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Where Beauty & Nature Intersect

January Winter Fun Blog 2024

2015 Lantern Lit Walk

5 Ways to Make Winter Fun

Embrace winter with activities in Park Rapids and the Heartland Lakes area that turn the
frosty time of year into fun for everyone! Here are a few opportunities to enjoy the
Northwoods in the winter:

Lantern Lit Snowshoe and Skiing
Itasca State Park’s Evening Lantern Lit Snowshoe and Ski is held on the Saturday of
Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and starts at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. Come-
and-go at your leisure. The trail is illuminated along the South Entrance Road
approximately 3.5 miles round-trip. If snow conditions are poor, the event will become a
snow boot walk. Bring your own hotdogs, Thermos of hot chocolate, marshmallows and
snacks to enjoy around an outdoor campfire before or after the walk. Warm up in the
Visitor Center lobby and enjoy music by Julie and Bill Kaiser from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For
other details about this and other winter events at Itasca State Park, go to
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/events.html?location=spk00181.

Soaring Eagle Nordic Ski Area
Closer to Park, Rapids, the Itascatur Outdoor Activity Club maintains the Soaring Eagle
Nordic Ski Area. The ski center consists of 10 km of marked and groomed trails through
balsam pines and spruce. Trails are groomed classical and skate and designed for
beginner to expert skiers. Snowshoe trails are also flagged and mapped. Soaring Eagle
also has a warming house and free use of skis, boots and poles for adults and children
during weekly weekend open houses. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required for skiers, but
not for snowshoeing. For more information, go to http://itascatur.org/winter-activities/.

Strap On Your Skates
An outdoor skating rink is maintained at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena in Park Rapids
where open skate times inside are also available. You can even rent the rink if you want
to make a family memory! The arena website is                                https://www.prhockey.com/page/show/96669-ted-o-johnson-ice-arena.

The City of Nevis also maintains a skating rink on the east side of Paul Bunyan Drive.

Fire Up Your Sled
The Forest Riders and Nevis Trailblazers Snowmobile Clubs maintain 400-plus miles of
snowmobile trails in the Heartland Lakes Area and you can add another 100-plus miles
by connecting to the the Paul Bunyan Trail. Trails offer glorious scenic views of forests,
lakes, rivers and streams and some farmland on gently rolling terrain. The Park Rapids
Chamber website offers trail maps and reports, and the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources updates snow depth and trail conditions weekly at
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html.

Quiet Time
We can’t promise a horizon filled with Northern Lights, but most nights star gazing is
stellar. It’s easy to get away from city lights. You can find Orion and other constellations
and even see some planets without binoculars. Or go to Itasca State Park or one of our county parks or public lands (https://www.co.hubbard.mn.us/departments/public_works/parks_recreation/index.php)
where you can build a campfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows or do some bird
watching. On a short drive in any direction you can usually see bald eagles fishing in
open water.

CHAMBER PARTNERS:

Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber, a Partner of Explore Minnesota Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Northwoods Bank, Partner of Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber Citizen's Bank in Park Rapids, MN Park Rapids Downtown Business Association Park Rapids Lakes Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau