Winter in North Dakota: Embrace the Change
Embrace the many outdoor winter adventure opportunities
Winter is a beautiful time to enjoy North Dakota. It won’t last long, so take advantage of these North Dakota adventures while you can!
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.
Star Light, Star Bright, a Million Stars I See Tonight: North Dakota is among the best places to see the sights in the celestial heavens – northern lights included. Find a dark place, not hard in the countryside, then look to the skies and watch. On a clear night, millions of stars will twinkle and the northern lights will often dance across the horizon.
Nature's Wonders: North Dakota can be visually stunning in the winter. Look for sundogs, ice circles on rivers and beautiful silhouettes created by hoarfrost.
Open-Water Fishing: Wait. What? Despite below-zero weather, open-water fishing is available year-round at Nelson Lake near Center and the Missouri Tailrace at Garrison Dam.
Ice Fishing: When rivers and lakes throughout North Dakota ice over, avid anglers drill a hole and keep on fishing. Darkhouse spearfishing is just what the name implies.
Ice Fishing Devils Lake: Can 33,000 anglers be wrong? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of room on this big lake, one of the top fisheries in the nation. Spend a day on the ice with a guide or by yourself. Catch your limit then do it again tomorrow.
Lehr It Is!: It figures that a town centered in a land of small lakes would be surrounded by fish. Pothole lakes are stocked full of walleye, northern pike and perch. No need to crowd around, there are enough hotspots and comfortable lodging to accommodate everyone.
Snowboard Huff Hills: Get gnarly on the bluffs above the Missouri River. Ramps, kickers, rail, barrels and even stump jumping await on the terrain park.
Cross-Country Skiing at Cross Ranch State Park: This park is built for cross-country skiing with trails winding through the woods and along the riverbank. Deer watching intently and the cozy warmth of a yurt will complete an unforgettable day.
Ski Frost Fire: The downhill ski and snowboard area in the Pembina Gorge near Walhalla installed new lifts and is open again for skiing. Schuss or weave to your heart’s content before going inside to eat and warm up by the fireplace in the lodge. (**Due to major malfunctions with the current snowmaking system Frost Fire Park WILL BE CLOSED for skiing and snowboarding during the 2022-2023 winter season.**)
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.
Hiking: With thousands of miles of trails to explore the breathtaking scenery, winter is an exciting time to grab some boots or a fat tire bike and get outside and explore the 13 Fantastic Trails that range in levels of difficulty throughout the state.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail: A pair of snowshoes adds an interesting twist to a day hike in the Badlands. Strap on a pair to follow the trail up and down over buttes and through draws, stopping often to take in the scenery.
Igloo Dining | Fargo and Mandan
Embrace the colder temps and enjoy unique dining experiences in Fargo and Mandan. Crave, an American kitchen and sushi bar in The District at West Acres Mall offers heated igloos for up to six people. Enjoy a glammed-up ski lodge-inspired snow hut at Rosewild’s Ice House Chalets in downtown Fargo featuring fur décor, twinkle lights, and, of course, a heater to maximize comfort for up to six guests. 701 Eateries also has a cozy rooftop dining experience featuring igloos. Their igloos are not insulated so wear warm clothes, boots, hats & mittens. The Polar Trap in Mandan provides a unique winter dining experience with a view of the beautiful Missouri River from inside their cozy and heated igloos.
More Outdoor Fun
Snowmobile the Turtle Mountains: The Turtle Mountains area along the Canadian Border is a premier snowmobile destination, with consistent snow and 177 miles of trails in a woodland unique to North Dakota. The trail system links up with the Canadian trail system at the International Peace Garden.
Make it a Skate Date: Town Square Park in downtown Grand Forks is flooded every winter to make a skating rink - it is, after all, Grand Forks. Glide around with friends or family, then slide over to one of the city’s quaint coffee shops, pubs or eateries. Skaters also have a home among hikers and skiers at Icelandic State Park near Cavalier as the park added a skating rink to its winter offerings.