Adventure Report: Milaca Trails
We’re looking at another winter with record temperatures above normal and skiing has been marginal at best this year in central Minnesota. I was beginning to think the skis would be gathering another season’s worth of dust in the basement when I saw a Facebook post by the Milaca Trails Initiative and, by golly, their volunteers had scraped up enough snow over the last few days to have decent trail conditions.
We didn’t want to get skunked in the ski department this year, so Jen and I hopped in the car and drove to Milaca.
The 200-acre Milaca trail system is in the northwest corner of town, just across the Rum River from aptly named Recreation Park. It has 12 miles of mountain bike trails from beginner to (insane) expert, five miles (8km) of which turn into easy ski and fatbike trails in the winter. More about Milaca Trails
We parked near the parks office at Recreation Park, where the ski trails start and strapped on the skis. Across the pedestrian bridge, we hung a right on the Rum River Run, followed the river for a while and worked our way up through “The Meadow” and “The Pines” to the “Northwoods” section of the system after crossing a small stream on a bridge. It felt good to be out on skis once again on this cold, but sunny day and we slowly made our way back through “The Prairie” and the “Aspen Maze” around what’s called the Big Green Lagoon. Yes, it’s what you think it is, but don’t let that make you think any less of this awesome system of recreational trails. It’s just an artificial lake with a fence around it and if you spend any amount of time in town, you likely contributed to it. We schussed down D Hill (d only one here) and finished strong by taking the old railroad bridge right next to the pedestrian bridge back to the car. (By the way, there is one tee of the disc golf course on that bridge and to make it into the basket you have to throw from the bridge across the river.) It was a great ski trip and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We didn’t get skunked, not by the lagoon or by another less than stellar winter.