February is Winter Recreation month and a perfect time to experience North Dakota’s unique winter activities, including hiking, skiing, fishing and snowmobiling.
Outdoor activities don’t stop in winter, they just switch gears. Dirt, water and grass are replaced by ice and snow. Adventure-seekers will find the Pembina Gorge (www.ndtourism.com/pembina-gorge) a winter wonderland, with a series of trails for off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and foot traffic, and Frost Fire Park ski and snowboard area (https://frostfirepark.org/) for downhill skiing.
Feel the downhill rush at North Dakota’s three other ski areas: Bottineau Winter Park (http://skibwp.com/) in the Turtle Mountains near Bottineau, Huff Hills (https://www.huffhills.com/) near Mandan and Thrill Hills (https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports---Recreation/Thrill-Hills-109028900630748/) at Fort Ransom.
For a slower pace, take the 12 Month, 12 Hike Challenge or the Adventure Challenge at North Dakota's state parks (www.parkrec.nd.gov/challenges). Each challenge is a way for outdoors enthusiasts to experience the natural wonders in the state’s 13 state parks (www.parkrec.nd.gov/). Rent cross-country skis at Cross Ranch (www.parkrec.nd.gov/cross-ranch-state-park), Fort Ransom (www.parkrec.nd.gov/fort-ransom-state-park), Fort Stevenson (www.parkrec.nd.gov/fort-stevenson-state-park) and Lake Metigoshe (www.parkrec.nd.gov/lake-metigoshe-state-park) state parks. Cross Ranch, Fort Stevenson, Lake Metigoshe and Beaver Lake (www.parkrec.nd.gov/beaver-lake-state-park) state parks rent snowshoes.
Speed things up on 2,800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Access and grooming of the 14 trail association routes are determined by snowfall. Check the Snowmobile ND website (www.snowmobilend.org/) for trail updates.
Ice fishing is a popular activity and as the “Perch Capital of the World,” Devils Lake (https://devilslakend.com/) has the complete package. Check out all-inclusive Woodland Resort (www.woodlandresort.com/), where guides, lodging, food, drink and camaraderie await.
Find more winter fun throughout the state at www.ndtourism.com.