Photo of a person hiking on the ice during winter carrying a backpack with a little dog in it at Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort

5 Things To Do During Winter in Brainerd

Sure, the winter season can give us cabin fever. The best way to ward off the winter blues is to get outdoors! Here are 5 things to do during the winter season in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Family smiling outside ready to go sking on a sunny winter day at Grand View Lodge copy
Photo Courtesy Grand View Lodge

1. Mount Ski Gull

While you’re vacationing here, head out to Mount Ski Gull for a fun day. With hills for all level of skiers, you’re sure to enjoy hitting the slopes. If you like the adrenaline of jumps and rails, hit the terrain park. Rushing and spinning down the 500 ft. tubing hills will be a thrill that will have your whole family laughing.

Lift tickets, rentals, and tubing must be purchased ahead of time online, then redeemed at the ticket window on-site. Mount Ski Gull updates its website and Facebook page regularly with conditions and hill information. 

Photo of a fat tire bike on a frozen lake covered in snow with pine trees in the background on a sunny winter day

2. Fat Tire Biking in Cuyuna Lakes

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is a bucket list destination for mountain bikers, and you’ll want to add it to your winter activities. The Cuyuna trails are open in the winter for fat tire biking, and it’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the elements. Winter brings a quietness that make it excellent time to ride. You’ll find beginner to more advanced single track trails. There are also trails for snowshoeing and ungroomed cross country skiing.

Photo of a person hiking on the ice during winter carrying a backpack with a little dog in it at Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort
Photo Courtesy Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge

3. Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

The Brainerd Lakes Area makes it easy for you to enjoy the woods. Trekking through the woods on skis or snowshoes is a peaceful way to connect with nature. Trails are groomed regularly during winter months. You can find directions to trails, trail information and maps on the Crow Wing county’s website. The Northland Arboretum, which is within the Brainerd/Baxter city limits has 12 miles of trails with nearly 5 km lighted for evening skiing.

The Crosslake Community Center is at the trailhead for the Nordic Ridge Recreation Area, which also has miles of cross country ski trails.

The Crow Wing State Park would be a great place to snowshoe, especially the beautiful trails that follow the Mississippi River.

You can snowshoe on the trails around the Paul Thiede Fire Tower Park just outside of Pequot Lakes.

Easy Riders rents snowshoes and cross country skis.

960x640 Photo of two people snowmobiling on a trail in the woods on a bright winter day
Photo Courtesy Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake

4. Snowmobiling

For snow enthusiasts waiting for the first rideable snow—plan your riding adventure to the Brainerd Lakes! You’ll love ripping the miles of trails, and you don’t even need your own snowmobile! Several area businesses rent snowmobiles if you’re looking for a fun experience. Spend the day riding and stop in at local establishments to warm up and grab a bite to eat!

Photo of an Ice Castle Fishouse on the ice at sunset at Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort
Photo Courtesy Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge

5. Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a family activity for all ages! From Gull to Pelican and the Whitefish Chain, you likely will find good luck (and a few stories) when fishing for walleye and panfish. Evening fishing tends to bring the bite and a beautiful sunset, too!

Be sure to check conditions at a local bait shop like S&W Bait, local gas stations, and with your lodging property. They’ll be able to give good insight on the current ice conditions and perhaps a few fishing tips, too.

Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake, Boats and Beyond, Minnesota Recreational Rentals, and Pelican Lake Fish House Rentals and Guide Service rents ice fishing houses if you’re interested in fishing and having shelter from the weather.



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