Spring brings a variety of conditions visitors should be prepared for
Due to varied conditions across the state, including snow cover, flooding and storm damage, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends people check the DNR website for current conditions of the DNR-managed land they plan to visit before leaving home.
As snow melts, trail and campground conditions are being assessed by DNR crews. Work to clear winter storm damage continues in some areas. Recent snowfall in parts of the state has delayed this work, and some recreation amenities and facilities might open later than usual. In addition, spring snow melt has caused flooding in some locations. The DNR urges visitors to prioritize safety over sightseeing and follow all signs and closures. Flooded areas should be avoided.
DNR webpages can help the public identify current conditions, temporary closures, and safety considerations:
- Use the park locator map to locate individual state park and recreation area webpages for updated information on each park.
- Learn about closures to state forest roads and all types of trails on the temporary closures page.
- Specific to off-highway vehicle trails, the summer riding season officially begins on May 1, but weather and trail conditions may prevent riders from accessing some off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. Although clubs and DNR staff are working hard to get the trails ready, many trails in northern Minnesota are still snow covered and some will likely not be open by May 1. To learn which trails are open, visit the DNR’s OHV trail closures webpage.
- Contact the local wildlife area office for the latest conditions at Wildlife Management Areas.
- Visit the DNR’s river levels webpage to learn about current river levels and paddling conditions. Most river levels are reported as medium, high or very high as of April 27; and with cold water temperatures, paddlers should take extreme caution on the water. Be sure to review cold water safety information before heading out on the water.
- Boat access site conditions are also variable. With a later than average ice out this spring, crews have not yet been able to inspect and repair boat ramps or place docks at many locations. Boaters should inspect ramps above and below the water to ensure they are in good condition and avoid rivers with high water and lakes with ice remaining. The DNR has a 2023 Lake Ice Out Dates webpage that offers the latest information about which lakes have open water, and which are still ice covered.
People should be prepared to encounter mud on trails and state forest roads during spring snowmelt and after heavy or multi-day rainfall events. Waterproof footwear is recommended for hikers. To prevent erosion, widening of trails and damage to plants, hikers and OHV riders are encouraged to go through muddy areas and not around them, or turn back if it’s unsafe or if continuing forward could damage the trail.
Visitors seeking more detailed information than what’s available online are encouraged to contact the DNR Information Center. The DNR Information Center can be reached by emailing [email protected] or by calling 888-MINNDNR (646-6367) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.