When Snow Hits the Rail-Trail, Swap Your Wheels for Skis

Posted 12/17/12 by Laura Stark in America's Trails, Trail Use

Photo of Red Cedar State Trail © philipschwarzphotography.wordpress.com

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.


Cannon Valley Trail

19.7 miles from Cannon Falls to Red Wing

Photo of the Luce Line State Trail © Winstead Herald Journal

Gateway State Trail (Willard Munger State Trail)

18.3 miles from St. Paul to Stillwater

Harmony-Preston Valley Trail

18 miles from Fountain to Harmony

Luce Line State Trail

76.7 miles from Minneapolis to Cosmos

Root River State Trail

42 miles from Fountain to Houston

Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail

39 miles from Faribault to Mankato 


Red Cedar State Trail

14.5 miles from Menomonie to the Dunnville Wildlife Area

Stower Seven Lakes State Trail

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.

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