Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Candlelight events begin at Minnesota state parks and trails

Candlelight events begin at Minnesota state parks and trails

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Candlelight events begin at Minnesota state parks and trails

Care to see winter soften before your very eyes? Candlelight has that effect. Each year staff at Minnesota state parks and trails place lanterns, candles and other luminaries along short trails and invite the public in for a candle-lit walk.

In some cases, visitors can also snowshoe or cross-country ski over a trail glowing with soft light. The evening wraps up with a steaming cup of cocoa or cider near a crackling bonfire.

More than 30 candlelight events are scheduled at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, starting on Saturday, Dec. 30, at Zippel Bay State Park on the Canadian border and continuing through the end of February. The three candlelight events taking place closest to the Twin Cities include:

  • 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Afton State Park in Hastings.
  • 4:30-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at William O’Brien State Park near Stillwater.

Other candlelight events are scattered throughout the state, offering a variety of terrain and scenery. For the complete schedule—including dates, times and other details—visit www.mndnr.gov/candlelight. Some are listed here:

01/13/18

Blue Mounds State Park

Candlelight Hike

01/20/18

Lake Bronson State Park

Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe

01/20/18

Lake Bemidji State Park

Candlelight Ski

01/20/18

St. Croix State Park

Candlelight Event

01/20/18

Split Rock Creek State Park

Candlelight Hike

01/26/18

Gateway State Trail

Gateway Candlelight Walk

01/27/18

Itasca State Park

Lantern Lit Snowshoe and Ski Event

01/27/18

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Candlelight Ski & Snowshoe

01/27/18

Minneopa State Park

Winter Fest

01/27/18

Lake Carlos State Park

Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe

01/27/18

Hayes Lake State Park

Candlelight Snowshoe

01/27/18

Buffalo River State Park

Candlelight Event

01/27/18

Itasca State Park

Itasca’s Music Under the Pines: Lori Goulet Reich

01/27/18

Frontenac State Park

Frontenac Candlelight Ski/Snowshoe/Hike

01/27/18

Rice Lake State Park

Candlelight Event

02/03/18

Lake Maria State Park

Candlelight Hike

02/03/18

Zippel Bay State Park

Candlelight Ski/Snowshoe/Hike

02/03/18

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Candlelight Snowshoe and Hike Event

02/03/18

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Candlelight Event

02/03/18

Afton State Park

Afton Candlelight Hike

02/03/18

William O’Brien State Park

Candlight Walk Along the St. Croix River

02/03/18

Root River State Trail – Whalen

Whalan Candlelight Ski

02/10/18

Glendalough State Park

Candlelight Ski

02/10/18

Sakatah Lake State Park

Candlelight Hike

02/10/18

Hayes Lake State Park

Candlelight Snowshoe

02/10/18

Jay Cooke State Park

Candlelight Ski, Hike and Snowshoe Event – CANCELLED

02/10/18

Lake Bemidji State Park

Candlelight Snowshoe

02/10/18

Wild River State Park

Candlelight Night Ski Snowshoe and Hike

02/17/18

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park Candlelight Event

02/24/18

Itasca State Park

Itasca’s Lantern Lit Snowshoe Event along Schoolcraft Trail

02/24/18

Lake Carlos State Park

Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe

02/24/18

Lake Bronson State Park

Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe

02/24/18

Itasca State Park

Itasca’s Music Under the Pines: Julie and Bill Kaiser

02/24/18

Maplewood State Park

Canlelight Event

“Candlelight brings out winter’s soft side,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “The flickering light against snow creates an unforgettable experience. An evening walk becomes so much more on a candle-lit trail aided by light from stars and a full moon.”

Snowshoes and skis can be rented or checked out at some parks. Call in advance to confirm the availability of equipment and to reserve what you will need.

The candlelight events are free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter a state park ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a vehicle permit can purchase one at the park on the night of the event, but getting one online in advance will save time.

Skiers age 16 and older also need the Great Minnesota Ski Pass to participate in the candle-lit ski events. The ski pass ($6/one-day pass, $20/single-season pass, and $55/three-season pass) allows access to hundreds of miles of trails in state parks, state forests, city parks and other public lands throughout Minnesota (visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing/skipass/list.html for a complete list and map).

Note that events may be changed or canceled due to weather. For information on cancellations, call the park office phone number listed on the park website or send an email to info.dnr@state.mn.us.

For more ideas on what to do at state parks this winter, pick up a copy of the new winter Programs and Events brochure at the nearest state park or request one from the DNR Information Center.

Online resources include the “Winter Activities Guide” page at www.mndnr.gov/winterguide and the calendar of events at www.mndnr.gov/parks.

For more information, email info.dnr@state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.