Explore the Outdoors in June

June is the perfect month to spend lots of time outdoors in Minnesota. The Willmar Lakes Area is full of outdoor activities and adventures you’re sure to love!

Let’s start with Sibley State Park. One of Minnesota’s top 20 attractions, Sibley provides access to 2,900 acres of colorful prairies, hills, hardwood forests, wetlands and lakes. See the beauty of the park from up high after hiking up to Mount Tom, one of several high points in a 50-mile radius. The park has 16 miles of hiking trails, including 3+ miles of bicycle trails, and 8.7 miles of horseback riding trails. Summer visitors also enjoy swimming, boating and fishing on Lake Andrew. Stop down at the Sibley Beach Store for recreational rentals including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. A canoe route invites adventurers to portage and canoe on Swan Lake, Henschien Lake, Lake Andrew, Middle Lake and beyond! You can also spend the day picnicking and playing vollyball or horseshoes (equipment available at the park office). For those that love to go birding, Sibley State Park is known as a hot spot for birds as more than 206 different species of birds having been seen throughout the park. You can find everything from Wild Turkeys, Ruffed Grouse, Eastern Bluebirds and Field Sparrows to all the expected Woodpeckers. The park also offers campgrounds, a modern group center, primitive group tent camping areas, horseback campsites and interpretive programs year-around. There is definitely something for everyone at this popular west-central Minnesota State Park!

The next outdoorsy stop should be Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC). Prairie Woods maintains approximately 10km of trails over rolling glacial terrain, through woods, and prairies, near ponds and wetlands. The trail network covers much of PWELC’s 500 acres. Trails are open for walking and hiking during daylight hours spring, summer and fall. Prairie Woods has 4 different sizes of fat tire bikes and 3 different sizes of helmets, which means they can accommodate almost anyone. Whether you rent a fat tire bike or bring your own mountain bike, you can enjoy 4.5 miles of a single track mountain bike trails at PWELC. The trails are family friendly and provide a series of interconnected loops appropriate for all ages. The trails are available free of charge and can be accessed from the large gravel parking lot below the main education building (near the PWELC maintenance building). Prairie Woods also has kayaks and canoes available to rent and enjoy on the Lake Florida Slough. If you’re interested in renting equipment, please call at least 24 hours in advance. If you would like to reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon on Friday.

The Willmar Lakes Area is home to a variety of beautiful trails to enjoy throughout the county! One of the most popular trails is the Glacial Lakes State Trail. In the summer, this developed trail is popular for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, and in-line skating. Horseback riders will enjoy the ten mile stretch of parallel grass tread way from Willmar to New London. From New London to the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line there are grass shoulders for horseback riding. The Glacial Lakes State Trail also connects to Sibley State Park (via three miles of paved shoulder along County Road 148) if you’re interested in adding to your adventure. Other popular trails for hiking and biking in the area include Robbins Island Trails, Eagle Lake Trail and the road route around Green Lake.

Kayaking is another popular (and relaxing) way to enjoy the outdoors. On a calm evening, grab your kayak and head to Robbins Island Regional Park to explore the water trails there. This is a great paddle for beginners to explore the waters of both Foot Lake and Willmar Lake. This easy water trail is a perfect way to relax after a long day. If you’re up for more of a challenge, we recommend heading to the Middle Fork Crow River, which is 40+ miles in length. The headwaters to the Middle Fork Crow River is located in nearby Belgrade and enters Kandiyohi County at Mud Lake. Our favorite stretch in the Willmar Lakes Area is the 6 mile stretch that begins near Goat Ridge Brewery in New London and ends at Nest Lake in Spicer. This is a beautiful paddle that we are sure you will enjoy. From Nest Lake, you can continue on to Green Lake and then Lake Calhoun and into northern Meeker County where the Middle Fork connects to the North Fork. So whether you’re looking for a short, easy paddle or a more challenging, longer paddle, you can find it in Kandiyohi County!

If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll definitely want to stop at some of the popular playgrounds/parks in the Willmar Lakes Area. The largest playgound is the Willmar Destination Playground, with over 19,000 square feet of fun! Nestled into the grassy oak hills of Robbins Island Regional Park, the Destination Playground is packed with swings, merry-go-rounds, and draw bridges, all on a soft rubbery flooring. The fully-enclosed and accessible playground offers a safe and fun place for children of all ages and abilities to play and interact. Another favorite is Wildcat Cove Playground in Spicer. This playground includes a two-story boat, a fortress castle, tree fort, watch tower, twisty slide, wavy slide, an obstacle course, tire swing, rock wall, spider web, telephone system, a drum and hanging xylophone. There is an area with a tot slide, ice castle, tot maze and fire engine. A few other parks the kids would love to explore include the Atwater Splash Pad at Centennial Park in Atwater, Beach Street Park in Spicer, Lil’ Rascals Park in New London, and Rice Park Splash Pad in Willmar.

We completely understand that when the weather is nice in Minnesota, you want to take advantage and spend as much time outdoors as possible! Explore even more outdoor activities and attractions to keep you busy when spending time in the Willmar Lakes Area by clicking here.

You can find trail maps at our office (located at 2104 East Highway 12 in Willmar), at one of the many tourism racks thoughout the county, or digital maps by clicking here.

Fish our lakes

The possibilities are endless on our 30 recreational lakes…boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, hydro biking, paddle boarding and so much more!

Fishing Report

Explore our Trails

Surrounded by beautiful lakes and scenery…who wouldn’t take a hike or a leisurely bike ride to enjoy the view? With miles of trials to choose from, you can always find new places to explore.

Trail Report