Winter fun in Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Trails

Don’t let cold weather stop you from venturing outside this winter. Bundle up the entire family in mittens, wool hats and cozy scarves and head straight into the great outdoors.

Winter - Cadiz Springs
Frosty temperatures during the winter do not need to keep kids indoors. Instead, it’s time to have some fun, combat children’s disinterest, and teach them healthy leisure patterns that will last a lifetime.  Get out as a family and hike.  Check the state parks outdoor schedule for activities and events.  Many of them hold ski events and hikes along with other programs during the winter months.  http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/

Get outdoors with some idea of an activity, even if it's as simple as a brisk walk around the campground. Play tag, throw the ball, chase the dog (he needs exercise too). Snow, of course, provides all sorts of automatic activities: sledding, snow angels, snow men, snow ball fights, and so on.

  • Take advantage of the trees that lose their leaves in the winter; countess nests and holes where animals may live are finally visible.
  • On your walk, look for animal tracks or scat in the mud or snow.
  • Make a point to get outside in the early evening to view the starry skies and beautiful moons; look for your moon shadows and take notice of the lunar changes that occur.
Keep an eye on body temperature, especially exposed skin on the faces and extremities. Stop for a warm-up break as often as needed, and remember that a little goes a long way for outdoor play in winter: your kids' bodies are working hard to keep up a warm temperature, so active play of 20 minutes in winter might be plenty to expend that extra energy.



The snowy season is no longer a time to stop camping. The season continues to be popular the Wisconsin state park system. With 664 miles of trails to explore, cross-country skiing is the most popular winter sport in the state parks. Imagine a mini-vacation without bugs, crowds, and coolers. It’s all right here in Wisconsin with winter activities at more than 30 state parks, forests or recreational areas.

Off-season camping can be an exciting time to enjoy the great outdoors. It is also a time that may require additional or special equipment, as well as careful planning. It is recommend that all campers interested in this type of experience do some research prior to making off-season camping plans.

James Bishop, DNR Public Affairs Officer for the Northern Region and avid winter camper, said “Winter camping, whether in a campground or remote wilderness at minus 20 below zero or 30 degrees above, can be fun, but only with the right preparation and gear.” There are many websites that provide equipment lists, cautions and helpful tips for the winter experience. (Link to Northalnd Outdoors.com)

The Wisconsin Department of Resources have compiled a list campgrounds open for winter camping. (List)

Send us your winter activities photos.  Click here