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Minnesota’s panfish season never closes, and walleye, northern
pike and other seasons extend deep into winter. As a result,
fishing continues to be one of Minnesota’s most popular
outdoor activities long after waves have turned to ice.
Ice fishing’s ongoing allure, in part, stems from ice house
improvements. Safe and reliable heaters, grills and comfortable
beds are all part of the modern ice fishing experience. Warm,
lifelong memories are often forged from nature’s northern
lights, stunning sunsets and the hushed silence of winter.
Popular lakes for ice fishing include Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs,
Lake of the Woods and more. Ice fishing festivals on these and
other lakes are tons of fun, even if you’re not fishing.
The skinny on fat tire mountain biking is that Minnesota offers
outstanding options. One of the most notable is the rugged and
hilly Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, where winter trails
slice and curve through forests and lake country. Giants Ridge
on the Mesabi Iron Range is another fat biking destination.
Several state parks now offer winter mountain biking
opportunities thanks to the sport’s increasing popularity.
So do park systems in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and
Winona areas, with more opening every year.
Dog sledding is one of the most fun and unusual ways to
experience winter. People of all ages and physical abilities can
do it, and trips can be tailored to your comfort level. Short trips,
day trips, overnight trips and trips that include ice fishing are
among the many iterations available.
Lodging options also vary. You can spend the night in a cozy
cabin or in a yurt—an insulated tent-like shelter.
The primary destination for this sport is the Boundary
Waters, but outfitters can also be found in Duluth, along the
North Shore and even in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
For those who want to enjoy the snow with something other
than skis on their feet, snowshoeing is a great, low-impact
activity. Snowshoe rentals and trails are common in state and
local park systems, including those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul
area. Many nature centers provide snowshoe rentals and trails,
Find ski areas, trails, equipment rentals and outfitters for your winter