One City, Four Seasons: A Full Year of Outdoor Adventures
The Grand Forks region invites you to explore the outdoors year-round with countless activities and green spaces. Here’s your seasonal to-do list.
With crisp autumn air, sparkling winter snow, gentle spring rains and mild summer breezes, Grand Forks is a true four-seasons playground.
From snowmobiling to birding, the Grand Forks region offers a wide range of outdoor adventures residents can enjoy all year long.
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Straddling the border between North Dakota and Minnesota, the area boasts idyllic weather for every season, abundant parks and trails, tons of helpful outfitters and plenty of activity-based clubs for finding your outdoor recreation crew.
Wondering how best to spend your time exploring the great outdoors in Grand Forks? We’ve got a few suggestions for every season.
Though summers are generally mild in Grand Forks, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as cooling off in the water. Splash around Elks Pool and Spray Park, Riverside Pool, Choice Spray Park and University Spray Park, which provide hours of entertainment for adults and kids of all ages. For a relaxing day on the water, paddle along the Red River or the Red Lake River in a canoe, kayak or on a standup paddleboard, or grab a fishing pole and some bait to reel in a catfish. Looking for some serious water adventure? Check out the Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET), the longest swim race in North America and hosted right here in Grand Forks.
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Summer is also the perfect time to explore the city on two wheels. With more than 57 miles of bicycle trails, you can explore rolling hills, stream crossings, flatlands and other picturesque landscapes. Head to the Greenway, Turtle River State Park and Red River State Recreation Area for top-notch cycling with great views.
Fall is hunting season in North Dakota and Minnesota, with pheasant, turkey, waterfowl, deer and other animal seasons opening throughout September and October. The Grand Forks region is home to some of the most scenic and prime hunting spots in the country, with outfitters like Cabela’s and Scheels All Sports there to support you with hunting gear every step of the way.
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Also, in the fall, Grand Forks’ trees come alive with burnt oranges, deep reds and golden yellow hues. Plan a dedicated leaf-peeping outing to Turtle River State Park and be sure to bring along your camera.
But traditional fall colors are often overshadowed by UND green as college students amp up the energy and the campus community comes alive with a host of outdoor merrymaking like football tailgating, downtown street fairs, and outdoor music festivals like the Greenway Takeover Fest.
If you love the thrill of adventure, snowmobiling is an incredible way to explore Grand Forks’ scenic winter landscape. Hit up the 2,200-acre Greenway or venture off into the vast wilderness with members of the Red River Snowmobile Club.
For a peaceful and serene winter adventure atop the glittering snow, click into a pair of cross-country skis and start gliding. There are more than eight miles of groomed ski trails along the Red River in Lincoln Drive Park, or you can head to Turtle River State Park for even terrain.
As spring arrives in Grand Forks, grab a pair of binoculars and a notebook to explore the more than 300 species of birds that call this region home. Head to Turtle River State Park, Kellys Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie Chicken Management Area and OakVille Prairie to see greater prairie chickens, gray partridges and short-eared owls, just to name a few.
Shake off the winter rust and get your body moving with a visit to The Greenway, where you can choose from three disc golf courses, 20 miles of multi-purpose trails (perfect for rollerblading!), two golf courses, campgrounds and so much more.
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Spend an hour or two enjoying the gentle spring weather at one of the dozens of public parks in the Grand Forks region, which feature playground equipment, sports fields and courts, dog parks, gardens and tons of other amenities perfect for a family outing. Enjoy the stunning Japanese garden and arboretum at Sertoma/Japanese Garden Park or the more than 2,500 annual flowers planted at Skidmore Park each year.
This article was sponsored by the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation. Want to learn more about living in Grand Forks? Check out Greater Grand Forks: Way Cooler Than You Think.