Bloomington in the Winter – Best Outdoor Snow Activities
Visitbloomington.com’s page shows you all the great things to do in Bloomington. Make the snow your friend!
Sledding & Skiing
–Hills near Tri-North Middle School and at the Indiana University Sailing Club on Lake Lemon are generally acknowledged as the most popular snow-sledding destinations, but you’ve got to bring your own sled.
–Karst Farm Park, Cascades Golf Course, and the Indiana University Golf Course have the sort of rolling terrain coveted by cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
–DNR State Parks across Indiana have had First Day hikes for several years – rain, shine, cold, or warm. The one at Fairfax has the added twist of running or walking a 3.7- or 1.3-mile trail. The untimed, non-competitive events include a post-race appetizer buffet and prize drawings at Fourwinds Lakeside Inn and Marina.
–The Bloomington Rail Trail and Clear Creek Trail in Bloomington offer a combined 4.4 miles of cross-country skiing possibilities, but for real adventure strap on your skis and hit the trails at Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area or Morgan-Monroe State Forest.
Hiking & Wildlife
–When it comes to bald eagles, there’s no better place than Monroe Lake south of Bloomington, where the majestic birds have staked out a winter home. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources launched its bald eagle restoration efforts at Monroe in 1985 and the species has become the poster child of the DNR’s Nongame & Endangered Wildlife Program.
–Seventy-three eaglets were released at Monroe over a five-year period in the late 1980s with a goal of 50 nesting pairs. That threshold was crossed in 2008, prompting the removal of bald eagles from the state’s endangered species list. Golden eagles, rare in Indiana, are occasional visitors.
–Improve your chances of seeing bald eagles by heading to some of the more remote areas around Monroe Lake. The Peninsula Trail in the Deam Wilderness Area extends into the lake and is accessed from the Grubb Ridge Trail. Another option is the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve, a relatively new property owned by the Sycamore Land Trust, a local conservation group. It’s located near the Paynetown State Recreation Area, which has a year-round activity center that offers guided hikes, stargazing, and other nature-oriented programming.
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