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North Iowa Outdoors: Area Winter Cabins are Available

Winter is a great time to stay in a state or county park cabin. The Lake Catherine Cabin has a few available dates through the Winnebago County Conservation Department.

Winnebago County Conservationist Lisa Ralls explained that the rates vary depending on the night.

Ralls stated that availability dates can be found at winnebagoccb.net.

Other area cabins have dates open as well. Check with your county conservation department or state park offices for availability.

Here’s a few tips for fun activities from DNR park staff:

Winter can be an excellent time to view wildlife. You can see much further into the timber after leaves fall; animals are easier to spot against a backdrop of snow; and fewer park visitors means you have a better chance of spotting wildlife.

Many parks have small lakes with great fishing through the ice. Always check the ice thickness before you go, and fish with at least one experienced ice angler.

Snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and winter hiking are great cold-weather options, with hundreds of miles of trails in state parks.

Sometimes just getting away from the house for a few days can be rejuvenating. Many state park cabin visitors enjoy turning off their phones and just sitting in the cabin playing board games, watching a snow fall, reading, or catching up with friends and family.

A few safety tips for winter visits:

  • Make sure your car has a good battery and a full tank of gas before you leave on your trip. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. Check the DNR alert page when planning your trip in case of any winter closures or construction.
  • Remember that even in cold weather it is important to stay hydrated. Pack water for longer outdoor activities.
  • Snow on popular trails will get packed down and become slippery. A traction aide and hiking stick will help keep you on your feet.
  • Dress in appropriate layers for the conditions. Base layers will wick moisture away from your body and help keep you warm.

Finally, the best way to learn about winter activities is to speak with park staff before your trip.  Feel free to leave a message and they will be happy to talk to you about your stay. Have fun in the winter in Iowa state parks.

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