Top 8 winter activities
Embrace the winter ! More than 45 percent of Wisconsinites 16 and older participate in snow- and ice-based winter activities. See where your favorite falls.
- Sledding: 28.2% or 1,269,000 people
- Snowmobiling: 18.3 % or 824,000 people
- Ice skating outdoors: 13.5 % or 608,000 people
- Ice fishing: 13.1% or 590,000 people
- Cross-country skiing: 8.8 % or 396,000 people
- Downhill skiing: 7.0 % or 315,000 people
- Snowshoeing: 6.1% or 275,000 people
- Snowboarding: 3.7 % or 167,000 people
--Source: 2005–2009 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment
Winter fun, safety videos
Especially for kids
EEK!, DNR's website for kids, is a great place to start to get your kids interested in winter activities, sights and sounds. Search for the topic you want or try these favorites:
Enjoy your winter favorites and try new ones
This page can put you on to some new places to try your favorite activites, find event listings to help get the kids out, and links to get started on new winter experiences.
Organized winter events
Structured events like candlelight skis, owl prowls and winter festivals provide an easy way to get kids outside -- and adults who need convincing they like winter.
- DNR Nature and Events program calendar lists events at DNR state parks, forests, trails and other properties
- Wisconsin Department of Tourism Calendar of Events provides listings to a broader range of activities and to activities on private as well as public lands.
Where to go on your own
DNR and other state and federal agencies own more than 4 million acres of land open to winter activities; county-owned forests add another 2 million acres and 1.5 million acres of privately owned land are open to some winter activities. Explore the options!
- Explore outdoors
Search DNR-owned and managed lands by county, by proximity to a city, or by type of property.
- Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands [Exit DNR]
View maps for counties containing the more than 78,000 acres of school trust lands open to the public.
- Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest lands
Check out winter opportunities in the 1.5 million acres in this national forest.
- County-owned lands
See which counties have forest properties open to the public on the Wisconsin County Forest Association [exit DNR] website.
- Managed Forest Law Use our new mapping tool to find private lands open to cross country skiing, hiking and other activities under a tax-incentive program. Please contact the owner as a courtesy and to make sure you know exactly which acreage is open so you avoid trespassing.
- Stewardship-funded lands Use the DNR-Managed Land mapping tool to explore 500,000 acres of land purchased by nonprofit conservation organizations using Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funds and open to the public. Once the tool is launched, click on the "more" button and check the Stewardship Grant box.
Quick links to activities
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice Fishing
- Sledding, skating and other winter sports [exit DNR]
Get snow condition reports
Know before you go! Check local snow and ice conditions before you head out to maximize your fun and safety.
- Wisconsin Tourism Department's snow conditions report provides separate reports for snowmobiling, downhill skiing and cross country skiing.
- Current conditions report for State Parks and Trails provides updated information on skiing and trail conditions on many state properties.
No skis, snowshoes or other equipment? No problem. Rent what you need at some of the public sites where these activities are available, or give local businesses your business!
- Find rental locations at Wisconsin Tourism Department's travelwisconsin.com by searching for the kind of rental equipment you need.
Look for these features