Minnesota
 

Explore Minnesota Winter Trails Report: December 24, 2008

by Explore Minnesota Travel News on 24 Dec 2008

The information in this report is provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources State Climatology Office and Explore Minnesota Tourism.


Snow-coated branches.
This is the Explore Minnesota Winter Trails Report as of Wednesday, December 24, with information provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources. This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.


Very good to excellent cross-country ski and snowmobile trail conditions can be found at Scenic, McCarthy Beach, Cascade River, Gooseberry Falls, Savanna Portage, Jay Cooke, Banning, Lake Bemidji, Itasca, Glendalough, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs Kathio, Lake Maria, William O’Brien, Frontenac, Flandrau, Camden, Lac Qui Parle and Sibley state parks. The Gunflint Trail and Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail also offer very good to excellent conditions. Snow is in the forecast for the entire state this weekend, and any accumulation could result in improved trail conditions and the opening of additional ski and snowmobile trails. This weekend’s more moderate temperatures will make skiing and snowmobiling even more enjoyable! Please remember that trail conditions can change rapidly–please call ahead for the most current conditions.


A Snowmobile State Trail sticker is required for all snowmobiles operating on state or grant-in-aid trails, and all snowmobiles must have a $16 trail use permit. Cross-country skiers must also have a pass to use grant-in-aid and state-operated trails. For further information, contact the Department of Natural Resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-646-6367. You may order cross-country ski passes and snowmobile trail stickers at 1-888-665-4236. To locate a license center in Minnesota to purchase ski passes and snowmobile stickers, check out DNR License Agents.


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Northeastern Region


Bigfork (north of Grand Rapids)


Scenic State Park cross-country ski trails are groomed, and in very good condition. The trails have a 3-5 inch base. The snowmobile trail that runs through the park is now groomed, and riders report fair conditions. The base is measuring 1-3 inches. The historic lodge building is open. There is a stone fireplace, and a supply of wood for a nice warm fire. Roughly 16 inches of snow covers the ground in this area.


Side Lake (north of Hibbing)


The snowmobile trails at McCarthy Beach State Park are groomed, with a 4 inch base. Conditions are currently good. The ski trails are partially groomed, and in very good condition, with a 5 inch base. Local snow depth is 14 inches.


Ely


Bear Head Lake State Park has 16 inches of snow on the ground. The cross-country ski trails are partially groomed, and should be regroomed prior to the weekend. The trails are in fair condition, with a 3 inch base. The Taconite, Tomahawk and other area snowmobile trails are in fair to good condition, with a 2-6 inch base. These trails should also be regroomed by the weekend. Some sections remain slushy and snowmobiles are packing the trails in an attempt to cause swamps and flowages to freeze over enough to support a groomer. Please use caution if you venture out. Some area lakes have become slushy due to the large amount of snow that covers them–as always, please use caution when choosing lake travel. Most cross-country ski trails in the area are groomed, tracked and in excellent condition. The Hidden Valley and Trezona ski trails in Ely and the golf course trails in Babbitt are groomed and open for skate skiing. These trails have a 6 inch base overall. Please note that trail conditions can change on a daily basis–please call ahead for the most current trail conditions.


Grand Marais/Gunflint Trail


Central Gunflint Trail cross-country ski trail conditions are reported to be good to excellent. On average, these trails have a 5 inch base. There is roughly 27 inches of snow on the ground. Just to the south, all 25 kilometers of the Pincushion Mountain ski trails have been packed and rolled, and conditions are reported to be very good. The area received an additional 16 inches of snow on Saturday, December 21. Track is being set for classic skiing. In general, most trails have a 5-8 inch base. At the city of Grand Marais, there was an additional 6-8 inches of “lake effect” snow on Tuesday, on top of over a foot of snow that fell over the weekend. All area cross-country ski trails have been groomed and are in good to excellent condition. Area snowmobile trails have been groomed numerous times, with a 12 inch compact base. The smaller area lakes are frozen, but some of the larger lakes have not yet frozen over.


Lutsen


Cascade River State Park currently offers excellent conditions for cross-country skiing. The trails are groomed, with a 5 inch base. The snowmobile trails are in fair condition, with a 5 inch partially groomed surface. Local snow depth is roughly 16 inches.


Two Harbors


Gooseberry Falls State Park is covered in 2 feet of snow! The snowmobile trails are currently in fair condition. The ski trails are fully groomed, and in good condition. Both trails have a 10 inch base. There are beautiful ice formations on the waterfalls, along with lots of opportunities to view wildlife. Visitors report seeing signs of fox, pine martin, deer, wolf and eagles.


McGregor


The ski trails within Savanna Portage State Park are in very good condition, with a 2 inch base. Most trails are tracked and packed, including the Esker, Lake Shumway, Pine Loop, Black Spruce and South Spur trails.


Carlton


The ski trails on the north side of Highway 210 within Jay Cooke State Park are groomed and tracked and in excellent condition. The trails south of the St. Louis River should be regroomed by the weekend. The ski trails have a 6 inch base. The snowmobile trails are in fair condition, with a 3 inch groomed surface. Local snow depth is 10-12 inches.


Sandstone


Banning State Park offers both skiing and snowmobiling. The ski trails are partially groomed, and reported to be in fair condition. Skiers have been out setting their own track, and the ski trails should be packed and tracked on December 26. The snowmobile trails are fully groomed, and in excellent condition. Both trails have a 5 inch base. Snowmobile parking is available at Banning Junction Restaurant. Ski passes are sold at the park office, and ski equipment can be rented in Sandstone. Area snow depth is roughly 16 inches.


Northcentral/West Region


Lake Bronson (far northwest corner of Minnesota)


The ski trails at Lake Bronson State Park are groomed, and conditions are good. The trails have a 6 inch base. The snowmobile trails are in good condition, with a 4 inch partially groomed surface. Local snow depth is 13 inches.


Argyle (northwest of Thief River Falls)


Old Mill State Park offers good conditions for cross-country skiing. The trails are ungroomed, with a 3 inch base. The snowmobile trails are in fair condition, with a 5 inch ungroomed surface. There is roughly 13 inches of snow on the ground.


Bemidji


The Lake Bemidji State Park ski and snowmobile trails have a 6 inch groomed surface, and both trails are listed in excellent condition! Roughly 12 inches of snow covers the ground in this area.


Lake Itasca (north of Park Rapids)


The ski trails within Itasca State Park have a 4 inch groomed surface, and are listed in very good condition. The snowmobile trails are also groomed, and conditions are good. Local snow depth is averaging 17 inches. Please remember that the Itasca Suites are open during the winter months, with ski and snowmobile trails beginning right outside, along the south shore of Lake Itasca.


Battle Lake


Glendalough State Park ski trails are in excellent condition, with a 6 inch groomed surface. The ground is covered in over 1 foot of snow. Ski rental is available within the park, and additional youth sizes have been purchased.


Brainerd


The ski and snowmobile trails within Pillsbury State Forest are reported to be in good condition, with a 5 inch groomed surface. The snowmobile trails are fully groomed, and the ski trails should also be groomed by the end of today. Local snow depth is approximately 16 inches. Nearby, the section of the Paul Bunyan state snowmobile trail running through Pequot Lakes is reported to be in good condition, with a 3 inch groomed surface. Most trails in the area have been groomed at least once, and should be regroomed again this week.


Onamia


Mille Lacs Kathio State Park ski and snowmobile trails are groomed, and in very good condition. Local snow depth is 1 foot. The office will be open on Christmas Day, with ski and snowshoe rentals available. Camper Cabin reservations can be made by calling 1-866-857-2757, or by logging on to the reservation website at www.stayatmnparks.com


Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan Vicinity


Monticello


Lake Maria State Park received 6-7 inches of new snow over the weekend. Most of the trails will be groomed and tracked early in the week, leaving very good conditions and a 2 inch base on 22 kilometers of traditional ski trails and 5 kilometers of skate ski trails. Ski-in cabins are also available–please call the state park reservation line at 1-866-857-2757 to reserve a cabin. The ground is covered in nearly 1 foot of snow.


Three Rivers Park District -Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott and Wright county parks


Packed and tracked trails, along with good conditions, can be found at Baker Park Reserve in Maple Plain, Carver Park Reserve in Victoria, Cleary Lake Regional Park in Prior Lake, Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, Glen Lake in Minnetonka, Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, and Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve in Savage. The skate ski trails at Eagle Lake Regional Park are packed, groomed and in good condition. The traditional ski trails are in fair condition.


Almelund (east of North Branch)


The ski trail system within Wild River State Park has been groomed and tracked, and conditions are reported to be good. The trails have a 3 inch base. A total of 6 inches of snow is in the woods.


Marine On St. Croix (north of Stillwater)


The William O’Brien State Park ski trails are in very good condition, with a 3 inch groomed surface. The ground is covered with 8 inches of snow.


Afton (south of Hastings)


The ski trails at Afton State Park are partially groomed, with a 4 inch base. Most sections of the trail are in very good condition, however some windswept areas are in good condition. There is roughly 8 inches of snow on the ground.


Southern Region


Nerstrand (south of Northfield)


Nerstrand State Park trails have a 3-4 inch base, and conditions are reported to be good for both skiing and snowmobiling. The current snow conditions are inadequate for grooming. There is roughly 9-11 inches of snow on the ground.


Frontenac (south of Red Wing)


The Frontenac State Park snowmobile trails have been groomed, and park officials report good conditions. The ski trails have been also been groomed, and conditions are considered very good. Both trails are covered in 3-4 inches of snow. Local snow depth is roughly 11 inches.


Elba (north of St. Charles)


The ski trails within Whitewater State Park are in very good condition, with a 4-5 inch base. These trails should be regroomed by Saturday. Overall, there is just over 1 foot of snow on the ground.


Albert Lea


Myre-Big Island State Park currently offers 5 miles of groomed ski trails. The trail system is reported to be in good condition, with a 6 inch base. The snowmobile trail has also been groomed, and conditions are good. There is roughly 20 inches of snow on the ground.


Waterville (southwest of Faribault)


Roughly 10-13 inches of snow covers the ground at Sakatah Lake State Park. The ski and snowmobile trails are in good to very good condition, with a 3-5 inch groomed surface. The Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, which travels past Sakatah Lake State Park, has been groomed for skiing and snowmobiling, and conditions are considered very good. Both trails have a 1-3 inch base. Area snow depth is 9-12 inches. Please note that there is snow on top of the ice on Upper and Lower Sakatah lakes, which makes it harder to identify problem areas. There is also open water under the bridge at The Narrows where the lakes connect.


New Ulm


Flandrau State Park ski trails are groomed and in very good condition, with a 3 inch base. Trails in the wooded areas are in the better condition than those in the open, windswept areas. Overall, there is approximately 8 inches of snow on the ground in this area. Flandrau State Park rents cross-country skis, boots and poles, as well as snowshoes. There is a WPA-era “beach house” that serves as a warming house in the winter. This building is typically open on the weekends with a fire burning when ski conditions are good.


Lynd (southwest of Marshall)


Camden State Park currently offers very good conditions for both skiing and snowmobiling. Both trails have a 5 inch partially groomed surface. Please note that the skate ski trail has a lot of bare spots. Snow has drifted over some parts of the snowmobile trail. There is roughly one foot of snow within the park.


Watson (northwest of Montevideo)


The ski trail running through Lac qui Parle State Park is in good to very good condition, with a 6 inch groomed surface. The ground is covered with 9 inches of snow.


New London


Sibley State Park ski trails are groomed, and in very good condition, with a 3 inch base. The snowmobile trails remain ungroomed, and in fair condition. Seven inches of snow covers the ground in this area. More snow in the forecast, and will be groomed as needed. The sliding hill is snow covered, and ready for use. The heated trail center has a supply of wood for the fireplace.




Please Note: Explore Minnesota Tourism grants you permission to distribute this information freely to friends, family and others for personal use. However, any republication of the materials, full or partial, in electronic, print or other format, must prominently include the following statement: “The information in this report is provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources State Climatology Office and Explore Minnesota Tourism.”

Read article at Explore Minnesota Travel News


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