Itasca State Park

Trail conditions:

Winter recreation is at full swing at Itasca! On the morning of January 15, 4-inches of fresh snow fell. The trees are stunning with their fresh blanket of snow. Come out and enjoy before the wind blows it away. More snow is forecast for this coming weekend. Get your snowshoes on for some fun outdoor recreation!

Ski Trails: Trails are being packed this week. The new snowmobile arrived and we are out packing trails that may not have been done in recent weeks. Conditions vary from good to excellent depending on tree cover. Packed base averages from 3 to 5 inches. Conditions are better on the trails with asphalt base (South Entrance, Bike Trail and Wilderness Drive). Classic Trails include: the Bike Trail (from the visitor Center to the Headwaters), Ozawindib (from Wilderness Drive to Red Pine Trail), Deer Park Trail (from Wilderness Drive to McKay Lake Crossover), DeSoto Trail (from Wilderness Drive to McKay Lake Crossover), Aiton Heights Trail, Myrtle Lake Crossover, McKay Lake Crossover. Combination Skate and Classic Trails include: South Entrance Road (from Visitor Center to Red Pine Trail), Wilderness Drive (from Visitor Center to DeSoto Trail head).
NOTE: Skate skiers are asked to not skate ski across the set track on the Classic trails/lanes.
Snowmobile Trails: Trails are open and trails are in nice condition. Trails were groomed early in the week (January 6-7).
Snowshoe Trails: We are at the depth were snowshoes in the woods are a must (especially if you are breaking trail)! Snowshoe Trails include: Dr. Roberts Trail, Brower Trail, Self-guided trail at the Visitor Center, Schoolcraft Trail, and LaSalle Trail (in Pine Ridge Campground).
NOTES:Snowshoers are asked to stay off the packed and tracked ski trails.
Nature Notes: Winter birds are active around the Visitor Center feeders. Pileated, hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers frequent the feeders as do black-capped chikadees, white- and red-breasted nuthatches and blue jays. Listen for the drumming sounds of woodpeckers as they 'mark' their territory by pecking on hollow trees. Roughed grouse are seen picking at grit along road corridors. Barred owls are being seen near the Lake Itasca boat access. Listen for the mating calls of great horned and barred owls now through March. Snowshoe hares are active, though hard to see with their all-white fur. Wolf tracks are being seen along many of the ski trails. They too take advantage of easier travel conditions by using the packed ski trails. White-tailed deer can be seen in the early morning and early evening hours. All lakes are frozen, however, ice thickness varies from only a few inches to 8 to 10-inches. The snow cover has caused extensive flooding on lake ice especially along the shores and points on the lake where snow has drifted. Ice is very thin near the headwaters. Check out the webcam on the Itasca State Park homepage to see the park in winter!

Skiing
Trail conditions: very good
Trail groomed? yes
Trail base: 5+ "
Trail mileage: 13.0
Difficulty: all levels (track)  all levels (skate)
Snowmobiling
Trail conditions: very good
Trail groomed? yes
Trail base: 4-6"
Trail mileage: 31.0

The trail(s):
The trail offers a beautiful look of the mixed forests in northern Minnesota. Travel through wooded areas, around lakes and through one of the most popular parks in the state. Through out the trail, you may see a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, fisher, wolves, fox and otter.
You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as skiing or snowmobiling.

Facilities:

  • A warming area is located in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center.
  • Daily ski passes are sold at the park Visitor Center.
  • Snowshoes are available to rent at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center.
  • Winter Camping is available in Pine Ridge Campground and the backpack sites. Campers can register at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. For lodging: The Itasca Suites are available to rent year round; featuring seating area, kitchenette, bedroom, and bath.

Itasca State Park home page »

Last updated on January 15, 2020. Local snow depth is 25".

Getting there

36750 Main Park Drive
Park Rapids, MN 56470

The trailhead is located in the park, which is 21 miles north of Park Rapids off of Highway 71. Follow park road to the visitor center or Indian Mounds parking lot.

Parking is available at the Visitor Center or Indian Mounds parking lot

Contact

Phone: (218) 699-7251
Email: [email protected]
Winter contact hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

More Info

Skiing »
Ski pass »
Snowmobiling »