A good hardy Minnesotan knows the tried-and-true motto of there being no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. The credo has lasted the test of time because, well, it’s true.

Even in the midst of long nights, little sunshine and — gasp — single digits or colder weather, there is plenty to do outside — and outside, you should do.

Regardless of what the mercury in the thermometer says, here are some fun activities to do in the Northfield area on a winter day, however lovely or brisk it may be. Oh, and be sure to dress appropriately. Pro tip: Start with a moisture-wicking layer.


Sledding hills on either side of the Cannon River


Most folks are aware of the two prestigious colleges that anchor Northfield’s east side (Carleton College) and west side (St. Olaf College). But did you know both colleges sport outstanding hills for premium sledding? For years, locals have taken advantage of the easy-to-access hills to wear out their kids and get the best sledding south of the river (the other one). Head over to Old Main at St. Olaf (off of Lincoln St. S.) or Bell Field at Carleton (east side of campus) to sled the winter away.

Enjoy it while you can, because the trek up the hills will catch up with you.


Cross-country skiing in the Cowling Arboretum


Also a winter highlight — well, a highlight anytime of the year, really — is the Cowling Arboretum on the Carleton College campus. There, you can explore miles of trails. It’s especially fun in the winter with cross-country skiing. The trails are groomed in the winter and they are open to the public. Snowshoeing is also allowed.

Find more info > https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/arb/visitor_information/ski_trails/


Snowshoeing with experts

The Gear ReSource Outfitters, based in nearby Dundas, are experts in all things outside in the Northfield area. Owners Robert and Nicole Stai offer different snowshoe packages, including moonlight adventures and visits to area parks, like Caron Park south of Northfield.

Find more info > http://thegearresource.com/


Take to the trails — snowmobile trails

2012 Snow ShootWest Yellowstone, MontanaMarch 4, 2012The Waterford Warriors, Snow Wizards Snowmobile Club and Faribo Sno-Go-Club may not mean much to you if you’re not from the Northfield area, but the three snowmobile clubs are largely responsible for keeping the area’s trails groomed and ready for riding.

With cities playing regional hubs, you can have an easy ride going from city to city to city and back in a day.

Look at a Rice County trail map > http://sno-go.org/files/2014/10/Rice-County-Map-Front-2013-100-DPI1.compressed.pdf


Do it all at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park


Just a short 15-minute drive from Northfield is Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Known for its towering forest, beautiful Hidden Falls and gorgeous trails, it’s a favorite spot of locals and travelers alike. Best of all? You can snowshoe, cross-country ski, walk and snowmobile at this state park.

Find more info > http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/nerstrand_big_woods/index.html


Tired from a busy day? Stay in Northfield

lodgingMainAn active day in the winter wonderland is enough to wear anyone out. Take advantage of Northfield’s many lodging options, conveniently located in downtown Northfield and along Highway 3.

See lodging options > http://visitingnorthfield.com/?page_id=254