Adventure Report: Ski Trails in Becker, MN
If you’ve gone Up North from the metro area, you’ve probably been through Becker, MN. My wife Jen and I drive Highway 10 on a regular basis. Her family lives in Blaine and we make the trip often, but we just found out there’s more to Becker than the highway and a giant furniture store.
A couple of years ago, Sherburne County Parks began grooming winter trails at Pebble Creek Golf Club, Becker City Park and adjacent Oak Savanna Park.
The day before our visit, gale force winds had obliterated the nicely groomed trails at Pebble Creek, but we found that the wooded areas of the city park and Oak Savanna Park were in good shape. The trails at 113-acre Becker city park meander through dense woods on gently rolling hills. Oak Savanna Park lives up to its name and consists of stands of oaks, sprinkled into 140 acres of open fields, just north of the Sherburne History Center.
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We parked here and began our huge figure-eight loop through both systems. Despite high temperatures in the single digits and a slow breeze, we didn’t feel cold. The sun was out and our internal thermostats were solidly operating in the green. After a short jog on trails inside Oak Savanna Park we entered Becker City Park, going counter-clockwise. In the woods, the going was easy. The little hills were no problem and the track was crisp. At times it felt like we were in a place far away from civilization, but we were never more than a half a mile away from Highway 10. When we reached the parking lot and playground area, we circled back and soon re-entered Oak Savanna Park.
The trails in this park are more open and at times we had to guess where the track was. The wind was more noticeable here, but we cinched up our hoods and soldiered on. The overblown tracks worked out in our advantage at one point when we were going down a long, naked hill toward Clitty Lake. The powdery snow slowed us down enough to take the edge off the descent. My younger self would have enjoyed the schuss, but my current self was content to gently glide without the watering eyes and risk of disfigurement. After passing through a stand of pines, we were on the final approach back to the parking lot.
When we were finished with both loops, we warmed up and dried out inside the Sherburne History Center with some water and a snack. This trip was a fine Saturday diversion. We got some exercise, skied about 6km and soaked up the sun.
Next time, we’ll try the trails at Pebble Creek and next time you’re looking for a place to ski, hike or bike near the metro area, take a day trip to Becker, MN. Both trails are well-marked with permanent, easy to read maps and you don’t need a MN Ski Pass to use them.