Things to do at Whitetail Regional Park in Dakota County

Things to do at Whitetail Woods Regional Park in MN 2024

Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Farmington MN was never on my radar until I started the Regional Parks Scavenger Hunt. What’s shocking is why no one online has been talking about it?

456 Acre Whitetail Woods Regional Park is located in the Empire Township, in the center of Dakota County, about one mile north of the Vermillion River.

It’s not normally in my neck of the woods, but worth spending more time there for sure. There were so many things to do at Whitetail Woods Regional Park, I was blown away.

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Things to do at Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitetail Woods Regional Parks is a unique park hidden away in the Empire Township in Dakota County. The park is one of the most well-maintained parks in the entire Twin Cities.

The park strikes a good balance between natural activities for the entire family, wilderness, and even a little Camping. What blew me away was how many people are enjoying this hidden gem.

Whitetail Woods Regional Park Sledding Hill

Sledding is the one activity everyone that has everyone smiling. All you need is an inexpensive sled and some warm clothes. On the southeastern side of the metro, Whitetail Woods park is where everyone is at. That’s because they have a 400 feet long hill.

The sledding hill has snow fencing on either side of the track with a designated walking path back up. Officially speaking the hill needs 2-3 inches of snow to be deemed safe for sledding.

That didn’t seem to stop the full parking lot of people ready to play. The hill is open from dusk to 10 pm.

Adjacent to the sledding area is the Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area and a Fire Pit. It was really easy to find. I got to experience the Whitetail Woods Sledding hill while doing the scavenger hunt.

The energy of the hill had me bummed I didn’t have my own sled to give it a try.   

See Related: Reaching Top Speeds at Staring Lake Park Sledding Hill

Sledding Hills

Hiking Trails

The park has 10 miles of summer hiking trails and six miles of Ski Touring Trails. There are an additional 5 miles of winter hiking and snowshoe trails.

The parks trail maps are available online or on the Avenza App for free. The most popular trail is the Empire Lake Loop. It’s a 3.8-mile trail around the lake. The trail is asphalt. There is plenty of dirt trail s that connect to the trail as well.


Have you ever wanted to glamp inside a local park? Whitetail Woods Regional Parks has five camper cabins. Each cabin sleeps up to six people.

The cabins are designed to blend into the landscape but also provide an expansive view of the Vermillion River Valley.

Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area

Water activities during the summer, and sand to build. Year-round there are boulders to climb, and sticks to build with. What is most impressive about this play structure is the nets.

There are nets to climb up into the observation area. A net in the center and below to lounge in. During the Regional Parks Winter Scavenger hunt, they wanted us to lay in the net.

About 5 years ago I probably would have jumped at the opportunity. This time, with it being so cold, it was a hard pass. My kids would have loved it.

See Related: Things to do at Gale Woods Farm

Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area
Net at Whitetail Woods Regioanl Pakr
Whitetail Woods Play Logs

Fire Pit

This park has recreational bonfire pits available on a first-come-first-serve basis. The one at Whitetail Woods is located near the top of the sledding hill and Fawn Crossing Nature Paly Area. There are also additional firepits near any of the cabins.

How much does it cost?

Dakota County Parks does not charge for admission. Parking is also free. Other activities, like renting equipment and cross-country ski trail passes cost additional money.

Would I go back to Whitetail Woods Regional Park?

Yes, I loved this park. Not only did the park have great signage, but they have so many activities to enjoy. I want to get my kids back there for the amazing sledding hill this season.

And I’d love to hike the Empire Lake Loop during a different season.  I highlight recommend visiting this park to see it all in person. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Exploring Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Farmington MN

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