Snowshoeing

Snowshoe Rentals

Due to poor snow conditions, we are not renting snowshoes at this time.

snowshoe$5/pair

available when snow conditions are good*
Snowshoes must stay on HWR property
Snowshoeing is only permitted on marked snowshoe trails.

* We must have a 6″ soft snow base for snowshoeing at Heckrodt.  This protects our very expensive snowshoes from damage due to ice and underlying forest detritus (limbs, rocks, etc).  It also protects the environment and hibernating critters from being trampled.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Always call ahead to make sure we are renting snowshoes.  Large program groups, large programs occupying staff and/or volunteer time, or poor conditions may affect availability of snowshoe rental.
  2. Snowshoe rental is available 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Tuesday – Friday and 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM Saturday and Sunday.
  3. Snowshoes are sized by weight, not shoe size. It’s based on the load bearing strength of the snowshoe design.  We will try to guess, but we may ask.  We’re not being nosy. 🙂
  4. Most of our snowshoes are lightweight aluminum.  We have a few pair of traditional wooden snowshoes.  If you prefer traditional ones, please ask.
  5. The snowshoe trail is about 1/2 mile long, not including the prairie trail.   The prairie trail will add about 1/4 mile.  The terrain is relatively flat.
  6. Wear your regular boots for snowshoeing – no special footwear is required.  Dress in layers – take the temperature into account.  Hand and foot/toe warmers are a good idea.  Don’t forget your hat and gloves!
  7. Anyone who can walk with ease can snowshoe.  You will use muscles you didn’t know you had, however.  It’s great exercise!
  8. We have snowshoes to fit children 4 and up.  However, you may want to bring a toboggan or sled to pull behind you in case your young snowshoer gets too tired to go on.
  9. If you have little ones younger than 4, bring them along.  There isn’t a fee for them.  BUT bring a toboggan or sled with you to pull behind you for them to ride in.  Don’t forget to dress them VERY warmly – they won’t be generating heat like you will.
  10. You are welcome to bring your own snowshoes if you have them.  Marked snowshoe trails may be used by anyone with their own snowshoes in any snow conditions.  HWR cannot be held responsible for damage to your personal snowshoes at any time.
  11. We do not currently have a trail fee.  Donations are always appreciated toward maintenance of trails and can be made in the drop box at the nature center or with any staff member.  Thank you!
  12. Snowshoe trails are not groomed.  Grooming defeats the purpose of snowshoeing.  Heavy use will trample a path along the snowshoe trail – it is OK to snowshoe alongside this path.
  13. Snowshoes are permitted on snowshoe trails only.  No snowshoes are permitted on the boardwalk as they damage the decking.
  14. Snowshoeing is limited to marked trails – snowshoers are not welcome just anywhere on the Reserve.  We are a wildlife sanctuary and respect hibernating and winter active animals on off trail areas.
  15. We do not have cross country ski trails, nor do we rent cross country skis.  You may bring your own cross country equipment, but use the snowshoe trails only  Cross county skis should not be used on the trail system or free ranging in the habitat.