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Winter in North Dakota: Embrace the change

by North Dakota Tourism


Gol Stave Church at Scandinavian Heritage Park
Photo by Geof Wilson
Bottineau Winter Park in the Turtle Mountains
Photo by Bottineau EDC
Ice fishing on Devils Lakes
Photo by N.D. Tourism
Fat-tire biking at Lake Metigoshe State Park
Photo by N.D. Tourism

Winter is a beautiful time to enjoy North Dakota. Embrace the outdoor adventure and opportunities.

A rising travel trend – embracing the winter cold and spending more time outdoors in spite of it – is called “friluftsliv.” This translates to “free air life,” a Norwegian concept that being outdoors in all types of weather is good for the mind and body. It’s about connecting with nature, no matter the weather. And, as they say in North Dakota – a U.S. hotspot for Norwegian/Scandinavian culture – if you think it’s too cold, you’re just not dressed warmly enough. North Dakota has numerous outdoor attractions and rich Scandinavian heritage that allow travelers from near and far to embrace “friluftsliv” and reconnect with nature safely in its wide-open spaces where you won’t find crowds (except for crowds of bison, of course).

Get outside and take advantage of these North Dakota winter adventures:
Lake Metigoshe State Park – It’s one thing to hike a snow-covered trail, it’s another to bike that trail. Fat-tire winter biking has taken off, and the trails at Lake Metigoshe State Park are perfect for it. A cozy cabin in the woods with a roaring fire awaits after a day on the trails.

Scandinavian Heritage Park – Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot is the only outdoor museum in the world of its kind. It features larger-than-life artifacts from all five Nordic countries: a 240-year-old log house from Norway, a 27-foot-tall Swedish Fala horse, a Finnish sauna, a Danish windmill and more. The outdoor portion of the park is open year-round to visitors.
North Dakota Badlands - Maah Daah Hey Trail – A pair of snowshoes adds an interesting twist to a day hike in the Badlands. Follow the trail up and down over buttes and through draws, stopping often to take in the scenery.

Turtle Mountains – The Turtle Mountains area along the Canadian Border is a premier snowmobile area, with consistent snow and 177 miles of trails in a woodland unique to North Dakota. The trail systems link up with the Canadian trail system at the International Peace Garden.
Devils Lake – Located on the state’s largest natural body of water, Devils Lake is known for its friendly people and small-town charm. Outdoor adventures include hiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing, hunting and cross-country skiing.

Ma-ak-oti “Old Village” Trail – Situated along the west bank of the Missouri River, central North Dakota’s Cross Ranch State Park and adjacent Cross Ranch Nature Preserve offer a truly primitive outdoor experience. Here you’ll find over 16 miles of trail winding through the park with the 4.2-mile Ma-ak-oti Trail ideal for snowshoers of all ages. This trail is divided into two sections – the 2.5-mile Upper Ma-ak-oti Trail and 1.7-mile Lower Ma-ak-oti Trail. Both sections of the trail wind through prairie bluffs and wooded channels, offering vistas of the Missouri River. For a cozy lodging experience, stay at one of three yurts found throughout the park. The Pretty Point Yurt is a newer dwelling that offers a spectacular view of the Missouri River.