Last week, a snow storm pounded the Midwest, making a winter wonderland of eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
But among all the worries of traffic snares, school and work closings, and all that shoveling and plowing, perhaps there is some happy news we can hold on to with both mittens. The snow brings with it the opportunity to cross-country ski, snowshoe, or just take a good old fashioned trek in snow boots through a pristine and sparking new landscape.
Those willing to brave the cold can swap their wheels for skis on a few of the longer rail-trails in the region that are groomed for these winter activities.
To check current snow and trail conditions, please contact the trail's managing entity; links to these organizations (such as the state departments of natural resources) are included on each trail's page on TrailLink.com.
19.7 miles from Cannon Falls to Red Wing
18.3 miles from St. Paul to Stillwater
18 miles from Fountain to Harmony
76.7 miles from Minneapolis to Cosmos
42 miles from Fountain to Houston
39 miles from Faribault to Mankato
14.5 miles from Menomonie to the Dunnville Wildlife Area
13.5 miles from Amery to Dresser
If you're really feeling adventurous, a "Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe" event is being held on the Red Cedar State Trail, January 25, and a "Candlelight Ski" event will be held in Sakatah Lake State Park, which the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail runs through, on January 26.