Mark your calendar! January 26, 6-9 pm will present the Annual Candlelight Night at Wild River State Park. With hundreds of luminaries, live musical entertainment, ongoing activities, cookies and hot cider, Minnesota’s largest prairie bonfire, star gazing, the chance to win a cross-country ski package, and miles of candle-lit walking, skiing, and snowshoeing, this is sure to be a magical experience for all ages and abilities.
Illuminating 6 miles of trails, candles will light the way to a variety of ongoing activities between the Trail Center, Picnic Shelter, and Visitor Center. Gigi Nauer will serenade guests with her acoustic talents at the Trail Center where refreshments and a warm fire will be available. The largest prairie bonfire will light up Amador Prairie and, sky conditions permitting, astronomy enthusiast, Kenny Bahmer, will be offering a chance to see the winter night’s sky through professional telescopes. Just a candle-lit walk, drive, or ski away, cookies and hot cider will be served at the Visitor Center along with fiddling entertainment by Mike and Patti McGloughlin, and both indoor and outdoor fires! Luminary-lit distances and routes are varied to fit all abilities of walkers, snowshoers, and skiers. Detailed maps will be available at the park upon arrival.
This event is sponsored by the Friends of Wild River State Park, a non-profit group formed to support recreational and educational opportunities within the park. Donations for refreshments and purchasing of raffle tickets for the chance to win a new set of cross-country skis and boots are welcomed for their efforts. The event is also supported by the North Branch Honor Society and Wild River Ski Rental.
In the case of poor snow conditions, trails will still be lit for hiking and all other activities will take place as planned. The event will be cancelled if a combination of temperature and/or wind-chill drops below -10 degrees.
Ski and snowshoe rentals (quantities limited) are available within the park and can be reserved at the Trail Center that night or in advance by calling (651)257-0685.
A Minnesota State Park vehicle permit is required for each vehicle entering the park and can be purchased at the park that night as a day pass ($5) or an annual pass to all Minnesota State Parks ($25). A Minnesota Ski Trail pass is also required for anyone 16 years and older who will be skiing. One day passes ($6) are available at the park. Participants are encouraged to purchase these and annual ($20) passes in advance at any business which provides DNR Electronic Licensing, or by calling 1-888-646-6367. They can also be purchased at the park by filling out a mail-in registration form.
Wild River State Park is located 3 miles north of Minnesota Highway 95 at Almelund, halfway between Taylors Falls and North Branch. For more information, call (651)583-2125 or visit: www.mndnr.gove/wildriver