It’s Snowshoe Fun to Exercise Outdoors in Minnesota in January

girl with snowshoes

Snowshoeing anyone? There’s no place like Minnesota and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St Paul for winter fun!

Exercising in Minnesota in the winter is extra great since we carry around twice as much weight with all of our snow gear. What with boots, snow pants, scarves, mittens, hats, coat, three layers of sweaters, two pairs of socks, etc., just walking into the backyard adds 2 pounds.

With that said, there are many activities that require more movement than that and are lots of fun.

One of those activities is snowshoeing.  I never really understood snowshoeing when I was a kid.  I thought you wore the snowshoes and could walk atop powdery drifts. That’s not so much it. What it is is more trudging along trails through the woods and your foot may not break through the snow. There is a good possibility that you will break through and get your leg stuck in the drift, snowshoe and all. And then you need to pull your snowshoe out except that it broke free from your foot so now you have to dig it out.

So you wanna go? It is a lot of fun and you do get some great exercise out of it! And it would be a fun experience to have as a family.

More family exercise ideas:

Where to Snowshoe in the Twin Cities

Here are some places to go snowshoeing (and rent snowshoes if you need them).

Three Rivers Parks

16 parks in the Three Rivers system offer trails for snowshoeing and 8 of these locations offer snow shoe rentals ($5/2 hrs). Advanced reservations are required. Reservations can be made online or by phone up to 7 days in advance.

Minneapolis Parks

3 Minneapolis Parks properties offer snowshoeing trails and two of the locations offer rentals for $12. For a more budget-friendly option, see the next entry.

  •  THEODORE WIRTH PARK – rentals available at Trailhead Adventure Shop

16 Parks in the City of Minneapolis – In 2021, Minneapolis Parks has designated these parks as “Adventure Hubs” where winter gear, like snowshoes, may be available to borrow for free.

Minnesota State Parks

3 Minnesota State Parks within the Twin Cities metro area offer snowshoe rentals on a first-come basis ($6/day). Dreaming of more exploring during temperate months? Explore more state parks within an hour’s drive of the Twin Cities.

  • AFTON STATE PARK, Hastings
  • WILLIAM O’BRIEN STATE PARK, Marine-on-St Croix

Metro Nature Centers

The opportunity to snowshoe on quiet, scenic trails is just one more reason to love our Twin Cities metro-area nature centers year-round.

  • HARRIET ALEXANDER NATURE CENTER – Trails located at 2520 North Dale St.
    Roseville, MN, 55113 . Snowshoes must be picked up and dropped off at the Parks & Recreation office inside City Hall at the designated time. Call 651-792-7006 to reserve a two-day rental, $8-$10/pair.
  • MAPLEWOOD NATURE CENTER – 2659 East Seventh Street, Maplewood. Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm. $5/2 hr rentals fit ages 4-adult.
  • SPRINGBROOK NATURE CENTER, 100 85th Avenue, NE, Fridley, MN 55432 (11am-2pm when snow is present). $5/pair.

More places to rent snowshoes in the Twin Cities

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum – 11 miles of snowshoe trails, $7/first hour, additional hours $5/each
  • REI — Bloomington, 750 W American Blvd, Bloomington, MN 55420 – day rentals $8/youth, $22/adult
  • Brooklyn Center Community Center, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 – Has snowshoes available to borrow on a first come/first serve basis during open hours for use in Centennial Park. January 11-March 27, 2022.

Why Snowshoes May Be The Best Winter Sport Investment

It has occurred to me that the best time to go snowshoeing would be on snow days, when getting out to a park with a car may be difficult. However, put them on, and you can snowshoe anywhere before the plows come through. Investing in snowshoes for the family is quite a bit cheaper and more practical than skis. Moreover, snowshoes don’t require a special permit like skis, so, once the snow is plowed, your family can snowshoe spontaneously at any park with a snowy terrain.

In case you were wondering, modern snowshoes do NOT look like tennis rackets.

Published January 26, 2015 by Gianna Kordatzky
and updated annually


girl with snowshoes

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