TO THE EXTREME
Adrenaline junkies have
no shortage of options in
At Robinson Park in Sandstone,
a steep cli; covered in ice draws
climbers to scale its face using ice
axes and special boots, and the park
hosts an annual climbing festival in
January. Vertical Endeavors o;ers
lessons in the Twin Cities and along
the North Shore, and Winona is home
to the state’s newest ice climbing wall.
Blue Mounds (Luverne), Interstate
(Taylors Falls) and Te;egouche (Silver
Bay) state parks are popular spots to
give rock climbing a try. Barn Blu; in
Red Wing is another climbing
Head to Stony Point—just north of
Duluth on Lake Superior—on a brisk
winter day, and don’t be surprised to
find a group of diehard surfers riding
the waves. Winter is the best time to
surf the big lake when storms kick up
high winds and big swells.
You don’t need an ocean to go deep.
Certified divers can swim with the
fish in the Cuyuna Country State
Recreation Area near Crosby and at
St. Cloud’s Quarry Park.
Gaining popularity on Minnesota
A Paddler’s Paradise
waters, this variation on
wakeboarding drops the rope and
uses the wake of the boat to stay
afloat. Annual tournaments are held
on Lake Minnetonka and the
Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
Minnesota’s DNR maintains 35
designated water trails throughout the
state for kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddleboarders. Introduced more
than 50 years ago, the water trail system
is the oldest in the nation and now
covers more than 4,500 miles.
These waterways range from quiet,
designated wild and scenic stretches
of the Mississippi River to whitewater
ra;ing through rocky rapids in
northeast Minnesota. Each one rewards
paddlers with a distinct experience, and
newcomers to the sport or now-and-again adventurers can find outfi;ers that
o;er equipment rentals, shu;les, fishing
advice, guided outings and classes.
Winding more than 500 miles through
the state, the Mississippi River o;ers
many places to enjoy its scenery. The
headwaters emerge as a placid, narrow
stream in Itasca State Park near Bemidji,
then the river widens and reaches a
designated wild and scenic stretch near
St. Cloud’s Beaver Islands and continues
on to the broad waters of Lake Pepin,
with barges and riverboats in southern
Minnesota’s Blu; Country.
Another massive body of water, Lake
Superior delivers some of the state’s
most dramatic scenery, along with
beloved state parks, roaring rivers and
water so clear that a calm day can feel
like paddling across glass. Resorts and
outfi;ers from the St. Louis River
near Duluth to the Pigeon River on the
Canadian border can help paddlers pick
the best segments and safest conditions.
Other popular water trails include
the St. Louis River, with 7 miles of
rapids through Jay Cooke State Park
on the North Shore of Lake Superior;
the St. Croix River, featuring a 200-foot
gorge, ice age potholes and scenic rock
formations on the Minnesota-Wisconsin
border; and the Root River in southeast
Minnesota, with calm water ideal for
beginners and families.
Rivers aren’t the only places to get
out and paddle. The state’s many lakes,
including those in the heart of our
biggest cities, are filled with people in
kayaks, canoes and on paddleboards
when the weather’s nice. Local
outfi;ers rent equipment by the hour
or day, and lakeside resorts o;en have
watercra; available for guests to use
during their stays.
Last but certainly not least,
Minnesota is home to the world-renowned Boundary Waters Canoe
Area Wilderness, named one of National
Geographic Traveler’s “ 50 Places of
a Lifetime.” This vast preserve of
lakes and woods o;ers a wilderness
experience like no other, with more than
1,500 miles of lakes, rivers and streams
accessible only by canoe.
There are no roads, buildings,
electricity or souvenir shops here;
adventurers are as likely to spot wildlife
such as moose, deer, beavers and bald
eagles as they are fellow campers.
Nearly 2,200 designated campsites are
sca;ered throughout the Boundary
Waters, available without reservations
and featuring li;le more than a patch of
land for your tent and a steel fire grate.
Area outfi;ers can help plan a trip
that suits your interests and experience
level and can provide all necessary
equipment and permits.
Plan your Minnesota paddling adventure at