A Little Time and a Keyboard: Favorite Places to Snowshoe in the Midwest

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Favorite Places to Snowshoe in the Midwest

Favorite Places to Snowshoe in the Midwest

Strap on those Snowshoes and Wander these Fantastic Midwest Trails Suggested by Midwest Travel Writers!

Winter wonderland in the Midwest affords an opportunity to experience our treasured natural spaces under a coat of glittery snow treating us to some truly breathtaking views! Snowshoeing provides for a fun yet energetic way to traverse stretches of powdery, drifting snow through stunning Midwest preserves in search of magical winter views. A popular wintertime activity throughout the Midwest, I checked with my fellow Midwest travel writers for ideas on favorite snowshoeing locations throughout the region. Here are some incredible suggestions if you are looking for a new snowshoeing experience:

Iowa's Hitchcock Nature Center 

Kim Reiner, author of Oh My Omaha blog and the book Lost Restaurants of Omaha, loves snowshoeing at the Hitchcock Nature Center located in the Loess Hills of southwest Iowa. She details why you should check out Hitchcock Nature Center for snowshoeing:

"Hitchcock Nature Center is a beautiful winter destination tucked in the Loess Hills of western Iowa. Miles of trails, ranging from easy to moderate, are accessible by snowshoe. The visitor's center -- a great place to visit any time of year - rents out snowshoes at an affordable price for children and adults."

Kim and her family snowshoeing through the winter wonderland of Hitchcock Nature Center. Image credit Kim Reiner.
Kim and her family snowshoeing through the winter wonderland of Hitchcock Nature Center. Image credit Kim Reiner.

Snowshoeing in Northwest Iowa

Dan Cline, author and blogger at The Country Pilgrim focusing on incredible discoveries in rural America not only in the Midwest but beyond, suggests stretching those snowshoed legs on a variety of trails in Northwest Iowa. Take a peek at Cline's recommendations:

"Snowshoeing in Iowa can be found in all corners of the state, but in the N.W. corner a mixture of rivers and woods carved out in the heart of glacier country – leaves plenty of scenic snowshoeing opportunity.

Dickinson County – Kenue Park outside Spirit Lake, Iowa offers 70-acres to snowshoe and inherited the name “the oak savanna” due to the amount of oak trees. The nature center offers a snowshoe check out for guests that don’t have equipment.

Horseshoe Bend – South of Milford, IA offers additional snowshoeing opportunity outside their tubing hill area.

Clay County – There is a hidden gem in the town of Spencer, Iowa, and running along the Little Sioux River sits Oneota County Park. Miles of snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails are available.

O’Brien County – One of the best kept secrets in the area is The Prairie Heritage Center along the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway. The center offers a variety of different trails and programs to support outdoor activity. Past programs have included making your own snowshoes!"

Dan Cline and his wife snowshoeing through snow covered landscapes of Iowa. Image credit Dan Cline.
Dan Cline and his wife snowshoeing through snow covered landscapes of Iowa.
Image credit Dan Cline.


Minnesota's Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Jenn Singer, author and blogger at DayTripper focusing on daytrips in and around Minnesota suggests strapping on those snowshoes to explore Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota not too far from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Of this natural treasure, Singer details:

"With most parks transitioning their trails to cross country ski trails in the winter, it’s refreshing to see that Lebanon Hills Regional Park leaves half the trails reserved for hikers and snowshoers. The extensive trails system in loops around the many ponds and lakes hidden back in its woods. These woods make it idea for those looking to snowshoe winter. The park rents out snowshoes to visitors and REI even holds events at the park teaching families the art of snowshoeing. It’s a fun activity that everyone can take park in. The parks visitors center is always bustling with people leaving for adventures. Make sure to get out to the park a few days after the fresh snow to fully take advantage of the parks trail. When you are done, warm up at one of the fire ring or grab your sled and take a few trips down the hill."

Snow dusted trails at Lebanon Hills Regional Park beckon snowshoers towards a winter wonderland. Image credit Jenn Singer.
Snow dusted trails at Lebanon Hills Regional Park beckon snowshoers towards a winter wonderland. Image credit Jenn Singer.

Wandering in a Snow Globe at Morton Arboretum in Illinois

Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois presents fantastic and varied options for snowshoeing. With a range of trails through varying assembles of arbors, each offers unique perspective. While we wandered the trails of Morton Arboretum as snow fell, we truly felt like we were walking inside a snow globe. The Morton Arboretum does offer snowshoes for rent, making snowshoeing on trails lined with snow dusted evergreens easy! Additionally, the lakes and ponds at Morton Arboretum are particularly heavenly when frozen and framed with snow, so don't miss them. Morton Arboretum is certainly one of my favorite nature havens to wander in all seasons!

Snowshoeing in a snow globe at Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois.
Snowshoeing in a snow globe at Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois.

Tip: Some preserves require four inches of snow on the ground in order to snowshoe, so check with the preserve before heading out.

Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington, Illinois 


The Forest Preserves of Cook County provide miles and miles of trails through various landscapes and ecosystems. Several of the forest preserves offer snowshoes to rent including one of my favorites, Crabtree Nature Center! Trails at Crabtree Nature Center present spectacular views of a lake in all seasons. Rambling through prairie and woodland, canopies of snow sugared trees enticed us after a recent snowfall. The trails at Crabtree are fairly easy to navigate and perfect for any adventurer whether you have snowshoed before or this is your first adventure.

A glistening white canopy adds to a fantastic winter adventure at Crabtree Nature Center.
A glistening white canopy adds to a fantastic winter adventure at Crabtree Nature Center.

Wisconsin's National Ice Age Trail

Lori Helke, author of the Beatrice the Little Camper series and the Lori Loves Paris blog suggests snowshoeing along Wisconsin's National Ice Age Trail. She explains:

"With nearly 1200 miles of trail open year-round, Wisconsin's National Ice Age Trail is an enormous draw for snowshoe enthusiasts. No matter what your abilities are, there is a segment of the trail for everyone.  I prefer the Point Beach State Park Segment for its flat terrain of the trail. If you are up for a challenge, you might want to try the hilly 4.6 mile Whitewater Lake Segment or the 2.3 mile Walla Hi Segment. The Ice Age Trail Alliance suggests the best time to hit the trail with the snowshoes is right after a fresh snowfall. Hungry and thirsty after your time on the trail? I suggest visiting one of ten official trail communities for a bite to eat."

Wisconsin's National Ice Trail entices snowshoers to explore a range of landscapes. Image credit Lori Helke.
Wisconsin's National Ice Trail entices snowshoers to explore a range of landscapes.
Image credit Lori Helke.



Michigan's Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park 

Nedra McDaniel, author and blogger at Adventure Mom sharing incredible travel adventures in the Midwest and beyond, suggests snowshoeing at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.

At Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, a variety of snowshoe trails ranging in length invite adventurers to wander through a glistening snow drenched landscape. Several of the trails afford magical views of Lake Michigan. Nedra notes that on one trail, you may even see some brave winter campers! Snowshoe rental makes the marvelous adventure even easier. Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park fascinates with a plethora of winter fun, so plan on engaging in more activities than snowshoeing including luge and ice skating on natural ice or even an ice trail.

Snowshoe trails at Muskegon Luge Adventure Park afford a variety of experiences including views of Lake Michigan. Image credit Nedra McDaniel.
Snowshoe trails at Muskegon Luge Adventure Park afford a variety of experiences including views of Lake Michigan. Image credit Nedra McDaniel.



All of us love hearing about new trails. Where are you snowshoeing this winter? Winter is a fantastic time for a unique adventure and to experience nature in new ways!

Favorite Places to Snowshoe in the Midwest: Suggestions by Midwest Travel Experts


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