Rochester MN Guide to Outdoor Winter Sports

rochester mn winter sports

If you’re looking for creative ways to truly experience a Rochester, MN winter, look no further. We have a guide packed with places to snowshoe, cross country ski, sled, ski or play outdoor hockey. Luckily, the Rochester, MN area allows for quite a few months for area residents and visitors to truly explore and spend time playing in the frozen wonderland! **This post last updated on November 10th, 2021**



New to snowshoeing? Rochester MN and Olmsted County has multiple trails available for you to complete on your bucket list. Snowshoeing is typically more strenuous than hiking, and is a great aerobic workout! The Rochester Parks & Recreation department maintains groomed ski trails. Snowshoe equipment rental is available at Quarry Hill Nature Center. the Nature Center at 328-3950 for ski rental hours and rates. If you’re looking to get outside of town a few miles, yet stay in Olmsted County, make sure to check out Oxbow Park, Chester Woods Park, and Root River Park.


Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain. The Rochester Parks & Recreation department maintains groomed trails. Ski equipment rental is available at Quarry Hill Nature Center.  Call the Nature Center at 328-3950 for ski rental hours and rates. If you’re looking to get outside of town a few miles, yet stay in Olmsted County, make sure to check out Oxbow Park’s cross-country ski trail.




Current Trail Conditions: Trail conditions are updated on Quarry Hill’s Facebook page regularly. Check here for up to date information.
How it works:
  • Equipment must be reserved in advance using the Quarry Hill online booking system.
  • Quarry Hill staff evaluate trail conditions weekly to determine if weekend rentals will be available.
  • Choose from a 4 hour rental or overnight. Pick up times are: 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 12:00, 12:30 & 1:00.
  • Reservations for the upcoming weekend will open at 12:00 noon on Wednesday. Same day rentals will close at 8 am.
  • Plan your route. Ski-only and multi-use groomed trails are available. Click here for a map.
  • 4 hour Ski Rental: Adult $15, Child $10
  • Overnight Ski Rental: Adult $25, Child $20
  • 4 hour Snowshoe Rental: Adult/Child: $10
  • Overnight Snowshoe Rental: Adult/Child: $20

Reservations HERE                   Trail Map HERE

Sledding and Tubing

There are two fabulous sledding hills in Rochester MN. It’s a blast to get outside to enjoy fresh air while burning off energy with your kids. Check out our Rochester MN Guide to Sledding and Tubing Hills for all the details!

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a traditional Minnesota past time…no really! And it can be so much fun. For many, ice fishing is about the memories made, or the fun had, the good food eaten (lots of snacks!), not to mention the sense of accomplishment you get when you catch a fish. Ice fishing does take a bit of pre-planning.  For all the information details be sure to check out our Rochester MN Quickstart Guide to Ice Fishing.

Skiing & Snowboarding

If you’re looking for adventure in bright white snow, then skiing or snowboarding may give you a thrill with your friends or family. Can’t decide between downhill skiing or snowboarding? No problem, both are available within a short driving distance from Rochester MN


Outdoor Hockey

In the “State of Hockey,” we in Rochester, MN are lucky to have 8 outdoor hockey rinks scattered throughout the city. Many of which have warming houses and lights, to boot (closed for 20-21 due to Covid)! So gather up your friends, neighbors or family to have a friendly hockey competition on the outdoor rinks. It’s sure to be a grand time and provide loads of memories. Don’t forget to check out our Guide to Ice Skating in Rochester, MN for complete information!


Outdoor Ice Rinks – No Hockey

For those of you who are looking for a little less competition, yet still time on the ice, make sure to stop by the one outdoor rink that does not allow hockey. Family and friends can gather here to enjoy the fresh winter air on the smooth ice!



Rochester Curling Club

Founded in 2017, the is a volunteer organization devoted to bringing back the sport of curling to the city! The club has created numerous classes, leagues, bonspiels, and social gatherings to add hype to the popular pastime. This all-inclusive sport comes with a culture all its own. Come experience competition brewed with kindness and sportsmanship and equality in one of the various curling opportunities in our great city!

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Rochester Mom is written by and for moms who live in the Rochester MN area. We strive to connect local moms by sharing personal experiences, fun ideas and useful information as well as promoting local businesses and seeking to connect moms both on and offline.