packed by foot traffic within 1-3 days following a snowfall, making snowshoes more of a novelty. At that point, you may want to consider having a pair of ice cleats instead.
Cross County Skiing
What isn’t reserved as a Hiking Trail is groomed for cross-country skiing. As soon as 4-6 inches of snowfalls, the park starts packing the ski trails for visitors.
The trailheads are at Jensen Lake, Holland Lake, and the Visitors Center. What sets apart Lebanon Hills Regional Parks skiing opportunities is the amenities available.
The park rents out equipment at the visitor’s center for those without skis. If you’ve never been on skis before, take one of their beginner-level courses. The park trails have just enough hills and flat areas to make things fun for beginners.
There is a smaller sledding hill at the parking lot of the visitor’s center. A lot of the regional parks boast hills that go on forever. This one is 1/3 of the size of many, making it friendlier for little kids. With the shorter walk getting back up, you’ll be able to go down a lot more.
See Related: Things to do at Whitetail Woods Regional Park
Warm up at the fire
After all your adventures are done, warm up beside the fire pit out near the visitor’s center. Firewood is available for purchase at the campground offices at Lebanon Hills Regional Park for $6 per bundle.
Fire rings are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. When we were finishing up our hike, someone was taking advantage of this.
How much does it cost?
Lebanon Hills is part of the Three Rivers Park District. All of their parks have free admission. Cross Country Skiing does require a Dakota County Ski Pass. Rental equipment all cost.
Call ahead before going to ensure that everything is running. I was there on a weekend in January and there was plenty of activity.
Would I go back to Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Winter?
No question, Lebanon Hills was a great place to go. My sister-in-law even recommended it to me. One recommendation I have is to go during the week if possible or early in the day.
I was there around 10 am on a Saturday and the parking lots were already filling up. Over the summer, I’d love to attend the free Forever Wild Family Friday: Wolf 101 course this spring in conjunction with the International Wolf Center.