Most people recognize that Minnesota is an outdoorsy state. With dozens of state parks and campgrounds – not to mention our 10,000 lakes – we try to spend as much time outdoors as possible in warmer months. But what some people don’t realize is that we extend that love of Mother Nature into the winter months. A little snow doesn’t stop a Minnesotan from enjoying the best our state has to offer. These picturesque Minnesota trails are perfect examples of what we have to look forward to once the snow falls – and they’re also a classic example of winter hiking in Minnesota.

Minnesota is so beautiful that it’s a shame to stay inside during the winter. Plus, winter hiking in Minnesota is just as fun as the rest of the year. If you’re interested in more outdoor nature activities to do this winter, check out this list of gorgeous frozen waterfalls in Minnesota.


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Let's go winter hiking in Minnesota

What are the best state parks for winter hiking?

With 66 state parks in Minnesota, you have plenty of hiking options year-round. Let's take a look at a quick list of some state parks you definitely need to check out for winter hiking in Minnesota:

1. Falls Loop Trail: Gooseberry Falls State Park. Gooseberry Falls is beautiful all year long. In the winter the snow and ice sparkle in the sun making for a magical exploration.
2. Quarry Loop Trail: Banning State Park. Banning State Park is another hidden gem in Sandstone, MN. The rushing Kettle River nestled in a beautiful forest is only one highlight of this 1.8-mile trail.
3. Beach Trail: Bear Head Lake State Park. This small hiking trail in Ely, Minnesota is such a calming trek in the winter. These northern Minnesota trails are so quiet and beautiful with a layer of fresh snow.
4. Silver Creek Trail: Jay Cooke State Park. Winter is a prime time to visit Jay Cook State Park because you'll have it all to yourself. Silver Creek is stunning in the winter.
5. Wildflower Trail: Carley State Park. This popular trail in southern Minnesota gets its name from the abundant wildflowers that pop up in the spring. It is also a wonderfully peaceful trail in the winter.
6. Hidden Falls Trail: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. This trail leads to a small waterfall hidden amidst a forest of elm, maple, basswood, and ironwood trees.
7. Loop Trail: Pipestone National Monument. In southwestern Minnesota, you'll find these amazing old pipestone quarries that were used by Native American groups for centuries.

Read more about these hikes plus a few more in this Minnesota winter hiking bucket list - one hike for each month.

What are the 6 national parks in Minnesota?

The six national parks in Minnesota are the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, North Country National Scenic Trail, Pipestone National Monument, Grand Portage National Monument, Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, and Voyageurs National Park. Each of these national parks offers its own unique experiences, but all of them allow you to enjoy the best of Minnesota wildlife and outdoor adventures.

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