• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

    Mississippi

    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Explore Winter

Below are a few suggestions for getting outdoors and, for those extra cold days, ideas for indoor activities. Be sure to check our Schedule of Events for park and partner programs. Call the Mississippi River Visitor Center at (651) 293-0200 to explore even more ideas.

Featured Programs and Activities
A pair of snowshoes.

Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
Cross country skiing is a popular Minnesota activity and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and partners have a wide range of ski trails ranging from flat to more challenging. While there are many trails in the Park, try some of our favorites:

Coon Rapids Regional Park
Fort Snelling State Park
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Spring Lake Park Reserve

Eagle Watching
Eagles concentrate below Mississippi locks and dams in winter where open water provides prey for these fish-eating birds. Among our favorite spots for viewing these majestic birds is below Lock and Dam 2 at Hastings, Minnesota. Take the trail in Hasting's River Flats Park to the observation platform, which is a good location from which to watch eagles roosting, fishing, and interacting with each other.

Geocaching
Geocaching is always a fun activity and provides exercise as well. Strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and go geocaching. Check our geocaching page for places to go.

Ice Fishing
What sport is more quintessential than ice fishing in Minnesota? Learn how to ice fish, get questions answered, and find some hot spots for cold days on our website.

Museums and Visitor Centers
For those that prefer indoor activities in winter, there are a number of museums, cultural centers, and visitor centers that are scattered throughout the Park's 72-mile long corridor. Use this winter to learn more about our history, the Mississippi River, and the wildlife that surrounds us! Here are some of our favorites:

Mississippi River Visitor Center
Fort Snelling State Park Visitor Center
Mill City Museum
East Coon Rapids Visitor Center
Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts

Be sure to check hours of operation as some organizations may have abbreviated winter hours.

Did You Know?

Lock and Dam Number 1 from a long distance.

At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.