Cross-country skiing

Winter is Fun in North Dakota

Vary your workout routine while taking advantage of winter

When the cooler temperatures have returned and the landscapes are kissed with snow crystals, there is a wealth of snow-filled activities that beckon North Dakotans and visitors outdoors to make the most of the season.

Don't let cold and winter get slow you down, embrace the Norwegian lifestyle known as "friluftsliv" which translates to "free air life." Year-round activities in the great outdoors and connecting with nature have positive effects on health, mind and body.

North Dakota is a winter recreational hub and we are fortunate enough to have so many winter activities to diversify your routine. With downhill ski runs, tubing slides, frozen lakes and thousands of miles of snowshoeing and snowmobiling trails.

Click here to find fun winter events taking place in North Dakota!

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Cross-country skiers have a variety of trails to choose from through parks, along rivers and even through the Badlands. Blaze your own trail on the best trails to cross country ski or view a list of available state park trails here.

Hiking and Biking

Fat Biking at Lake Metigoshe State Park: It’s one thing to hike a snow-covered trail, it’s another thing 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.

Fat tire biking

Downhill Skiing

You will find many fun downhill ski areas around that provide a nearby "warm-up" before hitting the more challenging slopes. Huff Hills near Mandan, Bottineau Winter Park in the Turtle Mountains are open for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, and Frost Fire Park near Walhalla for skiing, tubing and more.

getting ready to downhill ski

Ice Fishing

North Dakota is home to several lakes and streams that freeze over in the winter making ice fishing one of the most popular winter hobbies. Whether you prefer a cozy ice house with the comforts of home, sitting on a bucket on the open ice or a dark house for spearfishing, avid anglers keep right on fishing throughout the winter in North Dakota. Some of the best spots for ice fishing include Devils Lake, Lake Sakakawea, Lake Audubon, Lake Metigoshe and hundreds of smaller lakes and rivers to chase northern pike, walleye and perch.

Sledding and Skating

Whether you crave the nostalgic experience of skating at the local pond or steering the hottest toboggan to hit the snow, you can find it in North Dakota. All major cities have indoor skating rinks, and most communities have outdoor rinks and sledding hills offering winter fun. Fargo boasts The Lights Ice Rink and Broadway Square, providing a magical atmosphere with twinkling lights. Grand Forks features the Town Square Ice Rink, inviting skaters to enjoy a charming setting. In Minot, the Citizens Alley Ice Rink provides a delightful outdoor experience for residents and visitors alike. These rinks offer opportunities for individuals and families to embrace the winter season, showcasing the state's commitment to providing enjoyable and festive recreational activities.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park: If you think bison are impressive in the summer, you should see them covered in snow. Scout out wildlife on the trails within Theodore Roosevelt National Park, or look for them on the scenic drive to Wind Canyon. Then stop in Medora for a warm drink and a soft, cozy bed.

Bison in Whitehill


Are more than 2,800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails enough for you? If not, there are several hundred miles of less developed trails to explore. Well-developed trails lead through the forests of the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Gorge, the scenic valleys of the Sheyenne, Missouri and Red rivers, the Badlands and the endless shorelines of Devils Lake and Lake Sakakawea. The Lake Metigoshe area and Turtle Mountains are excellent for all winter activities.

Click here for Snowmobile North Dakota's interactive trail map