Thief River Falls is the home of powersports manufacturer Arctic Cat and the unofficial birthplace of snowmobiling. Thief River Falls has access to more than 500 miles of groomed trails that interconnect to over 1,500 miles of trails in northwest Minnesota. Snowmobilers can choose from countless daily loop rides ranging from 50-200 miles. Because of the popularity of snowmobiling in the area, food and fuel stops along the trails welcome all riders.
Arctic Cat is listed as having one of the top 250 plant tours in the nation according to “Watch It Made In The USA: A Visitors Guide To The Companies That Make Your Favorite Products.” Plant tours are free of charge and offered weekdays at 1 p.m. Call ahead at (218) 681-8558 to schedule a tour.
If you prefer a quieter winter activity, cross-country ski trails are groomed regularly in the Greenwood Trails Recreation Area, or you can blaze your own route on the Northland Trails. With 48 acres of wooden trails, the Greenwood Trails Recreation Area is also a great place to snowshoe. Bring your own or rent a pair at The Club.
Fat biking has become a very popular mode of winter recreation. Thief River Falls has a club of biking enthusiasts who plan an annual fat biking event and keep trails groomed during the snowy months.
Winter in northwest Minnesota is synonymous with ice, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thief River Falls has two large indoor arenas: The Huck Olson Memorial Civic Center and the world-class Ralph Engelstad Arena, where you can catch junior hockey action from the Norskies Jr. hockey team. The famous Ralph Engelstad was born in Thief River Falls, and donated the top-notch arena to the city. Both arenas offer open skating and open hockey. There are also two outdoor skating rinks in Thief River Falls. One is located at Engelstad Park on 1st St. & Crocker Ave., and one is located at Northrop Park on 9th St. and LaBree Ave.
Grab a sled and take a ride on the wild side. Hartz Park, located on Riverside Avenue along the river, offers the perfect hill for sledding. Sledders can enter the area through the National Guard Armory parking lot, which is located on Highway 32, behind the Dairy Queen.
Whatever your winter weather passion, you’ll find it in Thief River Falls, located in the heart of northwest Minnesota. And remember… We are socially distanced, by nature.