Staying Active in Winter
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
From outdoor fun like sledding, skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing to indoor activities like pickle ball, fitness classes, open gym and swim, and, of course, a hot drink to warm up with, there is no shortage of things to do in winter around here! Read on to find out more.
1. Sledding Hills
Peterson Park The terraces at Peterson Park in the middle of town next to Cokato Elementary are fun for any age. On a nice day, you're likely to see sledders there any day of the week after school and on the weekend. Google Maps
Collinwood County Park The hill at Collinwood, just south of the trailhead, is larger than the hill at Peterson Park, but still good for little (and big) kids. This hill is often groomed with the same equipment used to groom the XC ski trails. Google Maps
Highland Hill For serious sledders, this one's a doozie! The top of the hill starts off of County Road 7, north of Howard Lake and just south of Bill Anderson Memorial County Park, and falls down toward a wetland. As it's very steep, the hill is sometimes closed during icy conditions. Google Maps
Darwin-Dassel County Park Otherwise known as "the Darwin Hill," the hill here offers some very fun sledding along with spectacular views from the top. It is a good climb to get up and a fast and fun ride down. There are stairs along one side of the hill, and there are many options from where you can take off on your sled. Located on the north side of Hwy 12 mid-way between Dassel and Darwin. Google Maps
2. Mooers Park Ice Rink and Warming House
The Ice Rink at Mooers Park is a popular spot during the winter with regular hours for skating and hockey. There are actually 2 hockey rinks with boards and 1 ice skating rink. The start of the season is weather-dependent and will be announced on the Connect with Cokato Facebook page when the ice is ready. The hours will be (depending on attendant availability):
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 5 - 9PM
Tues: Hockey Program
Sat: Hockey program in the AM, Open 12 - 10PM
Sun: 1PM – 9PM
A flag will be up on top of the warming house when it's open. The rink will be closed during subzero and very extreme weather.
3. XC Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Hiking
Collinwood You'll have different loops to choose from on 5 miles of scenic trail through the woods, snow-covered grassland, marsh, and along the lake. The trail is groomed for both skate and classic skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Google Maps
Cokato Golf Course Trails will be groomed for xc skiing, snowshoeing, and walking on the rolling hills of the snow-covered course. And, you have the option of warming up with a delicious, hot drink from The Grounds coffee shop after. Google Maps
Dassel-Darwin County Park This park offers various loops along 6.5 miles of trail open for xc skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Google Maps
Stanley Eddy Memorial Park Reserve This 879 acre park is located just north of French Lake Township and offers scenic rolling hills, lakes, and marshes. The North Unit has 4 miles of snowshoe and hiking trail, and the South Unit has 3.5 miles of xc ski and hiking trail. Google Maps
Woodland Park Located 4.3 miles north of Dassel and just south of 273rd St on Hwy 15, this is a lesser known yet beautiful park with 1.5 miles of groomed xc ski trail and 3 miles of trail for hiking. The park is mostly wooded with rolling terrain and two deep ponds. Google Maps
Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve A little further away in Maple Lake, but worth the drive, especially if you're in need of renting a pair of xc skis or snowshoes. Rentals are available 12-4p Saturdays and Sundays at the nature center from January through the first part of March. Google Maps
XC Skiing through Dassel-Cokato Community Education D-C Community Education will be offering xc skiing at Collinwood Park for middle school age and up Saturdays, Feb 12th and 19th 9-10:15am. Equipment will be provided (if needed), and a qualified instructor will be there to offer instruction and tips as needed. Space is limited, so sign up early! Registration
4. D-C Community Education
Along with xc skiing, many other activities are offered through D-C Community Education, including Hall Walking at the High School and Middle School, Lap Swimming and Aquacise, Pickleball, Yoga, Clogging, and Open Gym. For more information on these offerings and more, check out the D-C Community Education page here.
5. Ice Fishing
You'll find public access for ice fishing at three beautiful lakes in the Cokato area. At Brooks Lake, the access is located at Veterans Memorial Park. You can access Collinwood Lake via Collinwood County Park, and for Cokato Lake, you'll find the access next to the Cokato Lake RV Resort on County Road 4. See the Parks, Lakes, and Trails page (scroll to the bottom) for a map of lakes in Cokato. Fishing licenses are available at Cokato Licensing and Jack's gas station on the west side of town off of Hwy 12, where you can also buy bait. For guidelines on ice safety, see this MN DNR Ice Safety page.
Cokato, in conjunction with nearby towns, has a snowmobile club, called the Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club. Members perform trail maintenance, groom local trails, have a youth training class, a radar run and plan snowmobiling trips. For more information, see the Ridge Runners' website here. The Wright County Snowmobile Association also provides a map of trails in Wright County here.
7. Fitness Classes
The local gym, MNFitness 24/7, offers a variety of fitness classes with different focuses such as weight training, total body workout, getting your heart rate up, and workouts designed for seniors. The gym is located in the Cokato Mall in town, and for those interested in joining, there will be no dues for the first month in January.
8. Winter Hydration and Warming Up
This one isn't so much about being active, but it's something you can do after you've been active :) There are many places to grab a drink, hot or cold, to help you rehydrate or warm up after a good workout and/or time outside. Grab a hot chocolate, milk, tea, or coffee with flavor of your choosing at The Grounds. You can also find a hot cup o' Joe at Broadway B's and The Marketplace. The Iron Horse offers some tasty hot winter drinks, and you'll find some delicious cold drinks at Charged Up Nutrition as well. See our Food & Drink page for more info on any of these Cokato businesses and more.