Theodore Wirth Park is one of the greatest gems in a city nationally recognized for its great parks. A whopping 759 acres, it’s been a hub for outdoor recreation in the area since the late 1800s. Interestingly, the park marks the 45-degree latitude line, placing it exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. As such, there are a myriad of weather conditions one encounters throughout the year at Theodore Wirth, which is fully embraced by the droves of locals who visit year-round.
Since this is the time of year we can see everything from 70-degree days to blizzard-like winter conditions, we wanted to round-up some of the best pre- and post-snow activities that can be enjoyed at the park. Before you head out, be sure to check the weather and grab the right gear.
Before the Snow
Trail Running: With miles of grassy trails and technical singletrack to navigate, Theodore Wirth is a great park to explore on foot. Undulating terrain and some giant hills will keep your heart pumping as you put in your miles. Situated right in the city, this is a great way to get some fresh air without traveling far.
Mountain Biking: The singletrack trails within Theodore Wirth are maintained by the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, who do a phenomenal job with upkeep. There are around 5 miles of singletrack, about a half mile of which is expert level trail, making it a great option for mountain bikers of every skill level.
Disc golf: In addition to a traditional golf course, Theodore Wirth offers an 18-hole disc golf course. This is the perfect way to experience the park in a laid back setting with a group of friends.
Fishing: The 40-acre Wirth Lake features a pier on the east side, along with plenty of shoreline spots ideal for fishing. The most abundant fish in the lake include Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Yellow Perch, and Northern Pike among others.
After the Snow
Nordic Skiing: Theodore Wirth is one of the best places in the city to go cross-country skiing. A veritable winter wonderland, the park features 15 miles of groomed trails for both classical and skate-style skiing when conditions allow. What’s more, the trails connect to the Chain of Lakes, allowing you to add on even more mileage. If this is your thing, be sure to sign up for the City of Lakes Loppet, the urban cross-country ski race and festival on Feb. 5-7.
Fat Biking: Available on many of the same trails you may have mountain biked on in the summer and fall, Theodore Wirth park has fully embraced the fat biking phenomenon. This allows enthusiasts to enjoy the ice-laden terrain of the park that was once hard to reach in the winter months.
Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is perhaps the best way to get off the beaten path at Theodore Wirth. With the leaves gone for the season, winter conditions allow for a unique adventure in the woods over ice and snow. What’s more, if you’re interested in an educational experience, you can sign up for a naturalist-led snowshoe hike through the park.
Snowboarding: The first snowboarding area in Minneapolis, Theodore Wirth features relatively easy terrain that makes for a great venue for beginners. For more advanced riders, there is a straight rail, rainbow rail, battleship box, and up/down rails among other amenities. Both season passes and instructor-led lessons are available each winter.