One of the best ways to shake off the winter doldrums is to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature. From North Dakota to Ohio, and many places in between, The Nature Conservancy has protected some great spots for outdoor winter recreation. So gather your family and friends, bundle up and enjoy a bit of outdoor winter fun at a great place near you.
Sign up for our Great Places e-newsletter and learn what we’re doing to protect the best of the outdoors in your state and how you can help!
A mile of Lake Superior shoreline, six inland lakes, cascading rivers and waterfalls, and an undisturbed northern hardwood forest—Tettegouche State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore has it all. The Conservancy was instrumental in helping to establish this beautiful park in the 1970s. In the winter, you can enjoy 12 miles of groomed classic ski trails, 12 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and several miles of trails that are great for snowshoeing.
Enjoy the frosty air and scenic winter views as you skate on the Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve located near Havana, Illinois. As you glide over the ice, catch glimpses of winter wildlife such as eagles and coyotes.
Winter is a great time to explore the Conservancy’s preserves in the Brown County Hills of Indiana. From hiking to testing your tree identification skills—or just enjoying the quiet of a forest covered in snow, nature awaits you!
Follow the self-guided trail at Laughing Whitefish Lake Preserve any time of year whether by hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing only six miles south of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We grant special permission for the UP200 dogsled race to run through our preserve, so give them the right of way!
Relatively mild southern Ohio weather makes the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, with its 10 miles of trails to explore, a great winter destination. Hike the trail to discover steep hollows, oak-hickory forests, high-quality streams, prairie openings, rocky outcrops and breathtaking vistas. The Edge of Appalachia Preserve is about as wild as Ohio gets.
We helped protect more than 300,000 acres of working forest in Minnesota, along with numerous lakes, rivers and streams, and wildlife habitat. In the process, we preserved public access for outdoor recreation, including an existing snowmobile trail, #147, near Effie, Minnesota.
Echo Lake Preserve just north of Marquette, Michigan, is the perfect place to ski or snowshoe around pristine lakes and big, old trees in a mature northern hardwood and hemlock forest.
The Whitney Preserve south of Hot Springs is one of the best places in South Dakota’s Black Hills for birding in all seasons including winter. Take a walk on the nature trail and keep your eye out for woodpeckers, wood ducks (shown here), kingfishers, hawks, wild turkeys and more. You may also catch a glimpse of deer, elk or even a bobcat if you’re very lucky.
Located on the banks of the only free-flowing stretch of the Missouri River in North Dakota, our Cross Ranch Preserve and Cross Ranch State Park provide important habitat for wildlife and are great places to get outdoors. Both offer beautiful views of the Missouri River and hiking trails for exploration. The state park rents snowshoes and cross-country skis and hosts fun events like Winterfest in February.
Think you have to put your camera away in the winter? Think again! Photographer Steve Meyer captured these beautiful ice falls at our Hemlock Draw Preserve in Wisconsin’s Baraboo Hills. And there are more beautiful shots waiting for you and your camera.
A network of trials that wind through the woods and around 15 wild lakes and ponds at the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area near Boulder Junction allow you to cross-country ski, snowshoe and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Wisconsin’s Northwoods.