During the next two months or so no one really gets out as much. I saw from one of our local businesses in Rochester, MN (it may have been Little Thistle) that their lowest amount of traffic is in January and February. It makes sense, but it's important to get out sometimes. Of course, to support businesses but to also get outside in general, it's good for our mental and physical health. So now is the perfect time for the Minnesota DNR to launch their candlelit hikes across the state.

I've been to one of these before, I believe, and it's so nice and peaceful, even with all of the people there. Wintertime just makes for a quite atmosphere, then you add that it's dark out and there are beautiful glowing candles all along the trail. It's a great experience that I'd highly recommend.

Minnesota State Parks Candlelit Hikes

These candlelit hikes are taking place on the last two Saturdays of January and the first three Saturdays of February. There are multiple parks offering the candlelit hike on the same day so chose whichever one is best for you.

All of the trails are for hiking but some of the parks are offering snowshoeing or even candlelit cross-country skiing if that's more your vibe. It's free to check out the trail but you do need a state park parking pass for your vehicle and if you're skiing on a maintained ski trail, you'll need a ski pass.

Lake Bemidji State Park
Deborah Rose, Minnesota DNR

Heads up, the candlelit hikes may be changed or canceled. For example, if there's not enough snow the hiking option may still be available but skiing won't be.

Candlelit Hikes in SE Minnesota

There are a few that are near us here in Rochester. Here are the ones within an hour of us:

Saturday, January 28th - Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand (hiking, snowshoeing, skiing)

Saturday, February 4th - Frontenac State Park, Frontenac (hiking or skiing)

Saturday, February 4th - Rice Lake State Park, Owatonna (hiking, snowshoeing, skiing)

Saturday, February 11th - Forestville Mystery Cave State Park, Preston (hiking or snowshoeing)

Saturday, February 18th - Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea (hiking or snowshoeing)

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR
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All Scheduled Minnesota State Park Candlelit Hikes for 2023

If you'll be elsewhere in the state during the weekends of the candlelit hikes you may be interested in checking out one in that area. Here's the full schedule of candlelit hikes across Minnesota for this year.

Saturday, January 21st - Sibley State Park

Saturday, January 21st - Itasca State Park

Friday, January 27th - Gateway State Trail, Mahtomedi

Saturday, January 28th - Lake Bemidji State Park

Saturday, January 28th - Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Frontenac State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Fort Ridgely State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Afton State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Rice Lake State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Blue Mounds State Park

Saturday, February 4th - Lac Qui Parle State Park

Saturday, February 11th - Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

Saturday, February 11th - Wild River State Park

Saturday, February 11th - Lake Bemidji State Park

Saturday, February 11th - Minneopa State Park

Saturday, February 18th - Itasca State Park

Saturday, February 18th - Gooseberry Falls State Park

Saturday, February 18th - Myre-Big Island State Park

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