Top Snowshoeing in Minnesota

Minnesota's Southwest

Though not always associated with winter sports, the southwest of Minnesota has unique attractions worth exploring. Instead of the vast forests of the northern part of the state, remnant prairie and pockets of wetlands mark the landscape.

Blue Mounds State Park: Blue Mounds sits atop an outcrop of Sioux quartzite which stretches nearly two miles long and 100 feet above the surrounding prairie and grassland landscape. While summer finds the park dotted with big bluestem and prickly pear, winter's attractions include a herd of approximately 45 bison that roam through the park. White-tailed deer and coyotes are often seen too. The park has 13 miles of winter hiking trails and, like other state parks, can be explored freely — just avoid groomed trails.

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge: Nearly 11,000 acres of wetlands, woodlands, and granite outcroppings along the Minnesota River form Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge encompasses a multitude of habitats including floodplain forest and native prairie. Winter visitors can park outside the entrance and venture anywhere. I suggest starting with the refuge roads.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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