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Best South Dakota State Parks to Visit in the Winter


Best South Dakota State Parks to Visit in the Winter

Hillcross Snowmobile Races on Terry Peak - photo by Ginger A. Baker, blackhillsexplorer.com

The Top Choices Offer Snowmobiling, Winter Camping, and Ice Fishing.

The following information was provided by Doug Hofer, Director of South Dakota Parks and Recreation.

To help me make my selections, I decided to look at which parks offer the greatest diversity in activities and opportunities. There are two key factors I considered. The first being recreational opportunities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. The second are special events which allow people to experience the unique opportunities of winter camping in South Dakota state parks. Using this criteria, I have selected the following three locations as South Dakota's "best" winter parks:

Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System

One of the nation's most popular snowmobile trail systems among avid riders is the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System. More than 4,000 square miles of snow and a top-rated trail system makes the Black Hills a premier destination for many snowmobile riders. The 350-mile trail system combines groomed trails, beautiful pine forests and deep powder. Concessions including food, lodging and snowmobile rentals are located along the trails. The trail system is consistently rated one of the best by both snowmobile enthusiasts and magazines. SnoWest Magazine has rated the Black Hills snowmobile trail system one of the top 15 trails in the West for the last 3 years.

Newton Hills State Park

Park has an abundance of open meadows and forested hills. Newton Hills recreational trails are groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Skiers and snowshoers can commune with nature in the winter and view a variety of wildlife while working their way along the trails. Visitors to Newton Hills State Park can also enjoy bird watching from the park's viewing tower. Park offers winter campers their choice of 125 campsites and three heated camping cabins.

Oakwood Lakes State Park

For a unique winter camping experience coupled with fun and exciting winter activities, Oakwood Lakes State Park is an excellent choice. Oakwood Lakes has 2.6 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails with a warming house for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Eight glacial lakes surround the park and provide anglers with an abundance of frozen waters for ice fishing. Oakwood Lakes is well known for its winter time special events and is home to the Frozen Foot Rendezvous, Ground Hog Day Ski Race, Barneloppet Children's Ski Run and Kool Kids Ice Fishing Derby. Winter camping enthusiasts may choose to set up camp on one of 69 campsites or stay in one of the park's heated camping cabins.

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