With cold temperatures and snowy days, what better way to get the most out of winter than get outside and have an adventure. Luckily, Minnesotans don’t have to go far to find fun in the snow. Here are a few places close by that offer exciting thrills for adults and families.
Cross Country at Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Stretch your legs and head out to Hyland Lake Park Reserve for night cross-country skiing. Feel the crisp, cold snow under your feet and breeze through the cool air as you explore the various trails under the stars.
Whether you are learning to ski or looking to get outside and enjoy winter, skiing at night is for all ages and skill levels. Hyland Park offers nine and a half miles of groomed trails and five-point three miles of lighted trails to explore.
“Skiing under the stars can provide a true sense of peace, tranquility, and perspective" says Tyler Thompson, Three Rivers Parks Outdoor Recreation Specialist. He adds, "There is a certain stillness to the air and environment at night. One can see their breath and, at times, hear nothing but silence. The air is cold and crisp but refreshing and rejuvenating. There are certain feelings that can only be enjoyed by disconnecting from modern day distractions and becoming one with the natural world. Put down your phone and let the starlight guide your way,”
The best part of this fun adventure, if you ski after 6 pm any day of the week, you receive a discount on your rentals. This discount is good at Ski at Cleary, Elm Creek, and French or Hyland parks, so make sure you take advantage of 50 percent off cross-country ski rental sets.
Staring Lake Sledding Hill
Grab the kids and sleds, then head out to Staring Lake Sledding Hill! There you will find an impressive 700-foot hill guaranteed to thrill. “We brought the whole family to Staring Lake to sled, my husband, my younger sister and my two kids. We all had a blast and since the hill is so incredibly long, we wore ourselves out. At the end of the day we could only climb halfway before jumping back in the sleds!”, says Eden Prairie Resident, Lisa Howes.
The sledding hill is open during winter months, depending on snow accumulation and weather. Bring your own sleds but make sure they are plastic - sleds with metal runners, skis and snowboards are prohibited.
While there is no tow rope at this facility, you can warm up at the warming house between trips down the hill. The facility is supervised, and the hill is lit every night until the 9 PM closing time.
The sledding hill is located on the North side of the warming house at 14800 Pioneer Trail.
Snowshoe at Murphy-Hanrahan Park Reserve
Although it's cold outside, just bundle up to visit the Murphy-Hanrahan Park Reserve, which has just what you need to enjoy the scenes of Minnesota winter. Click your boots into a pair of snowshoes and trek through fluffy, snow covered glacial ridges, hilly terrains and lush forest.
Murphy is truly a natural and often undiscovered gem in Three Rivers Park District and the metro region. The terrain is vast, diverse and remote. The park is designated by the National Audubon Society as an important bird area, a popular place for avid birdwatchers.
If you prefer some help, on January 26, Three Rivers Parks will host a snowshoeing program. They will teach the snowshoeing basics and allow the public to explore the various trails. “With nearly 6 miles of trails to explore by snowshoe, one can cover a wide range of terrain in the park while encountering wildlife with the possibility of never seeing another park user. One may explore the prairie, hardwood forest, and glacial ridges over the hilly terrain,” states Thompson.
Registration is required and cost is $5. The program runs from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm.
Three Rivers Parks offers a wide variety of public snowshoeing trails, which can be found on their website or you can call 763-559-6700 for more information.
Fun winter adventures await you and are closer than you think! So, go outside and have some fun!