Minnesota Trails Winter 2022/23

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Winter 2022/2023



Crosby / Ironton Deerwood / Bay Lake Cuyuna / Emily 522 Sinclair Lewis Avenue Sauk Centre, MN 56378

www.MnTrails.com Minnesota Trails Staff Jan Lasar Editor/Publisher Joyce Frericks Accounting Karen Knoblach Page Layout & Design Graphic Design

Editorial Board Brett Feldman Executive Director Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Vol. 27, No. 4 November 2022 Minnesota Trails magazine is a continuation of Minnesota Bike Trails & Rides, published quarterly in cooperation with the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that acquires, protects and enhances critical lands for public enjoyment. Your $35 membership subscription supports this work. Minnesota Trails is not responsible for the return of unsolicited materials and reserves the right to reject unsuitable advertising. Information in this publication is as accurate as possible. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of Minnesota Trails.

Continuing the


DEERSTAND RESTAURANT & BAR 24188 Mohs Street, Deerwood 218-534-9253 www.deerstandrestaurant.com Why limit happy to one hour?

RED RIDER RESORT 23457 Co. Rd. 31, Crosby 218-838-6858 www.redriderresort.com Cabins and camping right off the trail


TRAILSIDE TAVERN & PATIO 212 West Main Street, Crosby 218-546-5465 www.trailsidetavern.com Crosby’s newest trail-friendly restaurant


COLDWELL BANKER CROWN REALTORS Hwy. 6 & 210, Crosby 218-546-8346 www.coldwellbankercrown.com Impacting lives through real estate

CUYUNA LAKES CHAMBER PO Box 23, Crosby 218-546-8131 www.cuyunalakes.com

CRMC Cuyuna Regional Medical Center

VICTUAL 124 W Main St., Crosby 218-545-1000 www.shopvictual.com Ice cream, cheese, charcuterie, gourmet, gifts, spirits

NEW WALK-IN CLINIC Inside Super One 22418 HWY 6, Crosby 218-545-5350 M-F 7:30-6, SAT 9-1


CYKEL 324 Curtis Ave, Ironton 218-772-0177 www.cykelonline.com Bike sales, rentals, repairs & custom builds

OARS-N-MINE 22640 MN-6, Crosby 218-546-6912 www.oarsnmine.com Docks, lifts, bait and tackle

TIMBER BUILDING SUPPLY & ACE HARDWARE 14506 State Highway 6, Deerwood 218-678-2063 www.timberbuildingsupply.com Your local building supplier


DEERWOOD BANK 21236 Archibald Rd., Deerwood 218-534-3111 www.deerwoodbank.com Banking Made Nice & Simple

MID MINNESOTA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION 117 West Main Street, Crosby 218-546-5428 www.mmfcu.org Member owned and working for you

Cuyuna Lakes Chamber members are open & ready to serve you you!

www.CuyunaLakes.com 2 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails


8 Skiing on the Edge of the Boundary Waters


Jan Lasar

12 Twin Cities River Winter Running Scott Wooldridge

26 Right Out the Front Door: Maplewood State Park Camper Cabins Jan Lasar


4 Parks & Trails Council News Lisa Filter

7 Trails Q & A Conversations with Trail Users

15 2022/23 Ski Trail Guide Minnesota’s 200+ Ski Trails

28 2022/23 Winter Events Ski & Fatbike Adventures

29 MN Trails Map


6 Minnesota Miles Jan Lasar

Minnesota’s Trails At-A-Glance

31 Trail Partners Find Trail-Friendly Businesses

ABOVE: Bear Head Lake State Park, Ely, MN. Jan Lasar photo


COVER: Hidden Valley Rec Area in Ely, MN. Jan Lasar photo FIND US ON: Minnesota Trails

Winter 2022-2023 3

people saving special places

w w w. p a r k s a n d t r a i l s . o r g

Reuel Harmon Awardee

Senator Carrie Ruud stands strong for parks and trails

Sen. Carrie Ruud receiving the Reuel Harmon Award from Parks & Trails Council President Brett Feldman on Sept. 28. Photo bottom right: Mountain biker at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area overlooking the lakes created by previous mine operations. Story by Lisa Filter, Parks & Trails Council

Sen. Carrie Ruud stood up for the environment as a “common-sense conservative” even as many of her fellow Republicans didn’t support that priority. Last spring, she found herself competing against incumbent Republican Senator Justin Eichorn for her newly redrawn redistrict.

Ruud’s love of the outdoors was instilled by her father. Growing up in the Twin Cities she says she didn’t have much, but she has fond memories of visiting local parks. “Then one year, we got camping equipment and we were unleashed. We started going around the state to places like Gooseberry Falls and Itasca.”

She did not get the endorsement, prompting her to wrap up a decade of leadership in the Minnesota Senate. Yet, she remains remarkably upbeat and appreciative of the opportunity to leave a legacy for parks and trails.

As an adult, she has inline skated on most of Minnesota’s state trails and is always looking for new lakes to kayak. This year, she competed at the Snowshoe Racing World Cup in Argentina, adding that she hopes to bring this event to Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (SRA) soon.

Ruud was presented with the Reuel Harmon Award at the Parks & Trails Council’s Annual Dinner on September 28 at Como Lakeside Pavilion in St. Paul. Ruud had influence over all bills relating to Minnesota’s environment in her roles on the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, where she served as Assistant Minority Leader and Chair. Here, she stood in strong opposition to well-resourced advocates who pushed to open up state parks to off-highway vehicles (OHVs). “We can’t allow that,” she says. “Once we do, the precedent is set, and quiet spaces are lost.”

Cuyuna SRA is a special place to Ruud. For her, it epitomizes the power of boosting tourism by investing in the outdoors. In 2001, when Ruud was mayor of Breezy Point, Cuyuna SRA was just being developed near the sleepy town of Crosby. Today, it is a world-class mountain-biking destination and Crosby has a bustling downtown. “Seeing this place

For her, preserving quiet spaces is important. Part of the reason is veterans, who are “great consumers of parks and trails, and who look to these places for solace.” She also believes parks and trails should be accessible to everyone. “We’ve done great things to help differently-abled folks use the parks and that needs to continue,” she says. 4 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails

people saving special places

w w w. p a r k s a n d t r a i l s . o r g

Reuel Harmon Award

Sen. Carrie Ruud talking about why she fought to keep OHVs out of state parks

come to fruition has been one of my greatest accomplishments,” she says. Overall, parks and trails were a priority during her tenure. In 2015 she supported a 20 percent increase in state parks and trails funding. In 2021, bolstered by Parks & Trails Council’s research, she authored a $4.8 million Trails Rehab Bill. “It’s been a great partnership with Parks & Trails Council,” said Ruud. “Anytime I needed information or support, they were there.” She is particularly proud of her work on the Legacy Amendment, as well

We can’t do that; once we do, the precedent is set and quiet spaces are lost.

as the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. “I hope I put in good guardrails there,” she says, alluding to recent attempts by others to raid the fund for non-environmental needs. Ruud says she could not have done her job without the support of the environmental community. She laughs as she adds, “I know because sometimes it would feel like I was out on a springboard all by myself, if not for that community’s support.”

Parks & Trails Council annually recognizes one individual for exemplary service and achievements on behalf of Minnesota’s parks and trails with this award named for a cofounder of the organization. 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995

Sen. Carrie Ruud Steve Thorne Not awarded Sen. Keith Langseth Grant Merritt Rep. Alice Hausman Dave Lais Peggy Prowe Hon. David Minge Mary Lee Dayton Mark and Joan Strobel Peter Seed Terry McGaughey Eleanor Winston Sen. David Durenberger Henry N. Somsen Michael Prichard Bob Dunn Don Davison & Bill Morrissey Rollis Bishop Alden Lind Howard E. Olson Nadine Blacklock Rep. Willard Munger Gov. Elmer L. Andersen Martin N. Kellogg Samuel H. Morgan

Visit the Award Hall of Honor


Minnesota Trails

Winter 2022-2023 5

Minnesota Miles

It’s November and the annual avalanche of holiday greetings is gathering speed. It starts with a single card in mid-October, sent by that one person who’s already shopping for Valentine’s Day cards at that point. It slowly grows into a steady stream and soon the letter carrier needs both hands to press the embossed and bedazzled envelopes into your mailbox every day. One morning in December, you open the door to the bulging receptacle and a colorful spray of Yuletide mail explodes all over your lawn. You gather everything up and notice there’s one piece left in there. The envelope looks larger, thicker. You pick it up and its heft takes you by surprise. It’s heavy, so heavy it couldn’t be launched like the other cards. It’s a Christmas letter. Jan Lasar Trails Editor/Publisher

Happy H idays! We’ve been so super busy with everything, but here’s what we’ve been up to: In February Jen and I rented one of the new camper cabins at Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Mother Nature did all she could to purge us from this earth early in the year, but we survived the blizzard on the way up north. The trail system at the park is still growing, but the surrounding area has many, many kilometers of meticulously groomed ski trails. We hit the loipes with force every day. (Read Skiing on the Edge of the Boundary Waters, page 8) One 25°-below evening, after a particularly good day out, while sitting and gazing at the Boundary Waters-like scenery through the glass front of the Dagwaagin cabin, we had an epiphany: “Hey, we could live in a place like this.” That

moment spurred a frenzy of research into tiny houses and started a conversation about what we think we really need to be happy in life. A mild April had us take the travel trailer out of storage early and pull it up to Itasca State Park. There was still plenty of snow on the ground and the going was a little dicey inside the park, but a few sites are open year-round. We chiseled the ice from the fire pit, and watched the sun set through the naked trees as the fire crackled cheerfully. There were three other campers, two of them in tents. As daylight disappeared and we watched everyone’s lights come on, we smiled knowing that the end of winter was finally coming. In June we had a revelation. Jen and I spent a weekend in Brainerd to ride bike, paddle, fish

and explore. It’s in our backyard and we’ve driven through town or to town uncountable times. We didn’t expect to learn anything new on this trip, but in downtown Brainerd we found a vibrant arts community, cool shops and restaurants and a Historical Society with passionate buffs who lead regular walking tours during the summer. After diving into the granular detail of how this town went from a railroad stop to today’s tourist magnet, we realized that every place deserves a second look. The malls and highway re-routes have pummeled this historic district, but it’s coming back, one repurposed building at a time. The biking and fishing were the cherry and sprinkles on this weekend. (Read the story: mntrails.com/trail-pairings-a-visit-to-brainerd) With leaves near their October best we set out to ride the new Heart of the Lakes Trail in Otter Tail County. It’ll connect Perham and Pelican Rapids with 30 miles of paved trail once the last stretch through Maplewood State Park is complete. Currently, there’s a total of about 27 miles between each town and the park. Parts of it follow the Otter Trail Scenic Byway and that triggered a lot of good memories for both of us. Back when our legs were young and our spirits high, we’d go bike camping (recently re-branded bikepacking). One such trip took us on a week-long tour of the byway we still talk about today. We had all but forgotten about the rolling hills, the tidy Norwegian churches and the lakes bustling with people and pelicans, but they were still there. “There was nothing to do but turn the cranks, look around, breathe and occasionally wipe the sweat from my eyes, like open road therapy without the open road,” I wrote after the Heartland Lakes Trail ride. (Read the story: mntrails.com/adventure-report-heart-ofthe-lakes-trail) On the way home in the car, Jen and I began to make plans to dust off the panniers and ride the Mesabi Trail end to end next year, a trip we last attempted in the age before we had cell phones. In 2023 I hope you can take some time to find out what truly makes you happy. Take another look at the familiar, discover something new, look ahead, revisit the past. Keep turning the cranks.

The Trails Family 6 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails

& Q Trails A


Trails Q & A Snapshots of people we meet along the trail

Jean Alt

Kirsten Brekke-Albright

Rachel Munson

Rob Scheltens

Lino Lakes, MN

Saint Louis Park, MN

Bemidji, MN

Walker, MN

Occupation: Marketing for Bemidji State University Gear: Madshus skis, Yoko poles, Toko gloves and Rossignol boots. Seen: Skate skiing at Three Island Park in Bemidji, MN with friends Joe and Pauly. How many miles do you ski in a year? 50-100. What does being outdoors mean to you? Everything. Being outside has always been an opportunity to let loose and clear my head. Being outside is sacred. Favorite Minnesota park or trail? Itasca State Park. I grew up going to it. I think it’s magical that it’s the start of the Mississippi. It’s really special to me. My favorite trail is this one. Best Minnesota trail experience? Skiing at the Buena Vista trails with the women on my ski team in high school. Advice for the novice skier? Just try it with rental equipment and overcome your fears. What’s on your Minnesota bucket list? I need to hike the Superior Hiking Trail, visit the spoon and cherry sculpture in Minneapolis and go to the State Fair. What would you do with $1,000? I’d get a trail bike. Trail Treat: I really like chocolate chip cookie dough flavor Lärabars and a big glass of water.

Occupation: Retired Correctional officer Gear: Atomic Pro Combi Skis and Salomon boots. Seen: Skiing at Hiram ski trails near Hackensack, MN with partner Barb. How many km do you ski in a year? Depending on the season, 50 to 100 km. What does being outdoors mean to you? Everything. Our lives are centered around outdoor activity. Favorite Minnesota State Park or trail? Locally, we love the Goose Lake Trail and we like to go to the North Shore for Skiing, like Pincushion Mountain. Best Minnesota trail experience? Spending several days hiking and camping on Turkey Lake in the Boundary Waters. Worst Minnesota trail experience? Injuring my knee while skiing backcountry trails because the weather warmed up and snow stuck to my skis. Advice for the novice skier? Go out there and get some proper technique started and concentrate on kicking and gliding. What’s on your Minnesota bucket list? More of the same. What would you do with $1,000? Go on a trip. Trail Treat: We like to have Kombucha at Portage Brewing Company in Walker.

Occupation: Records Clerk for the Occupation: Self-employed Centennial Lakes Police Department Gear: Atomic Sport Pro skis with Seen: Skiing at Grand View Lodge in climbing skins. Nisswa with husband Dave, children Seen: Skiing at Hidden Valley Recreation Area in Ely with friend Susan and Sam and extended Virginia Jensen. family. How many miles do you ski in one How many km do you ski in a year? Maybe 150. season? Around a hundred or so. What does being outdoors What does being outdoors mean mean to you? It’s the Friluftsliv to you? Exercise and enjoyment in [Norwegian for open air living]. It’s the winter, and being with friends. a way to embrace the darker, colder days. Favorite Minnesota park? Favorite Minnesota park or trail? Gooseberry State Park. The I like Elm Creek Park Reserve a waterfalls, hiking trails, crosslot. I know the trails and it’s just country ski trails, camping, it has beautiful. it all. Best Minnesota trail experience? Best Minnesota Trail Experience? Just recently, Virginia took me on a Skiing with friends to what we call little Boundary Waters trip. That was the summit at Gooseberry Falls pretty spectacular. State Park. I’m an amateur skier and Worst Minnesota trail experience? I could still do it. Biting flies when we were trying to Worst Minnesota Trail Experience? hike on the North Shore. Camping in July and the power Advice for the novice skier? Join a went out at our campground. That local organization like the Loppet stunk. Foundation or the Ely Nordic Ski What’s on your Minnesota bucket Club and take some lessons. What’s on your Minnesota bucket list? Dog sledding in Ely. list? We’re going to the Ely Steam What would you do with $1,000? Sauna after this. Put it towards buying a fatbike. What would you with $1,000? I’d buy my husband new skate skis. Trail Treat: A glass of wine, or nowadays, sea salt caramel whiskey. Trail Treat: Some sort of protein bar, or chocolate. And chocolate.

Diiss coc o ver



Winter 2022-2023 7

« Dagwaagin cabin

Head frame of Soudan Mine


8 Winter 2022-2023

SKIING on the edge of the BOUNDARY WATERS Story and photos by Jan Lasar


If camper cabins are a step up from tent camping, the eight new generation camper cabins at the park are a step up from camper cabins. They come with Wi-Fi, a table and real chairs, a comfy couch, a credenza, a little mudroom with a bench and coat hooks. In front, a roofed counter top provides a food prep area near the fire pit. Out back, patio doors lead to a little deck overlooking the woods. Our cabin, Dagwaagin, Ojibwe for fall, had the loft bed layout but there’s also a bunk bed version. The real luxury, however, is that the shower building is also open in the winter and only a short walk away from the cabin. The check in procedure was pretty easy. Our papers were waiting at a bulletin board inside the bathroom building and the key was on the table

« Scenic overlook at Hidden Valley

in the unlocked cabin. We had grand plans to hit the trails on snowshoes, but after a long, white-knuckled drive through a blizzard we were content to just sit on the comfy couch and look out the window at our own little slice of boundary waters scenery in the waning light. When we went to bed, the winds were still howling, but it didn’t matter to us. We woke up before it was fully light out and had our first cup of coffee while the sun was coming up. The wind had died down completely; not even the smallest branches stirred in the trees surrounding our cabin. And, no surprise, it was thirty degrees below zero. We typically get out early, but with those temperatures, we decided to wait a little bit to get going. By the time we got to the Hidden Valley Recreation Area, things had improved to minus ten degrees. This 25km system on the outskirts of Ely was established in the late 1980s and has been the training ground for the Ely Youth Ski League and the Ely Nordic Wolves high school team. The Ely Nordic Ski and Bike Club meticulously grooms more than ten different loops, so there’s a lot to choose from. Because of the temperatures we decided on an abbreviated version of our usual deep exploration and set out on the Bambas Loop, which makes an irregular ring on the southern end of the system. The single-tracked path with a wide skate lane wound through the Superior National Forest on some moderate hills. At some point we were up high and the view opened up over the rest of the landscape: Pointy pines and naked birch trunks as far as we could see. This really was skiing on the edge of the Boundary Waters. The rest of the trip didn’t disappoint as the trail took on a more intimate feel. Occasionally, a huge pine stood guard on the edge of the forest, flanked by more birch with their mossy beards.



waved at us


Two people passed us, but that’s nothing new. All we could do is admire their textbook ski form and watch them to effortlessly glide along and disappear around the next turn. Jen was ahead of me. She went up one small hill and with a “Whoa!” she disappeared. When I reached the hill, I heard “Ohhhh, boy!” from somewhere in the woods, but I couldn’t see her. I took off, expecting the worst. It was steep downhill, followed by a left turn, then another steep drop that made my eyes water, then a right turn. Still, no sign of Jen, not even a hole in the waist-deep snow with skis sticking out. I eventually found her around the last corner, standing upright and beaming with pride. “I stayed in the tracks the whole way down!” she said. That fun ride brought us to the end of the Bombas run and we retreated to the car to warm up and regroup. It was back to town for a trip around Miner’s Lake on the 6km Trezona Trail. What was once an active mine, filled in with water over the decades and is now a popular lake, right in the middle of town. The Trezona Trail tells the story of mining in Ely with interpretive signs along the way and the highlight is the remnants of the Pioneer mine with its rusty head frame, brick buildings and smokestack. The trail was freshly groomed by the ski club that morning and we got first tracks. We took off from Veterans Park and just a few minutes later there was a grand overlook of the almost mile-long lake. This trip was off to a good start. Clockwise from top: Trezona Ski Trail, » Trail Center at Bear Head Lake State Park, Sunset Loop of the Ashawa ski trail system. 10 Winter 2022-2023

We continued right past of what remains of the Pioneer Mine and stopped to read the plaque. The trail then followed the road shoulder through a neighborhood and we imagined that’s how people in Finland get around in the winter without cars. A friendly homeowner waved at us through his large, trail-facing picture window as he was sitting in his recliner and sipping from a big mug. We ducked back into the woods and came to an intersection. Another friendly Ely resident pointed us the correct way, back to Veterans Park. The other trail, she said, went to the International Wolf Center and, eventually, Hidden Valley. Back at the car we peeled off our steamy gear and headed back to the state

park. The new shower building with its heated floors was a wonderful experience and we emerged refreshed, renewed and ready for a bonfire. It was ten below zero, but, again, no wind whatsoever. It was a perfect end to a busy day and our fire-roasted hot dogs were a gourmet treat. Around us, nothing but silence. Above, a cloudless, dark sky and a bright moon with a full moon dog. Ahead of us was another cozy night in our rental estate. Day two was reserved for a trip up to Cook, MN, some 30 miles away. Here, in the Kabetogama State Forest, the Ashawa Ski Club grooms about 28km of ski trails in three separate clusters. First one on the list was Paddy’s Loop, which starts in the parking lot of a local watering hole about eight miles outside of town. It’s basically three loops on a flat golf course, but it also tucks into the woods now and then for that up north feel. It made for a great warm up, because the next trail was more of a workout. It’s made up of two distinct clusters: The Pines Loop on the west and the Figure Eight Loop on the east, connected by a two-way trail, The Aspens. This would have made an epic, 12km ski day through the woods, but because of time constraints, we stuck with just the 2.7km Figure Eight Loop. It didn’t disappoint. The intermediate trail rolled through aspen, pine and spruce forest and finished with a great view of the surrounding area and a grand finale schuss back down to the parking lot. We had enjoyed bright sunshine all day, and despite it being only five degrees, the near absence of wind made for pleasant conditions. By the time we got to the last cluster, the Sunset Loop, clouds were rolling in. This reverse lollipop-shaped trail is just


over 4km, but travels through a variety of terrain. It starts out with a nice climb out of the parking lot and rolls through the hills from there. The stick of the lollipop dead-ends at Sunset Lake. After that stop, the cabin was calling and we turned back toward our home base after a day on the freshly groomed trails. During our obligatory bonfire it started to snow lightly and we got a little dusting at the end of the day. A decade or so ago Jen and I rented a camper cabin at Bear Head Lake State Park and planned go skiing at the park. It turned out to be a March with record high temperatures and record low snowfalls and instead of cruising through the woods on skis we rode our mountain bikes on the Taconite State Trail in 70-degree weather. We haven’t been back for skiing since and it was time to fix that. Bear Head Lake State Park is only 16 miles from the cabins at Lake Vermilion and there’s about 11km of ski trails leaving from the heated trail center. We took off on the Norberg Lake Trail and unlike the broad paths of the past few days, this tight, winding trail was barely as wide as our skis were long and made for a very intimate experience. The rolling path bobbed and weaved through the forest, much like an old school, backcountry trail. In some spots there’s a slant to it so you have to be on top of your game to stay upright. Dappled light flickered across the trail and the sun’s fingers reached down to warm us through the branches of the old pines, so we sun and forest bathed at the same time. The park also grooms the Beach Trail and some of the roads of the campground, which makes for a nice round trip on flat and easy trail, from and back to the trail center. This large,

wood-beam structure is surrounded by huge floor to ceiling windows on three sides, with grand views of the surrounding woods, and the beach and it even has a wood-burning stove. We plopped down in upholstered chairs and ate our sandwiches while we soaked up more sunshine. Back at the cabin it was a special occasion: Valentine’s Day dinner cooked on the bonfire with a cold, full moon to watch over us, and the sound of nothing but crackling logs as background music. We didn’t admit this to each other until later, but neither of us really felt like skiing the last day. The kilometers of the past three days had added up to some stiff muscles and the impending four-hour drive home didn’t brighten the mood, either. But as soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the Howard Wagoner Trail in Tower and saw the

Howard Wagoner Trail

nicely groomed trail disappear into the tall pines, we perked up. Because we didn’t have enough time to do the entire 11km system, we picked the Howard Loop on the southern end. It started with a nice downhill and wound through the forest, flanked by huge conifers and naked aspen trunks. There were rock outcroppings and mossy logs and nearly every stick, stump or twig had a little cap of snow on it. Who has time to be glum when you’re skiing through a magic forest? To top things off, it started to snow right in the middle of our trip and the only thing to top that would have been seeing a gingerbread house somewhere along the way. It was over way too soon, and we turned toward home in our car full of sweaty gear and sandwich wrappers.



a great view


Winter 2022-2023 11






169 Forest east of Cedar Nicols Trailhead

Wilkie Unit National Wildlife Refuge




Chaska 169 ▲


The Minnesota River near Jordan

Carver 13 ▲ Xcel Energy Black Dog plant


1 FORT SNELLING STATE PARK St. Paul The Minnesota River ends here and joins the Mississippi at Bdote, the Dakota name for this confluence. The park features miles of paved and natural trails, but there are other multi-use trails, including a path straight down the center of the Pike Island. Steer clear of the groomed cross country ski trails there. Picnic Island has a loop of paved road as well as natural trails, and offers stunning views of Mendota Bridge. Under the Mendota Bridge: Don’t miss a great four-mile out and back run from the main parking lot to Bdote, at the end of Pike Island. As an alternative, park at the Snelling Lake Road entrance and run along the trail on the banks of the Minnesota, over to Picnic Island, then to the boat landing under the massive Mendota Bridge. It’s a short 2.5 miles, but there are many other trails you can access from that area.

12 Winter 2022-2023

Prior Lake Dan Patch Bridge





(CEDAR NICOLS TRAILHEAD) & OLD CEDAR AVENUE BRIDGE Bloomington, Burnsville, Eagan These connected trailheads on the north and south side of the Minnesota River are linked by the Highway 77 bridge. In winter, the old Cedar Avenue Bridge, open only to pedestrians and bikes, is a wonderful, scenic spot along Long Meadow Lake. Less than a mile away, trails head east or west along the river. Southeast of that bridge, the Cedar Nicols Trailhead features dirt trails going east and the paved Black Dog Road trail heading west. This is perhaps the most joggerfriendly trail you’ll find along the river, with an easy, level trail that’s plowed in the winter. The Big Loop: Looping around the Minnesota River via trails over the Hwy. 77 bridge and the 35W bridge, allows you to run on both sides of the river, on paved and unpaved trails. Don’t do this right after a snow. You don’t want to be breaking trail on this 9-mile loop. It’s a challenge in any season. Recommended starting spots: Cedar Nichols parking lot or the Lyndale lot.

Bloomington, Burnsville On the south side of 35W bridge, the Minnesota River Black Dog Trailhead is on the west end of that trail and features terrific views of the river and Black Dog Lake. The 35W bridge has a pedestrian/bike path, so there’s a connection between the two sides of the river. On the north side, at the Minnesota River Bottoms Lyndale lot, a winding, paved path goes east for about two miles before ending. There are also some narrow dirt paths, but keep an eye out for bikers. Finding Nine Mile Creek: West of the bridge is a gravel path that leads to trails the Nine Mile Creek Park system and the Minnesota River Bottoms trails. Going west on that trail from the Lyndale lot will take you from a prairie-like setting to a deep woods with a winding course, until you suddenly reach the creek. The three mile out-and-back course has great scenery and you may encounter some bald eagles along the shores. Minnesota Trails




Story and photos by Scott Wooldridge

Fort Snelling State Park




3 3 13




Scott Wooldridge is a writer and musician who has been running along the rivers in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area for several years, accompanied by his dog, P.J. During that time, he’s managed cover paths along both the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers between Belle Plaine, Minnesota to Prescott, Wisconsin bit by bit, a distance of about 75 miles.

▲ Fort Snelling State Park

Burnsville 35W

Apple Valley


Old Cedar Ave. Bridge


easy to rent. easy to ride.





Bloomington, Shakopee


This is another trail that can have impassable points, depending on ice, river levels, and This must-see trail crosses the Bloomington Ferry Trail Bridge on the north side of the river whether the trail is broken after big snows. and ends at the Wilkie Unit trailhead two miles But when it’s clear, it’s a manageable west. The view of the river from the pedestrian distance of about four miles, and parts of it are quite flat, with long, straight, paved bridge is one of the best in the metro area. sections. Start at Carver Riverside Park in Here we also find the Minnesota Bottomlands Carver and follow the Chaska Trail through system of trails, going east and west. Keep in a wooded area, along the Minnesota mind this area often floods during the spring Riverbank, and through a wetland near thaw. Chaska Lake. You’ll then head back west on the Chaska-Carver bike path. Over and under bridges: a very straightforward run, on paved trail and roads all the way, is the route between the Bloomington Ferry Bridge and the Wilkie Unit National Wildlife Reserve parking lot. The out and back, 4-mile route will take you over the river and under the long Highway 169 bridge. Watch for ice on this trail! Minnesota Trails

Reserve your bike today, meet us at Welch Station on the Cannon Valley Trail to pick it up & “e-joy” your ride!

Serving Welch, MN & surrounding area

www.RollingRiverBikeRental.com Winter 2022-2023 13

You, your bike and a snowy trail.

14 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails


SKI TRAIL GUIDE • Movil Maze 14km - Intermediate to advanced, classic and skate. Steep and rolling hills through black spruce bog, red pines and hardwoods. MN Ski Pass required. • Three Island Park 25km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic and skate with beautiful views of Three Island Lake and Turtle River. MN Ski Pass required.




120 miles for you

Callaway | Maplelag Resort 64km - All levels, many well groomed loops through maple forest with rolling hills. Mostly classic trails with some skate ski in a privately owned cross-country ski resort.



Ski Trail Guide Sources: Minnesota DNR, Minnesota Nordic Ski Association, Skinnyski & Individual Trails. Before traveling to a ski venue check local trail conditions. Find more info and maps at www.mntrails.com/ski-trails

Detroit Lakes Area • Detroit Mountain 7km - Beginner to advanced ski trails ranging from skate and classic to classic only. Trails connect to Mountain View Rec Area. Detroit Mountain’s lodge has bathrooms, changing rooms and a restaurant with a fireplace and offers equipment rentals. Detroit Mountain also offers snowshoe trails and some portions of the ski trails may be groomed for fatbikes when conditions allow. This popular ski destination also offers lift-served downhill runs for skiers and snowboarders as well as snow tubing. • Dunton Locks County Park 6.1km - Beginner with some hills, west of Detroit Lakes, groomed classic all levels.



From the edge of Lake of the Woods to the Headwaters of the Mississippi, northwestern Minnesota offers the widest variety of crosscountry ski trails in the state. Bemidji Area • Buena Vista Ski Area 25km - Mostly advanced loops through woods. Family resort since 1949 with downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, sleigh rides, replica logging village, large lodge, kitchen and shops. MN Ski Pass required. • C.V. Hobson Forest Trail 7km - Beginner, groomed for classic. Red and white pine and tamarack bog along Lake Lyra. MN Ski Pass required. • Fern Lake Trail 3.5km - Intermediate to advanced, groomed classic ski trail. MN Ski Pass required. • High School Trail (Lumberjack Trail) 6.5km - Easy beginner trail, groomed classic and skate. MN Ski Pass required. • Lake Bemidji State Park 13km - Beginner to advanced, four loops, groomed double classic near Lake Bemidji. MN Ski Pass required. • Montebello Trail 4km - Gentle beginner course in the city of Bemidji with 2km of lighted trail. MN Ski Pass required. Minnesota Trails

Winter 2022-2023 15



• East Frazee Ski Trails 17km - Groomed beginner cross-country trails on the Ike Fisher Farm, just southeast of the Frazee golf course. This ski area on private property is open to the public. Two trailheads on County Road 118 provide access from the south near Albertson, Fischer and Murphy Lakes. Another trailhead on County Road 150 is the northern access point. • Mountain View Recreation Area 4.9km - All levels, both classic and skate skiing on wide, regularly groomed trails through hardwood forest. • Pickerel Lake Ski Trails 9.1km - Narrow singletrack trails through hardwood forests. Groomed occasionally.

Erskine | Rydell National Wildlife Refuge 2.5km - Relatively flat with rolling hills, groomed for classic skiing. The refuge grooms the Golden Pond trail, but will occasionally groom the Round Lake trail as well. No MN Ski Pass required. Fertile | Agassiz Environmental Learning Center 20km - Groomed ski trails traverse forests, oak savannas, prairies and sand dunes. Classical groomed trails from flat riverside and woodland trails to rolling and steeper slopes in the Fertile Sand Hills. Snowshoe trails, too! $3/day trail fee for non-Agassiz ELC members. MN Ski Pass not required. Ski and snowshoe rentals available when the Nature Center is open.

2022/23 Hackensack Area • Deep Portage Ski Trails 18km - Beginner to advanced classic trails through rolling hills. Located in the Deep Portage Conservation Reserve. Interpretive Center open all week, including weekends. • Hiram Ski Trail 8km - Beginner to advanced classic trail loops inside the Foot Hills State Forest, just west of Tenmile Lake. Only about 1.5km of this system is rated advanced and can be avoided. If you travel the westernmost loop in a counterclockwise fashion, you can take advantage of a long, swooping downhill after passing the trail shelter. MN Ski Pass required. Longville | Goose Lake Ski Trail 17.3km - Beginner to intermediate classic trails through woods, over gently rolling hills and around wetlands. MN Ski Pass required. Moorhead | M.B. Johnson Park 4km - Scenic trails through woods and along the Red River of the North. Other ski trails available at Gooseberry Mound Park and Viking Ship Park, which has some lit trails. Outing | Washburn Lake Solitude Area 22.4km - Beginner to advanced trail in the Land O’Lakes State Forest.

Bemidji’s Three Island Park offers 25km of well-groomed ski trails.


Park Rapids Area • Itasca State Park 20km - Beginner to advanced, groomed with many loops. Ski to the headwaters of the Mississippi River among towering white pines on easy rolling hills. Visitor center with fireplace is open year-round. Mississippi Headwaters Hostel is inside the park. MN Ski Pass required. • Soaring Eagle Trails 10km - Beginner to advanced skate and classic trails that wind through a varied forest with rolling hills. MN Ski Pass required. Rochert | Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge 13km - Two loops exist at the refuge, the smaller Tamarack Trail and the larger Pine Lake loop. Ski through a mix of hardwood and coniferous forests as well as wetlands. Groomed occasionally. Visitor Center has regular hours all year long.


The Perfect Winter


Enjoy miles of groomed cross country ski trails and snowmobile trails through the Park Rapids Lakes area and experience the true stillness of winter in the Northwoods.


Thief River Falls Area • Golf Course Trail 12km - Beginner to intermediate classic trail. Ski on the frozen Thief River from Red Robe Park to the golf course. • Greenwood Trails 1.5km - Beginner classic ski trails that wind through a wooded setting along the Red Lake River. Walker | Shingobee Recreation Area 9km - Beginner to expert trails on the slopes of the Shingobee River Valley. Groomed for classic and skate skiing.


))PNF PGG 16 Winter 2022-2023


Find More Information at www.mntrails.com/ski-trails Minnesota Trails

2022/23 Along the North Shore of Lake Superior, throughout the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, to the Chippewa National Forest, northeastern Minnesota offers some of the biggest snowfalls in Minnesota and many well-groomed trail systems. Brimson | Mother Bear Ski Trail 10km - Classic ski trail through jackpine forests, black spruce swamps and over glacial eskers, with lots of wildlife viewing opportunities. MN Ski Pass required. Carlton | Jay Cooke State Park 51km - Beginner to advanced with a wide variety of trails, some along the St. Louis River. Warming shelter with a woodstove and bathrooms is open seven days a week. MN Ski Pass required. Cloquet | Pine Valley Ski Trails 10km - Intermediate to advanced, challenging with difficult climbs, yet gradual, rolling sections. Partially lit, adjacent to Cloquet recreation center. 2.5k lighted. The back of the 5K loop across Spring Lake Road is skate and classic groomed. Coleraine | Itasca Trails (Mount Itasca) 10km - Beginner to expert, groomed for skate and classic skiing on flat to very hilly terrain. Heated chalet available. MN Ski Pass required on west public trails. Additional fee for east biathlon course with snowmaking. Cohasset Area • Minnesota Power/Blackwater Trails 4km - Beginner trails groomed for skate and classic skiing. Lighted. MN Ski Pass required. • Portage Park 4km - Beginner classic trails near the Mississippi River. MN Ski Pass required.




Cook | Ashawa Nordic Ski Trails 20km - The Ashawa Trail Ski Club maintains 20km of trails north of Cook. Trails are set for classic ski only and accessible from three separate trailheads and maps are available at the Crescent Bar and Grill north of Cook, MN. • Paddy’s Loop - Located 3.8 miles north of Cook on East Olson Road, this easy to moderate classic ski trail originates and terminates at the Crescent Bar and Grill on East Olson Road. Trails are primarily on flat terrain through a mature black spruce forest and on parts of the Vermilion Fairways Golf Course. Total distance is 5km. • Wood Loop - Located 6 miles north of Cook on Co. Rd. 24. Look for the signed parking lot on the west side of the road just before Pehrson’s Resort. The complete Wood Loop is 8 km of moderate skiing through a mix of young and mature stands of aspen, ash, pine and spruce. One-way trails have two long, sloping downhill opportunities. A shelter on Beatty Hill offers a view of Cook and the surrounding area. • Sunset Loop - Located 9 miles north of Cook on Co. Rd. 24, 1/2 mile north of Raps Road. Look for the parking lot on the west side of the road. Sunset Loop offers moderate to advanced levels of skiing. A number of hills and a view of Sunset Lake make for an exciting 7km of diverse terrain skiing. Deer River Area • Blueberry Hills 12km - Beginner to expert with many loops, five miles northeast of Deer River. Heated chalet available. MN Ski Pass required.

• Amen Lake Trail Intermediate, groomed, classic ski trail 13 miles north of Grand Rapids. Ski through hardwood forest with rolling hills. Connects to south end of Suomi Hills ski trails near Marcell. MN Ski Pass required Duluth Area The greater Duluth area offers a lot of crosscountry, downhill and skate skiing, but you’re never far away from town. • Bagley Nature Area 2.7km - Two Intermediate, classic loops on the UMD campus. • Biskey Ponds Trails 12km - Beginner to advanced classic ski trails through a scenic landscape with a near-wilderness feel, just north of Fish Lake Reservoir. Five distinct loops. • Boulder Lake 21km - Beginner to advanced, 11km of skate ski. Groomed regularly for classic and skate ski, very well maintained by Minnesota Power. • Chester Bowl Park 3km -Intermediate to advanced cross country ski trails and downhill skiing. Chalet and ski rentals available. MN Ski Pass required. • Hartley Park 5km - Beginner to intermediate with some gentle slopes. Classic only. Equipment rentals available. Home to Hartley Nature Center. MN Ski Pass required. • Korkki Nordic 11km - Intermediate to advanced single track classic trails, groomed daily. Steep hills, designed for racing. MN Ski Pass required.

winter trails are calling

visitelymn.org Minnesota Trails


Northeast • Lester-Amity Trail 15km - Beginner to advanced trail of varied terrain through pine, aspen, and birch forests. Additional 3km circles the Lester Park Golf Course and 5km trail lit mornings and evenings. Chalet available. MN Ski Pass required. • Magney-Snively Park 14km - Intermediate to advanced, beautiful hardwood forest with large hills. A rugged trail not recommended for beginners. • Piedmont Trail 5km - Beginner to intermediate trail through aspen, birch and hardwood forest. Beautiful overlook of St. Louis River Valley. MN Ski Pass required. • Snowflake Nordic Ski Center 15km - Intermediate classic and skate ski trails, groomed daily. Lessons and rentals available. Warming chalet with showers, sauna, changing rooms, lounge, and snacks. • Spirit Mountain 24.5km - Spirit Mountain has two crosscountry ski areas for all skill levels. The upper trail system consists of 22km of beautifully wooded cross-country ski trails. The new Grand Ave. Nordic Center on the bottom of the hill is a work in progress, but it currently has 2.5km of nordic trail, 1.5 of which have snowmaking. All trails are groomed daily and the Grand Ave. Chalet offers rentals, lessons and a restaurant. Ely Area • Bear Head Lake State Park 11km - Beginner trails through boreal forest circling Norberg Lake, groomed for classic ski. Trail Center with toilets, water and warming house. MN Ski Pass required.

18 Winter 2022-2023

SKI TRAIL GUIDE • Hidden Valley Trails 25km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic and skate trails. Rolling to hilly terrain, through birch and pine stands. Connects to Silver Rapids Ski Trail. MN Ski Pass required. • Trezona Ski Trail 6.5km - Beginner trail groomed for classic and skate ski. Relatively flat with some rolling terrain. Starts in town, circles Miner’s Lake with views of remains of Pioneer Mine. Goodland | Big Ridge Trail 10km - Intermediate, groomed, classic ski trail near Goodland, MN, about 23 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. Ski rolling hills through hardwood, evergreens and young aspen. MN Ski Pass required. Grand Marais Area The area around Grand Marais, between Lake Superior and the US-Canada border, has many miles of ski trails to explore, starting with the Bally Creek system just west of town, to the Upper Gunflint trails near the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. • Bally Creek Trails 25km - A series of short to medium length, easy to intermediate loops in the Superior National Forest. A long connector trail to Cascade River State Park is groomed when conditions allow. MN Ski Pass required. • Pincushion Mountain Trails 25km - Beginner to advanced, well designed classic and skate trail two miles north of Grand Marais with beautiful Lake Superior views and separate snowshoe trail. 1.6km lighted trail. MN Ski Pass required. • George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail 3km - Groomed for classic and skate skiing. Skijorers and walkers may use the skate

2022/23 ski lane. Just 6 miles north of Grand Marais along the Gunflint Trail in the George Washington Memorial Forest. • Central Gunflint Trail System 77km - All skill levels. An extensive ski trail system 30 miles north of Grand Marais and close to BWCAW. Connects to the eastern end of the 27km Banadad Trail via Poplar Creek and Lace Lake trails. Lighted sections at Bearskin and Golden Eagle Lodges. Grooming is shared by local lodges, so skiers need to purchase a trail pass. • Banadad Trail 27km - The longest tracked ski trail through the BWCAW is a true wilderness experience on its own, but it also connects two major ski trail systems, the Central and Upper Gunflint Ski Trails. Eastern end: Here the Banadad connects to the Lace Lake Trail (5km), the Tim Knopp Trail (3 km) and the Tall Pines Trail (3 km). The Lace Lake Trail provides access to the Poplar Creek Trail and the Central Gunflint Trail system. Park at about 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail (County Rd. 12), from Grand Marais, just off Little Ollie Road. Western end: Parking is available just off County Rd. 12, at fire #10045, about 10 miles from the eastern trailhead. Currently, there is no direct connection to the Upper Gunflint Trail system, but it’s only about a mile away. MN Ski Pass and Boundary Waters permit needed. • Upper Gunflint Trail System 45km - All levels, 45 miles north of Grand Marais. These trails near the Canadian border and BWCAW are mostly classic trails with some skate skiing. Grooming is done by local lodges, so skiers need to purchase a trail pass. Access to the 27km Banadad Trail is close by, but no direct connection exists.

Minnesota Trails

2022/23 Grand Rapids Area • Alder Pond Trail 10km - Beginner, groomed classic ski trail through aspen and coniferous forest. MN Ski Pass required. • Golden Anniversary State Forest • Cowhorn Lake Trail 8km - Intermediate, classic ski trail with rolling hills through old growth aspen forest. Intersects Boomer Blue Trail. MN Ski Pass required. • Boomer-Blue Trail 7km - Beginner, classic ski trail, doubletracked with snowshoe lane. Dogs are allowed. Intersects Cowhorn loop. MN Ski Pass required. • River Road Trail 3km - Intermediate, classic ski trail with rolling hills through majestic pines. MN Ski Pass required. • Forest History Center 4km - Beginner, classic ski trail through 1900s logging camp and virgin timber forest. MN Ski Pass required on one main trail. • Legion Park Trail 4km - Intermediate trail, groomed for both classic and skate skiing near Grand Rapids High School. 3km lit. MN Ski Pass required. • Sugar Hills 28km - Intermediate to expert trail, groomed for both classic and skate skiing on hilly terrain through hardwood forest. Thunder Mountain provides excellent panoramic views. MN Ski Pass required. • Sylvan Point Trail 6km - Beginner classic trail. Connects Grand Itasca Hospital to Forest History Center. • Wabana Trail 10km - Intermediate, classic trail, winds through scenic, rolling hills. MN Ski Pass required. Iron Range Area • Biwabik | Giants Ridge 60km - All levels, US Ski Team training center using the Superior National Forest with views and roller coaster rides. 3km lit for Nordic skiing and some of the trails can be reached by a chairlift. • Chisholm | Sturgeon River Trail 35km - Excellent beginner trail for classic skiing in the Superior National Forest. Long stretches of solitary trails. Two Adirondack shelters, groomed, scenic views of Sturgeon river. Groomed occasionally. • Hibbing | Carey Lake 22km - Beginner to advanced groomed trails with 10km side by side classic and skate skiing with views of the lake, lowlands, bogs, and jack pine stands. 3.8km Black Forest loop is lit from 5-10 pm daily. • Hoyt Lakes | Bird Lake Trail 19km - Beginner to advanced trail over birch and aspen hills with views of Bird and Lillian Lakes. One-way trail with some loops. • Virginia | Big Aspen Recreation Area 33km - Beginner to intermediate classic trail with shelters and a beautiful overlook on old logging roads and abandoned RR grades of the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Co. Hinckley | St. Croix State Park 17km - Groomed, classic ski trail with many loops for all skill levels. A warming house with fireplaces is available. MN Ski Pass required. International Falls Area • Tilson Creek Ski Trail 16km - Intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails in the Koochiching State Forest. MN Ski Pass required. Minnesota Trails



• Voyageurs National Park 53km - This National Park has three trail systems: Black Bay Trails, three loops totaling 13km. A 1km trail connects to Tilson Creek Trails. Access to Black Bay Trails is at Rainy Lake Visitor Center via Rainy Lake Ice Road. Echo Bay Trail, a 4km loop. Access through Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center. Kab-Ash Trail, a 35km system. Access near Ash River Visitor Center.

• Sugarbush Trail System 65km - Extensive trail network for all skill levels. Groomed for both classic and skate skiing with spectacular views of Lake Superior. Some trails allow skijoring. Clubhouse trailhead offers ski rentals. Parking at Britton Peak, Onion River Road and Moose Fence trail heads. MN Ski Pass required. • Norpine Trail System 58km - Groomed for both classic and skate ski with resorts along the way. Includes the Massie and Hall loops and Deer Yard Lake and Cascade trails. Connects to trails inside Cascade River State Park to the east. MN Ski Pass required. Some trails are groomed for fat biking. • Cascade River State Park 27km - Beginner to advanced, classic, single tracked, groomed weekly. Heavily forested trails along Cascade River and several little creeks. Spot moose and wolves down the river valley from Lookout Mountain. Woodheated warming house available. Connects with Cascade trail system to the west and Bally Creek Trails to the east. MN Ski Pass required.

Isabella | Flathorn Gegoka Trail 30km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, single tracked in the Superior National Forest near Isabella, MN. Some paths on old logging roads. Accommodations are available at National Forest Lodge. MN Ski Pass required. Marcell Area • Suomi Hills 35km - Intermediate to expert groomed ski trail on rolling hills through the Chippewa National Forest. Connects with Amen Lake Trail. • Trout Lake 17.7km - Easy classic ski trail through the Chippewa National Forest. 3 miles from historic Joyce Estate, a National Historic Site. Mora Area • Vasaloppet Nordic Center Trails 15km - Classic and skate ski trails and 5km lit trails start and end at Vasaloppet Nordic Ski Center which offers waxing room, showers, sauna, and is open daily throughout the season. • Warman Public Ski Area (Northern Practice Loop) 7.6km - Appropriate for beginners, mostly flat with some nice, rolling hills. Groomed at least weekly during the ski season for both skate and classic. Remote and primitive, but a lovely place to ski about 12 miles north of Mora. Nashwauk | Stoney Ridge Trail 10km - Intermediate trails, groomed for classic skiing. Mostly flat with a few rolling hills through woods. MN Ski Pass required. Silver Bay Area • Tettegouche State Park 25km - Intermediate to advanced, classic trails with many loops and good views of lakes and hills. About 6km of skate ski trail. Four historic ski-in cabins at Mic Mac Lake. Take a side trip to 70-foot High Falls on the Baptism River. Warming house is the lodge at Tettegouche Camp. MN Ski Pass required. • Northwoods Ski Trail 19km - Intermediate, groomed singletrack, classic trail through an intimate wooded setting, following the contours of rolling hills. Trail travels past Bean and Bear Lakes. A connector trail to Tettegouche State Park is groomed when conditions allow. Trailhead is on the west edge of Silver Bay, past the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead on Penn Boulevard/County Rd. 11. Access is on the right at Beaver River. Tofte/Lutsen Area The area between Schroeder and Cascade River State Park is home to three individual trail systems, which form a huge network stretching up Minnesota’s North Shore. The Sugarbush Trail system offers 65km of regularly groomed ski trails near Tofte. Farther up the shore near Lutsen, the Norpine Trail system includes two clusters, the Hall and Massey loops and the Deeryard Lake/Cascade system which are tied together with connector trails. This system links to trails inside of Cascade State Park to the east, which in turn connect to the Bally Creek Trails near Grand Marais.

Tower | Howard Wagoner Trail 11.5km - Four distinct loops. Beginner to intermediate trails through pine forest, groomed for classic ski only.1.3km lighted loop. The main trail system has some steep hills. The north trailhead is at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and County Road 135. Skiers can connect to the main system from here via a one-way trail or park at the south lot or access the trail at the south lot about a mile south on County Road 135. MN Ski Pass required. Two Harbors Area • Gooseberry Falls State Park 19km - Groomed, classic ski trail with many loops on gradual hills and unique views of frozen waterfalls. Ski over the bridge at Fifth Falls. MN Ski Pass required. • Erkki Harju Ski Trail 10.5km - Intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trail through scenic city forest. 3km lit until 10 pm daily. MN Ski Pass required. Adjacent, groomed multi-use trails allow walking and fatbiking. • Donald D. Ferguson Demonstration Forest 7miles - Easy beginner trails through boreal woods in the Superior National Forest, that are groomed flat and allow snowshoeing, skiing and fatbiking. Trail system is set to expand, with the ultimate goal of 15-20 miles. Adjacent, groomed multi-use trails allow walking and fatbiking.

Open O pen yyear ear rround ound

minutes from cross-country ski, fat tire bike and snowshoe trails.

2810 Meyers Bay Road, Grand Rapids, MN 218-999-5795 • www.greenheronbandb.com Winter 2022-2023 19




The state parks, forests, wetlands and private resorts in the heart of the state offer a ski experience ranging from remote to all-inclusive. Aitkin Area • No Achen Trail 11.3km - Beginner to advanced, groomed classic and skate trails through rustic forest. MN Ski Pass required. •

Vispo Ski Trail 3.5km - Four interconnected classic loops with a sledding hill about 13 miles southeast of Aitkin. MN Ski Pass required.

Alexandria | Lake Brophy County Park 5km - Intermediate, groomed skate ski trails (no classic tracks) that climb and descend through the hills of the park. Catch great views of Alexandria and the surrounding chain of lakes. Be aware that the park terrain consists of open prairie hills, so wind chill can be a factor. Expect lots of traffic on the trails in this very popular park.

Brainerd Area • French Rapids 9.5km - Expert only. Well-groomed and challenging trails in glaciated area with great views of Mississippi River Valley. MN Ski Pass required. • Northland Arboretum 20km - Beginner to intermediate, classic and skate ski with nearly 5km lighted trail. A trail fee applies. • Pine Beach Trails 30km - Mostly beginner to intermediate with some advanced loops. Varied terrain through pine and hardwood forest around several scenic lakes. Trail links Kavanaugh’s, Madden’s and Cragun’s resorts. Ski rentals at Cragun’s. MN Ski Pass required. Brandon | Chippewa County Park 1.6km - Groomed, beginner ski trails about two miles north of Brandon. The trails wind through the campground and woods among lakes. The area has some small hills, but is overall level. A very quiet spot if you want to ski in solitude.

Battle Lake | Glendalough State Park 13km - Beginner to intermediate, classic trails on rolling hills over prairie and northern hardwoods that pass several lakes. Weekend shelter with fireplace, camper cabins. Ski and snowshoe rentals. MN Ski Pass required. .

Carlos | Lake Carlos State Park 9.5km - Intermediate, groomed classic only, rolling terrain through tamarack bog, marshes, woodland ponds and lakes. The park has a rustic warming shelter with a wood burning stove. MN Ski Pass required.

Find More Information at www.mntrails.com/ski-trails

Clearwater | Warner Lake County Park 6km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic through woods with some challenging hills. 41-acre site surrounding Warner Lake.


lakes trails begin


WillmarLakesArea.com 320-235-3552 20 Winter 2022-2023

2022/23 Collegeville | Saint John’s Arboretum 16km - Beginner to advanced skate and classic loops through the wooded hills of the Saint John’s University campus. Stone Gate Loop (4.6km) and the Old Saint Joe Road (1.5km out and back) are classic only. Langlauf (0.7km) and Zicke-Zacke (1.8km) are skate only. The rest of the system is both side by side. One notable feature is one hill on the Pine Knob Loop. Nicknamed “Misere Nobis” (Latin for “Have mercy on us”) it presents a 100-foot climb over a short distance. Trails are free and open to the public. Cross Lake | Nordic Ridge Trail 9km - Easy to advanced series of interconnected loops starting at the Crosslake Community Center. Deerwood | Larson Lake Ski Trails 11.6km - Intermediate to advanced skate and classic in varied terrain with a mix of hardwood and mature pines. Passes by Larson Lake. Elk River | Woodland Trails 15km - Beginner to advanced, groomed skate and classic ski trails with many loops. Maintained by Elk River Nordic Ski Club. MN Ski Pass required. Erhard | Spidahl’s Ski Gaard 24km - All levels. Groomed classic and skate through 340 acres of hardwoods and prairie near Maplewood State Park. Privately owned. Fee applies. Ironton | Wolf Lake Ski Trail 9km - Beginner to advanced, groomed classic with challenging hills through hardwood forest and mature pine. Shelter along trail, maps at intersections. Kensington Area • Andes Tower Hills Ski Area 15km - All levels of classic and skate through forest and around lakes. Adjacent to downhill ski area with 1.5km lit trail. Ski rentals available. A fee applies. • Runestone Park 12km - Intermediate loops around several lakes at Kensington Runestone Park, groomed for classic skiing. Visitor Center with rest rooms is open as a warming house daily from 8am to 10pm. This park also has groomed fatbike trails that can be snowshoed. MN Ski Pass required. Little Falls | Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge 5.6km - Beginner trail, groomed with two parallel tracks, with gentle hills. Trail follows Platte River, skirts around several wetlands, winds through mixed hardwoods, crosses fields restored with prairie grasses. Waterfowl observation deck along trail overlooking Skunk Lake. McGregor Area • Remote Lake Trail 19km - Beginner to Intermediate classic ski trail within Savanna State Forest offers a wilderness-like experience. Connects to Savanna Portage State Park trails. MN Ski Pass required. • Savanna Portage State Park 16km - Beginner to intermediate groomed classic tracks on rolling hills throughout the park. Connects with Remote Lake Trail near Loon Lake. This connector trail has some steep sections. Minnesota Trails

2022/23 Milaca | Milaca Trails 8km - City of Milaca trails are groomed single track. Park at Recreation Park and take the pedestrian bridge over the Rum River to access the trails. Miltona | Spruce Hill Park 5km - 97-acre park with gentle, wooded hills through tamarack. MN Ski Pass required. New London | Sibley State Park 13km - Intermediate to advanced with hills and curves. Ski to the top of Mt. Tom for the best view of the countryside. 4km skate ski trails. MN Ski Pass required. Nisswa | Grand View Lodge 8km - All levels over three loops, groomed for classic through 360 acres of pines, prairie and wetland at The Pines golf course. Onamia | Mille Lacs Kathio State Park 32km - Beginner to advanced, several loops through wooded terrain. Ski rentals available. MN Ski Pass required. Palisade | Long Lake Conservation Center 5km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic ski trails through rustic forest. The conservation center building is open weekdays during business hours. MN Ski Pass required. Pelican Rapids | Maplewood State Park 8km - Intermediate to advanced, four loops of classic ski through hardwood forest, over hills and around many lakes. Additional 8km backcountry trail. MN Ski Pass required.

Minnesota Trails

SKI TRAIL GUIDE Pierz | Golf Course Trail 4km - Two easy loops on the grounds of the municipal golf course. Pine River | Cut Lake Trail 16.5km - Beginner to advanced skiing around Deer and Cut Lake. MN Ski Pass required. Rice | Mississippi River County Park 6km - All beginner trails, groomed for classic skiing right along the Mississippi River. Saint Cloud Area • Graystone Trails 17km - Beginner to intermediate with a few challenging hills. Many loops through scenic woods, pastures and apple orchards. Maintained by the Nordic Ski Club of Central Minnesota. MN Ski Pass required. • Riverside Park 5km - Beginner to intermediate trails with flat to rolling hills along the Mississippi River near downtown St. Cloud. • Kraemer Lake-Wildwood County Park 6km - Beginner to advanced. Six classic ski loops that wind through a wooded setting. MN Ski Pass required. Sauk Centre | High School Trail 2.25km - Groomed classic and skate ski trails next to the Sauk River. Rated easy to moderate with cut-offs to avoid the few hills.

Central Spicer | Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center 10km - Beginner to advanced, groomed classic and skate. Trails within 500-acre environmental learning center campus with woodland and prairie scenery and abundant wildlife. Rentals available. MN Ski Pass required. Wadena | Black’s Grove 9km - Beginner to advanced, classic ski trails that wind through a wooded setting. Waite Park | Quarry Park and Nature Preserve 6.3km - Beginner to intermediate with a skating loop and classic loops. Ski past granite quarries and rock piles on lighted trails. Well-marked trail system has separate trails for skiing, hiking and fat biking. A 323-acre State Scientific and Natural Area within the park offers an additional 5km of ungroomed, rustic trail. Quarry Park parking pass required. Willmar | Swan Lake Ski Trails 5km - Groomed, classic and skate trails for beginners on Eagle Creek Golf Course. Restaurant and bathrooms available during business hours. MN Ski Pass required. Zimmerman | Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge 5km - Mahnomen Trail inside the refuge consists of several easy loops and is groomed when conditions allow. Trails are shared with hikers and snowshoers. Parking lot with vault toilet. Located off of Sherburne County Road 9, about 1.5 miles west of County Road 42.

Winter 2022-2023 21



The southern half of Minnesota offers rolling bluff country in the east and wide-open prairies in the west with regions of oldgrowth forest in between. A wide variety of state parks, forests and recreational trails offer fine cross- country skiing. Austin | Jay C. Hormel Nature Center 10km - Beginner to intermediate, classic and skate trails through woods and prairie. Interpretive building with rentals serves as a warming house. No MN Ski Pass required. Byron | Oxbow Park 3km - Groomed classic and skate trail loops winding through undeveloped prairie and wooded hills. Oxbow Park also offers fat tire bike trails seasonally.

22 Winter 2022-2023

SKI TRAIL GUIDE Faribault | River Bend Nature Center 11km - Beginner to advanced, groomed classic through flat prairie and woods with some challenging hills. MN Ski Pass required. Frontenac | Frontenac State Park 11km - All levels, groomed classic with overlooks of Lake Pepin. Two warming shelters available. MN Ski Pass required. Henderson | Ney Nature Center 10km - Groomed, classic ski trails through the 446-acre Ney Wildlife Preserve. Rentals available at the nature center. Equipment rentals available. Kasota | Lake Washington Regional Park 5km - Groomed, classic ski trails in a 164-acre park near Mankato. Terrain features flat areas and gentle inclines as the trail traverses native prairie and hardwoods. The inner prairie loops are dedicated to groomed skiing, the outer prairie loops are open to snowshoeing and other uses. The trail crosses over Shanaska Creek on a historic 1875 bridge. Morton | Beaver Falls County Park 3.2km - Groomed, double-track classic trail with multiple hills and turns. There are open and wooded areas and terrain ranges from easy to difficult. Trails are shared and open to skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and fatbiking. A vault style bathroom is available in the park’s recreation area, along with an open shelter. The trail follows Beaver Creek, providing beautiful views and visitors can expect to see deer, turkeys and other wildlife. Trail users are encouraged to park at the south entrance off of 680th Avenue. Use of trails and parking is free for day use. Note that tracks are set only when snow cover is sufficient, otherwise they’re groomed flat. New Ulm | Flandrau State Park 9.5km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic, flat trails on the bottom of the valley with more challenging routes on the oak shaded bluffs with several overlooks of Cottonwood River. Ski and snowshoe rentals available. Beach house serves as a warming shelter. MN Ski Pass required. Northfield | Carleton College Arboretum 18km - Trails in the upper arboretum (6km) are groomed for skating and classic skiing, the remainder are classic only. Trails are shared with walkers. Owatonna Area • Brooktree Golf Course 3km - Easy skate ski and classic loop. • Kaplan’s Woods Parkway 13km - Intermediate, ravine terrain provides challenging hills through hardwood forest near a lake and river. Wide trails suitable for skate ski and tracked for classic when snow is sufficient. Trail travels from Morehouse Park through Kaplan’s Woods Parkway and into the County Country Club grounds. MN Ski Pass required. Red Wing Area • Cannon Valley Trail 23km - The Cannon Valley Trail is open to a variety of uses in the winter. From Cannon Falls, Mile 1-15.5: Cross Country Skiing only. Mile 15.5-17.5: Side by side fat biking and cross-country skiing. Mile 17.5-19.7: Trail is plowed and open to hiking and biking. Trail offers views of overhanging cliffs and stunning scenery. Connects communities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing. MN Ski Pass required for skiing only.

2022/23 • Mississippi National Ski Trails 8km - Beginner to advanced, groomed for classic skiing at Memorial Park. The classic loop through wooded terrain offers extensive views of the Mississippi River, considered one of the most spectacular in the state. Flatter and easier trails groomed for both classic and skate skiing are on the golf course to the south, where the trailhead is. MN Ski Pass required. Rochester Area • Chester Woods Park 8km - All levels, groomed trails through a wooded and hilly county park with views of Chester Lake, usually groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Trails are well marked with maps at most intersections. Chester Woods Park also offers fat tire bike trails seasonally. • Eastwood Golf Course 6km - All levels, groomed classic and skate ski loops with 2.5km lighted trails. • Essex Park 8.5km - Groomed classic and skate ski through woods and restored prairie. • Soldier’s Field Golf Course 5km - Intermediate, groomed classic and skate ski. Quiet city trails offer good skiing. • Quarry Hill Park 10 km - Relatively flat, groomed trails through rolling hills around an old quarry. Quarry Hill Nature Center is open all year and has equipment rentals. Root River State Trail 48km - Beginner to intermediate trail offering views of tall bluffs and abundant wildlife. Track set between Isinours Junction and Houston. MN Ski Pass required. Sacred Heart | Skalbekken County Park 2.4km - Groomed, double-track classic trail rated easy to moderate. The wooded trail follows the Minnesota River and visitors can expect to see deer, turkeys and other wildlife and see the 1868 Skalbeck log cabin. Trails are shared and open to skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and fatbiking. There is a vault style bathroom near the park entrance, along with an open shelter. Users are encouraged to park in the horse camp off of County Road 10. Use of trails and parking is free for day use. Note that tracks are set only when snow cover is sufficient, otherwise they’re groomed flat. Winona Area • Great River Bluffs State Park 5km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed classic with overlooks of the Mississippi River Valley. MN Ski Pass required. • Saint Mary’s University 14.5km - Mostly intermediate to advanced with some flat terrain for beginners. Groomed classic and skate ski, through hardwood forest, an old apple orchard, and near Gilmore Creek. Some lit sections.

Find More Information at www.mntrails.com/ski-trails Minnesota Trails

GET FAT THIS WINTER From dunes to drifts and snow to sand, fat tire bikes give you the incredible traction and control that lets you tackle anything, any time, for any reason. There’s no off-season with these incredibly capable and versatile mountain bikes. Visit your authorized retailer today! Adventure Cycle & Ski advcycle.com | Winona, MN DL Bike Shop dlbikeshop.com | Detroit Lakes, MN

Red Wing Bicycle Co. redwingbikes.com | Red Wing, MN

Downtown Bicycles downtownbicyclesllc.com | Northfield, MN

Revolution Cycle and Ski revolutioncycleandski.com | St. Cloud, MN

Gateway Cycle gatewaycycle.com | Oakdale, MN

Rick’s Cycling and Sports Center rickscycling.com | Willmar, MN

Jake’s Bikes jakesbikes.com | Alexandria, MN

Rochester Cycling cycling-fitness.com | Rochester, MN

SCHEELS Moorhead scheels.com | Moorhead, MN

Martin’s Cycling & Fitness martinscyclingandfitness.com | Albert Lea, MN

Rydjor Bike Shop rydjor.com | Austin, MN

SCHEELS Rochester scheels.com | Rochester, MN

Outdoor Motion outdoormotionbikes.com | Hutchinson, MN

SCHEELS Eden Prairie scheels.com | Eden Prairie, MN

SCHEELS St. Cloud scheels.com | St. Cloud, MN

Ramsey Bicycle ramseybicycle.com | Ramsey, MN

SCHEELS Mankato scheels.com | Mankato, MN

Straight River Sports straightriversports.com | Owatonna, MN

Minnesota Trails TK22_MN_Retailers_Winter_Group_Ad.indd 1

Winter 2022-2023 23 10/10/22 10:58 AM



The many communities that make up the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul provide an extensive network of wellgroomed cross-country ski trails. Many regional parks make snow and offer skiing whether it actually snows or not. Twin Cities area ski clubs meet regularly for fun, training, and competition. Afton | Afton State Park 19km - A variety of groomed, classic loops with trail shelters overlooking the St. Croix River near Afton Alps Ski Resort. Heated Visitors center has parking and bathrooms. The park also has snowshoe trails. MN Ski Pass required. Annandale | Stanley Eddy Regional ParkSouth 5km - Scenic, rolling hills, lakes and marshes in a densely wooded area. Trail is groomed for skate and classic skiing. Stanley Eddy Regional Park is made up of three distinct parcels with separate entrances. Skiing is at the south unit only. The north unit has snowshoe trails. MN Ski Pass required. Anoka Area • Greenhaven Golf Course 5km - Skate and double-tracked, classic groomed trails through rolling golf course hills and trees. Trails are only open when groomed and posted as open. Golf course building and restroom is open during regular business hours. • Anoka Nature Preserve 5km - Flat and easy trail loops through stands of oak trees and open areas. Trail is groomed flat and is open to walking, fat tire bikes and skate skiing—a good novice trail.

SKI TRAIL GUIDE Bloomington | Hyland Lake Park Reserve 15km - Intermediate to expert, groomed, classic and skate trails over rolling hills and prairie. 8km lighted trail. 5km trail with snowmaking. Ski Chalet serves as a warming house and offers ski rentals. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Burnsville Area • Alimagnet Park 6km - Short and flat beginner trails. All trails are multi-use and allow walking, snowshoeing and skijoring. • Terrace Oaks Park 10.9km - Beginner to expert. Groomed, classic ski trails through heavily wooded, hilly areas. Chalet available as a warming house on weekends. Cambridge Area • Spirit River Nature Area 5-8km - Beginner classic and skate ski trails through prairie, deciduous forest, and wetlands. Parking and restrooms at Anoka Ramsey Community College. • Springvale County Park 5km - Gently rolling hills, open fields and hardwood forests within a 200-acre park. Chanhassen | Lake Minnewashta Regional Park 8km - Classic ski trails through 340-acre park on the shores of Lake Minnewashta. Ski rentals available. Chaska | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 13km - Six loops of classic-only ski trails through the 1,200-acre arboretum grounds. Snowshoeing trails are also available. Oswald Visitor Center has rentals, restrooms, snowshoe rentals and a gift store. The Arboretum Cafe is open all week. Cokato | Collinwood Regional Park 5.8km - Intermediate, groomed, classic trail on open fields with some wooded areas. No MN Ski Pass required.

Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Just minutes south of the Twin Cities in winter sports heaven!

Coon Rapids Area • Bunker Hills Regional Park 20km - Intermediate trail loops on flat to slightly hilly terrain. Rental skis available. Warm up inside the Bunker Hills Activity Center on weekdays. MN Ski Pass required. • Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park 10km - Beginner to intermediate trails on relatively flat terrain along the Mississippi River. Rentals available at Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center on weekends. MN Ski Pass required. Cottage Grove | Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park 8km - Intermediate to advanced skate and classic trails with some steep slopes and heavily wooded ravines. An additional 9km of trails are multiuse and open to winter biking, snowshoeing, walking and skijoring. Washington County Ski Pass required.

• Snowboarding • Downhill Skiing • Snowshoeing • Cross Country Skiing • Explore Afton Alps, Welch Village & Carpenter Nature Center

For info: 651-437-6775 www.visithastingsmn.org 24 Winter 2022-2023

Eagan | Lebanon Hills Regional Park 29km - Beginner to advanced trails, groomed for classic skiing. Trails wind through the hilly, wooded countryside and around scenic lakes and ponds. This large park is split into a western section with 3.8km skate and 6.6km classic skiing and an eastern section with 19km classic only. Ski rentals available. Dakota County ski pass required. Eden Prairie | Staring Lake Park 4km - Classic trail on the south side of Staring Lake. Warming house with bathrooms is available when the adjacent sledding hill is open. No MN Ski Pass required.

2022/23 Falcon Heights | Les Bolstad Golf Course 6km - Three skate and classic loops starting and ending at the golf course club house. Trails groomed by U of M Outdoor Adventures. A trail fee applies. Farmington | Whitetail Woods Regional Park 7km - Intermediate classic trails around Empire Lake. Connects with Lone Rock Trail in Rosemount. Camper cabins and fire rings available. Dakota County ski pass required. Hastings Area • Spring Lake Park Reserve 8km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic (5.4km) and skate (2.6km) ski trails. Schaar’s Bluff offers views of the Mississippi River Valley. Dakota County ski pass required. • St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park 12.5km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed trails on the wild and scenic St. Croix River. The east and south loops offer a combined 10km of double tracked classic skiing, while the west loop has 2.5km of side by side skate and classic single track. Washington Co. Ski Pass required. Lake Elmo Area • Lake Elmo Park Reserve 19.5km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails on gently rolling hills offering a variety of experiences and challenges. Some lighted trails. Nordic center has bathrooms and vending machines. Washington County Ski Pass required. • Sunfish Lake Park 7 to 9km - All skill levels. Camel Back provides some fun hills, but Oak Run is particularly exciting. Morgan Lane offers beautiful view of a pond from a birch-lined ridge. Groomed occasionally by volunteers. Lakeville | Ritter Farm Park Ski Trail 9km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic and skate ski with hills through the woods. MN Ski Pass required. Lino Lakes | Chomonix Golf Club 10km - Beginner to intermediate trails on flat terrain. Rent skis at Chomonix Golf Course club house on weekends. MN Ski Pass required. Maple Grove | Elm Creek Park Reserve 18km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic and skate trails. Some of the best ski trails in the metro area with fantastic night skiing on over 5km of lighted trails and a 2.5km loop with snowmaking. Elm Creek Chalet offers ski rentals, snack bar, and woodstove. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Maple Lake | Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve 16.5km - Intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails over small hills and flat areas. Nature Center offers rentals weekends January-March. No MN Ski Pass required. Maplewood Area • Battle Creek Regional Park - East 6km - Beginner to intermediate classic ski trail through mature woods. MN Ski Pass required. • Battle Creek Regional Park - West 10km - Beginner to advanced, classic and skate ski trails. The World Cup Gold, Silver and Bronze trails are the most difficult. 4km lit trail. MN Ski Pass required. Minnesota Trails

2022/23 Marine on St. Croix Area • Big Marine Park Reserve 1.9km - Two classic, groomed, easy loops along Big Marine Lake. An additional 2.5km loop is open to winter biking, walking and skijoring. Washington County Ski Pass required. • William O’Brien State Park 19km - Multi-trail system, for all skill levels of classic and skate skiers with views of the St. Croix River. Wetland Trail for beginners and Prairie Overlook for the more advanced. Heated trail center has a wood stove. MN Ski Pass required. Medina | Baker Park Reserve 14.5km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic and skate trails through woods and meadows. Equipment rentals, warming house, and snack bar at Chalet. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Minneapolis Area • Chain of Lakes Regional Park 10.7km - Groomed, beginner-friendly flat trails around Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. Connects with Theodore Wirth Park trails to the north. Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) Pass required. • Columbia Golf Course 3.5km - Groomed, classic and skate trails on rolling golf course hills. Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) Pass required. • Hiawatha Regional Park 4km - Groomed, classic and skate trails on rolling golf course hills with a view of the Minneapolis skyline. Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) Pass required. • Theodore Wirth Regional Park 23km - Beginner to advanced, groomed, classic and skate ski trails. 3km lighted trails. One of the largest venues with snowmaking capabilities in the Twin Cities features some incredible hills on the north while the south side is primarily flat. Connects to Chain of Lakes Regional Park trails to the south. Ski rentals available. Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) Pass required. Minnetonka | Glen Lake Golf Center 2.4km - Groomed, classic and skate trails through rolling golf course hills. Rentals and concessions available at the clubhouse. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Monticello Area • Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park 3.5km - Great beginner trail through pines along Bertram, Long, Mud and First Lake. Groomed classic ski only. No MN Ski Pass required. • Harry Larson County Forest 3.2km - Intermediate, classic ski only. Close to Lake Maria State Park. No MN Ski Pass required. • Lake Maria State Park 10km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic trails through rolling terrain, wooded areas, old growth forest areas and past lakes and ponds. MN Ski Pass required. North Branch | Wild River State Park 48km - Beginner (22km), intermediate (25km) and advanced (5km) trails along the St. Croix River. 27km are combined classic and skate ski. Heated trail center has rentals available. MN Ski Pass required. Minnesota Trails


SKI TRAIL GUIDE Norwood Young America | Baylor Regional Park 5km - Classic ski trails around marshes along the shores of Eagle Lake in a 200-acre park. Includes a 1/4-mile boardwalk. Ski rentals available. Otsego | Otsego Regional Park 3km - Beginner trails alongside paved park trails on the Mississippi River. Tracks are set when sufficient snow is available, otherwise they’re groomed flat. No MN Ski Pass required. Plymouth Area • Eagle Lake Regional Park 6km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails through woods and meadows. Fat Biking and skijoring allowed on skate lanes. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. • French Regional Park 8km - Variety of terrains from beginner to advanced. Groomed, classic and skate trails over rolling hills. 4.5km of lighted trails attract many after-work skiers. Rentals and concessions available at visitor center. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Prior Lake | Cleary Lake Regional Park 10km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails. Visitor center with ski rentals, vending machine and fireplace. 4.5km lighted trail. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Ramsey | Rum River Central Regional Park 8km - Beginner to intermediate skate and classic trail loops. MN Ski Pass required. Richfield | Wood Lake Nature Center 3.2km - Groomed cross-country ski trails circling Wood Lake in a 150-acre nature preserve. The trails wind through three different habitats: cattail marsh, mixed lowland forest, and restored prairie. Ski and snowshoe rentals available. Rosemount | Lone Rock Trail 18km - Intermediate trails groomed for both classic and skate ski on gently rolling terrain through woods, agricultural land and wetlands in UMore Park. Connects with trails at Whitewoods Regional Park. Saint Paul Area • Como Park 5km - Intermediate to advanced classic and skate trails. 1.7k lighted trail. Equipment rentals.


• Fort Snelling State Park 19km - The park offers flat multi-use trails which are shared by skiers, hikers and fatbikers. The Pike Island Loop with its views of the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers is the only trail groomed just for skiing. Visitor center serves as a warming house. MN Ski Pass required. • Highland 9 Golf Course 3.5km - Beginner to intermediate classic and skate trail loop. • Phalen Regional Park 7.5km - Intermediate classic and skate trails, open and fairly flat. Savage | Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve 14.5km - Some of the most exciting and challenging trails in the metro. Groomed, classic and skate trails. Trailhead building serves as a warming area on weekends. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. Shoreview | Grass Lake 3km - Beginner trails through woods and marshland, classic ski only. MN Ski Pass required. Stillwater Area • Pine Point Regional Park 6.5km - Beginner to intermediate trails groomed for classic and skate skiing. This small park near the end of the Gateway Trail has beautiful scenery with trails winding through large pine plantation, by small lakes and picturesque farms. Washington County Ski Pass required. • Brown’s Creek Nature Preserve 4.5km - Beginner classic and skate trails on moderate hills shared with hikers. MN Ski Pass required. Vadnais Heights | Vadnais/Sucker Lakes 8km - Beginner to intermediate, classic-only trails on moderate hills through woods with lake views. Sucker Lake loop is north of County Road F, Vadnais Lake loop (double-tracked outand-back) is south. MN Ski Pass required. Waconia | Carver Park Reserve 18km - Beginner to intermediate, groomed, classic and skate trails through hardwood forests and marshlands. Lowry Nature Center offers a warming place and has ski rentals on weekends. Three Rivers Park District ski pass required. White Bear Lake | Tamarack Nature Center 8km - Beginner to intermediate, classic-only trails through prairie, woodland, and marsh. Ski rentals and lessons available. 1km practice loop. MN Ski Pass required.

· Miles of CROSS COUNTRY SKI and FAT BIKE trails for all levels · SKI lessons, clinics and rentals available for youth and adults · TUBING, SLEDDING and SNOWBOARDING on site—fun for the whole family · Races and events held throughout the season, including the CITY OF LAKES LOPPET WINTER FESTIVAL Feb. 4-5, 2023



THIS WINTER in Minneapolis Winter 2022-2023 25

Right out the

Front Door


Story and photos by Jan Lasar

Crappie cabin on Beers Lake Maplewood State Park is blessed

peaceful, natural beauty that covers over 9,000 acres of hilly woodlands. During the with a

winter eight kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails are a delight to explore and adventurous skiers can even break their own trail on an additional eight kilometers of ungroomed, backcountry trails.

Cataract Lake Trail 26 Winter 2022-2023

Three of the park’s five camper cabins are available year-round. Named muskie, crappie and pike, they sit on the northwestern edge of Beers Lake, the largest body of water within the boundaries of the park. With snow conditions just right, Jen and I decided to spend a weekend in one of them to see what it was like to rough it in style and go skiing and snowshoeing right out the front door. On a below-zero morning we sat at

our simple, wooden table and watched the sun rise over Beers Lake. The snowcovered landscape was glowing with pale shades of reds and oranges at first, then the light turned to gold, reflecting in the windows of the neighboring cabin. There was no sound, no critters moving around and what little breeze there was gently dusted the frost off the trees. It swirled through the air in ribbons that shimmered in the early morning sun. This scene was so beautiful it took us two pots of coffee to fully comprehend. By the time we had our skis strapped on, temperatures had improved to the positive territory but the wind was getting stronger and stronger ahead of a warm front said to arrive later in the day. We found the ski trail right behind our cabin and got to work, going north and counter-clockwise around the large loop in the northern half of the park. The trail was in OK condition, but in some of the open sections of the prairie it was all but covered by new snow from the day before. According to the park’s website, the area of today’s Maplewood State Park shows evidence of human habitation as far back as 6,000 years ago. More recent residents who began arriving in the late 1800s turned the wooded hills Minnesota Trails

and patches of prairie into farmland and their relics are slowly being swallowed up by the earth. If you look closely, you can spot a crumpled piece of tin or the skeleton of an old plow along the trail, especially when the leaves are off the trees. After we passed remnants of a grain silo on the northern edge of Beers Lake, there was a steep hill to climb. During the warmer months one might linger here and enjoy the view, but the wind was just too brutal on top of the naked knoll and we hurried into the woods for protection. The trail continued through the forest, the horse camp and some more open prairie until we arrived at the warming house on the northern edge of Cataract Lake. The wind wasn’t as much of an issue as we had feared and with the sun doing its January mid-day best, it was as pleasant as winter gets-as long as we kept moving. Many others felt the same way and the warming house parking lot was buzzing with skiers and snowshoers. We continued around the north side of Cataract Lake where the howling winds had completely destroyed the tracks. When we ducked back into the trees, they reappeared and took us through the forest along the western edge of the lake, then on through the Knoll Loop of the campground. We were just about back to the cabin when we reached a monster hill. We had no choice but to assume the position and herringbonewobble up what felt like a ski jump. About halfway up, I paused to catch my breath and open up a couple of zippers on my various layers. A look backwards over my shoulder had me wondering just

how far I would fly if I was crazy enough to go down this hill. After that effort we completely forgot about any temperature issues we might have had in our hands or feet. Everything was steaming along just fine. Just like that we were back at the cabin where fuzzy sweatpants, cozy hoodies and warm

wool socks were waiting for us. The wind started whipping hard from the south and we skipped the bonfire. After skiing almost nine kilometers, lights out came early. It didn’t take long for us to fall asleep listening to the wind rattle the window screens and hiss through the branches of the trees in the dark.

Sunday was reserved for snowshoeing. Our plan was to go south from the cabin this time, make a loop around Cow Lake and come back. According to our math, this was going to be an ambitious trip of nearly seven miles. We found out quickly that the “ungroomed backcountry trail” had not been traveled in a while and the snow was anywhere from two to three feet deep. It was difficult, even with my 36” snowshoes, and meant taking a dozen steps, then catching my breath. Luckily, there was a lot to see. The trail followed the western edge of Beers Lake and there were plenty of scenic views of the frozen landscape. We moved deeper into the woods and trudged up and down the rolling hills beneath the maples, pausing frequently. When we reached the hike-in campsite at Cow Lake, it was time to make a decision: Break more trail on the 3.7-mile loop around the lake, or turn around. A quick look at the Avenza map told us we were moving at about a mile an hour and as much as the rugged trail begged to be discovered, we were looking at a nearly five-hour trip back to the cabin. In times like these Jen and I consult our mission statement “We’re doing this for fun and exercise” to see what we should do. Since we already had the exercise part of the trip covered-with more to comewe felt that a death march around Cow Lake wasn’t in line with our values. The way back was a little easier because we had already flattened out the piles of snow along the way. Another couple coming our way was enjoying the fruits of our labor. After passing by them we were repaid immediately because they left behind an even smoother path for our trip home. Back at the cabin we got ready for a bonfire. The wind was still strong, but felt warmer than the day before. Sheltered by the cabin, things were quite cozy for a Minnesota winter. Finally, the gales died down and the stars came out. The moon was nearly full and shreds of clouds raced across its pale face. We still heard the wind in the trees, but didn’t feel it. The fire kept us warm until it was burned down to embers and it was time to retreat.

Near the Cow Lake hike-in campsite

Minnesota Trails

Winter 2022-2023 27

Winter Events


Fat Vasa B January 8, 2023 Mora, MN: The event starts and finishes at the Vasaloppet Nordic Ski Center. www.mntrails.com/event/fat-vasa St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra S B January 14-15, 2023 St. Croix State Park | Hinkley, MN: 40km endurance race by foot, ski or fatbike. www.mntrails.com/event/st-croix-40winter-ultra Pre-Loppet S B January 15, 2023 Theodore Wirth Regional Park | Minneapolis, MN: A primer for the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival with ski races of various lengths and an 18km fatbike race. www.loppet.org/events/preloppet Sons of Norway Barnelopet S January 22, 2023 Riverside Park | Saint Cloud, MN: Fun youth ski event for ages 3-13. www.mntrails.com/event/sons-of-norwaybarnelopet Lantern Loppet S January 28, 2023 Mora, MN: Ski classic-groomed trails by the glow of lanterns. www.mntrails.com/event/lantern-loppet Lumberjack Jaunt S January 28, 2023 Brainerd, MN: One of the longest-running ski events in Minnesota at the Northland Arboretum. www.mntrails.com/event/lumberjack-jaunt





Arrowhead 135 S B January 30-February 1, 2023 International Falls, MN: 135-mile ski, bike and run endurance race on the Arrowhead State Trail. www.mntrails.com/event/arrowhead-135 City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival S B February 4-5, 2023 Theodore Wirth Regional Park | Minneapolis, MN: A family-friendly winter festival with numerous ski and fatbike events, skijoring and a nighttime luminary loppet. www.loppet.org/events/festival Vasaloppet S February 11-12, 2023 Vasaloppet Nordic Ski Center | Mora, MN: 2023 marks the 51st Anniversary of this legendary ski event. www.mntrails.com/event/vasaloppet FatBikeFest #14 B February 11, 2023 Montiview Mountain Bike Challenge Course Monticello, MN: Men and women compete in Recreational and Advanced races at this longrunning tradition. www.facebook.com/montiview/events Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon S February 18, 2023 Buena Vista Ski Area | Bemidji, MN: The Minnesota Finlandia is a world-class ski event open to everyone. www.mntrails.com/event/minnesotafinlandia-ski-marathon Founders’ Classic S February 19, 2023 Mora, MN: A fundraiser for the Mora Ski Club that’s only $1 per km! www.mntrails.com/event/founders-classic


Stillwater Fatbike Rally B February 19, 2023 Stillwater, MN: Complete this 11-mile loop at your own pace, or race it. www.mntrails.com/event/stillwater-fatbike-rally Frosted Fatty B February 25, 2023 Spirit Mountain | Duluth, MN: Join Spirit Mountain for lift-served downhill fatbike and dual slalom racing. Spirit Mountain is a premiere ski and snowboard destination located in northeastern Minnesota. With 22 downhill runs, the Midwest’s largest terrain park, and 22km of nordic ski trails, there is definitely something for everyone. www.spiritmt.com

Pepsi Challenge S March 4, 2023 Giants Ridge | Biwabik, MN: This competition has an event for every level of racer: 8km, 25km, 50km skate and classic. www.mntrails.com/event/pepsi-challenge Eric Judeen Classic 10k Classic Ski Race S March 5, 2023 Korkki Nordic Ski Area | Duluth, MN: This classic ski race has been held since 1963. www.mntrails.com/event/eric-judeen-10kclassic-ski-race As of deadline, the information in this calendar was accurate. Check www.MnTrails.com/events for additional information.






28 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails

Garden Island Rec. Area

Minnesota’s bike trails, long distance hiking trails, water trails, state parks, state recreation areas and biomes

Lake of the Woods

Zippel Bay Lake Bronson

Red River of the North

Rainy River

Hayes Lake

Franz Jevne


International Falls

Old Mill

Red Lake



Lake Bemidji


Lake Cass Winnibigoshish Lake Paul Bunyan Migizi Schoolcraft


La Salle Lake Rec. Area




Leech Lake Walker

Grand Rapids

OHV Rec. Area

St. Louis

Grand Portage National Monument

Grand Marais

Temperance Cascade River River

Lake Superior



Chisholm Iron Range

Hill Annex Mine

Judge C.R. Magney

Kekekabic Trail

Bear Head Lake

Grand Portage



Lake Vermilion /Soudan Undergound Mine 169

McCarthy Beach



Border Route Trail

53 Vermillion

Big Fork


Lower Red Lake

Red River Rec. Area

Voyageurs National Park

Little Fork

Big Bog Rec. Area

Upper Red Lake

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake

George H. Crosby Manitou Silver Bay

Gooseberry Falls

Split Rock Lighthouse

Gitchi Gami Trail Cloquet Two Harbors Heartland 169 Mississippi Park Buffalo River Detroit Superior Hiking Trail North Paul Rapids Lakes Country Lake Superior 2 Bunyan Trail North Duluth Country Jay Cooke Pine Trail Crow Savanna 59 Cuyuna Wing Portage Willard Alex Country Otter Maplewood Laveau Rec. Area Munger Tail Segment Moose 94 Brainerd Wadena Kettle Crosby Lake




Crow Wing


Fergus Falls


Mille Lacs Kathio

71 Long Prairie 10

Central Lakes

Soo Line Little Falls

Lake Carlos Lake Wobegon



Glacial Lakes Pomme de Terre Chippewa

Monson Lake

59 71





Fair Ridge

Marshall Fort Ridgely Camden Cottonwood

Lake Shetek Pipestone National Monument

Split Rock Creek

Pipestone Casey Jones

Blue Mounds

Blue Mounds Luverne


Des Moines

Watonwan St. James

Kilen Woods

90 Worthington


St. Croix River



North Branch Sunrise Prairie Hardwood Creek Grand Rounds Hugo Saint Paul


Wild River

BIKE TRAILS Interstate


William O’Brien Marine on St. Croix Brown’s Creek Stillwater Gateway


Hastings Fort 52 Snelling Cannon Red Wing Minnesota Valley 61 Frontenac Valley Cannon Rec. Area





Lake Maria

Lake Rec. Area


St. Croix

Minneapolis Luce Line Hutchinson Crow, Dakota LRT South Fork Greenleaf Rail

212 Upper Sioux Agency



Lac qui Parle




Charles A. Lindbergh

Crow, Glacial North Fork Lakes



Father Hennepin Hinckley

169 Sauk Sauk Centre Soo Line Albany Saint Cloud St. Joseph ROCORI 94 Mississippi Paynesville Sibley

Big Stone Lake 12

Mille Lacs Lake

New Ulm Mankato

Sakatah Lake

35 Falls Cannon



Lake City

Mississippi Pioneer 63 Nerstrand Great Zumbro Big Woods River Carley

Faribault Straight Douglas Ridge John A. Latsch Sakatah Singing Hills Whitewater 14 Winona Owatanna Rice Lake Great River Bluffs Rochester Whitewater 52 Root Cedar Root River Myre Blue Blazing 90 Lanesboro Big Island Earth Star Shooting Beaver Creek Valley Preston Star 63 Blue Austin Shell Albert Harmony-Preston Valley Earth Rock Lea Lake Louise Harmony Forestville /


Mystery Cave

VISITBRAINERD Choose C hoo ose Your Your Adventure. Adventture.

Minnesota Trails

VisitBrainerd.com Winter 2022-2023 29



Hastings/Prescott Bike Tour


July 1, 2023

Hastings, MN & Prescott, WI

Freedhem, MN



Lake Alice 100 May 13, 2023 Fergus Falls, MN 10TH ANNUAL




Tour de Pepin

Tour de Bun Bicycle Classic

4TH ANNUAL 30 Winter 2022-2023


July 29, 2023

Lake City, MN

Montgomery, MN



Caramel Roll Ride

Tour de SAVE

June 10, 2023

July 29, 2023

Albany, MN

Northfield, MN



Lady Slipper Ride

Dairyland Dare

June 17, 2023 Avon,MN

August 5, 2023





Dodgeville, WI

Loop the Lake Ride

Tour de Tonka

June 17, 2023

August 5, 2023

Bemidji, MN

Minnetonka, MN



Shooting Star Trail Bike Ride




August 5–12, 2023

LeRoy, MN

Hazen, ND





July 16, 2023 Saint Joseph, MN BikeMN.org/ all-events/tour-of-saints

June 17, 2023


Tour of Saints


June 3, 2023 16TH ANNUAL

Freedhem 76

May 6, 2023

Tour of Minnesota

Rock ‘n’ Roll the Lakes

June 17–24, 2023

August 12, 2023

Saint Joseph, MN

Albert Lea, MN



The Spring Bike Fling

Rivers, Lakes and Fields

June 24, 2023

August 13 & 26, September 23, 2023

Walker, MN

Stillwater, Prior Lake, Northfield, MN



CaNDak Williston


Devil’s Lake Grand Forks

Bismarck Dickinson


Fargo Jamestown




2ND ANNUAL Minnesota Trails

TRAILwww.mntrails.com/trail-partners PARTNERS

Minnesota Trails Directory Regions

Northwest Region

More details at:

Northeast Region






6489 Cahill Avenue, Inver Grove Heights www.bike-king.com



2661 Co Road I & Old Hwy 10, Mounds View www.CarsBikeShop.com



324 Curtis Avenue, Ironton www.cykelonline.com





105 7th Avenue S, St. Cloud www.Ätzharrismn.com

419 N. Nokomis St., Alexandria www.jakesbikes.com




1110 Hiawatha Dr. E www.bigriverresort.com




160 29th Avenue South, St. Cloud www.revolutioncycleandski.com


124 2nd Street NE, Little Falls www.tourightbicycleshop.com



23457 Co. Rd. 31, Crosby www.redriderresort.com

Southern Region


12901 16th Ave. N, Plymouth www.trailheadcyclingandÄtness.com




212 West Main Street, Crosby www.trailsidetavern.com


320 East Main Street, Crosby www.cuyunamed.org



Melrose www.littlerocksdesign.com







2 Main St., Hutchinson www.explorehutchinson.com


318 Mill S, Peterson www.driftlesstradingpost.com






22640 MN-6, Crosby www.oarsnmine.com 14506 State Highway 6, Deerwood www.timberbuildingsupply.com


27TH ANNUAL Minnesota Trails



14084 Baxter Drive, STE 12, Brainerd www.visitbrainerd.com



112 Washington Ave. W, Fergus Falls www.visitfergusfalls.com


19950 Dodd Blvd., Lakeville www.visitlakeville.org




103 4th St N, Cannon Falls www.cannonfalls.org







2810 Meyers Bay Road, Grand Rapids www.greenheronbandb.com


324 Broadway, Alexandria www.centrallakestrail.com

MID MINNESOTA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION 117 West Main Street, Crosby 218-546-5428



124 West Main Street, Crosby www.shopvictual.com

21236 Archibald Road, Deerwood www.deerwoodbank.com

COUNTRY BED AND BREAKFAST 5 miles from Taylors Falls 651-257-4773

Mankato 35

THE DEERSTAND RESTAURANT AND BAR 24188 Mohs Street, Deerwood 218-534-9253



Metro Region


Hwy. 6 & 210, Crosby www.coldwellbankercrown.com


A quick and easy reference for planning your adventure!


211 America Avenue NW Bemidji www.bemidjibeer.com


11350 Aquila Drive, Suite 505, Champlin www.trailheadcyclingandÄtness.com







Central Region


St. Cloud






6825 Hwy. 10 NW, Ramsey www.ramseybicycles.com



Red Ribbon Ride

Ride The Ridges

August 18–20, 2023

September 16, 2023

Willow River, MN

Winona, MN




Gitchi-Gami North Shore Ride

Mora Bike Tour

August 19, 2023

September 16, 2023

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Vasaloppet Nordic Center, Mora, MN



Caramel Apple Ride

Rosewood Gramble

September 9, 2023

September 30, 2023

Sauk Centre, MN

Thief River Falls, MN



Saint Paul Classic

Mankato River Ramble Bike Tour

September 10, 2023

October 8, 2023

Saint Paul, MN

Mankato, MN

BikeMN.org/all-events/ saint-paul-classic

BikeMN.org/all-events/ mankato-river-ramble





13TH ANNUAL Winter 2022-2023 31

32 Winter 2022-2023

Minnesota Trails