Winter Sports

Choose from the following to find a site: Snowshoes leaning up against a dock


Winter on the Chippewa is a truly special time of year. From the fresh blankets of snow covering the trails to clear nights made for stargazing, winter is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the Forest.

Ice Fishing

When the temperatures get cold, the ice fishing heats up on the Chippewa National Forest. The Forest is a premier Minnesota ice fishing destination with 1,300 lakes on the Forest. This includes three of Minnesota's largest lakes, Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish and Cass Lake.

A line dropped into the hole in the ice and the fish pulled back through the hole, whether trying to catch pan fish, perch, walleye, or northern pike, nothing better than ice fishing on the Chippewa. On a nice day, a fisherman can brave the elements perched on a bucket on the ice or choose a warm ice house. Important tips for ice fishing are to remember no ice is 100 percent safe and be prepared with a survival plan.


The Chippewa National Forest becomes a land of unexplored adventures under a blanket of snow. More than 380 miles of motorized trails provide snowmobile access to 1,300 lakes, scenic woodlands and frozen wetlands. Trails connect to nearly 200 miles of routes beyond the Forest. Snowmobilers may also travel on unplowed national forest roads unless posted closed to recreational motor vehicle use.  A motor vehicle use map is available online and at all Forest offices to help navigate winter adventures.

The Soo Line North trail, is an old railroad that travels for 148 miles through forest and bog between Moose Lake, Minn., in the south and Cass Lake, Minn., in the north. Soo Line North Trail also connects with the 114-mile Soo Line South Trail at Moose Lake.

Skiing and Snowshoeing

The sound of skis gliding through the trees across new snow and the scent of balsam while rushing down hills are some of what visitors will experience skiing on the Chippewa National Forest. There are more than 298 miles of non-motorized trails on Forest that are perfect for skiing and snow shoeing. Some cross-country trails may require a ski pass.

Skiers are advised to inquire at national forest offices about local conditions and to bring area maps, drinking water, warm emergency clothing, and high calorie snacks. These trails give skiers a sense of the diversity of the Forest, whether in the birches of Suomi Hills or hilltops and wetlands of Shingobee. Check the weather and be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.