CROSS COUNTRY SKI/SNOWSHOE
Twin Citians are pros at winter sports, with miles of ski and snowshoe trails to choose from.
Image by Todd Buchanan/Greenspring Media
Located in the bottomlands at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, Fort Snelling State Park is about as flat as it gets—the perfect park for shuffling along while watching for deer, fox, owls, and other wildlife. The park has 12 miles of easy trails groomed for classic skiing, with the most popular trail circling Pike Island. Also, try nearby Battle Creek Regional Park. Perched on the Mississippi River bluffs just east of St. Paul, Battle Creek Regional Park offers a variety of hilly, winding, and wooded trails. The eastern section of the park has 3.6 miles of classic trails ranging from easy to difficult, with plenty of possible combinations. The western section has nearly 8 miles of mostly difficult trails, groomed for both skate and classic skiing. About 2.5 miles are lighted for nighttime skiing. A Minnesota ski pass is required.
The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has separate trails for snowshoeing, so there’s no need to worry about getting mowed down by an oncoming skier during your walk. The trails, which are designated for a variety of skill levels, loop through the U-maintained 1,215 acres of natural lands. Its specially groomed trails, picturesque views, and reasonable rates—the first hour is $6—make the arboretum the ideal place for a low-key winter walk.