Despite the recent snowfall throughout much of Minnesota, snowmobile trails are not yet ready for riding, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota’s snowmobile trails officially open Dec. 1; however, several conditions must be met before trails open and are ready for travel:
- Ground must be frozen allowing for crossings in wet areas.
- Trails must have adequate snow cover – about 12 inches – on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.
- Landowner permits that allow trails on private land must be in place.
- Trails must be cleared of dead fall, signs need to be in place and gates need to be opened.
The vast majority of the state’s 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trail system exists on private property with written permission from the landowner. The permission allows snowmobile use only from Dec. 1 through March 31.
When the trails open, the DNR urges early season riders to use caution. Early season trails may have fallen trees or other debris across the trails, unfrozen areas, rocks or ruts, or standing crops and closed gates.
In preparation for Dec. 1, the DNR reminds riders to verify their snowmobile registration is current. Information on registration as well as snowmobile trail maps and snowmobile safety course information is available online or by contacting the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6157, 888-646-6367, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.