Ice-Skating Trail is the Coolest Winter Destination in Minnesota

Maple Grove skates circles around traditional ice rinks with its one-of-a-kind attraction.

Woman skating on ice trail

The Central Park Ice Loop puts Maple Grove on the map as the first refrigerated ice skating trail in Minnesota. That’s right, not an ice rink but an ice trail. In fact, it’s one of only a small handful in North America.

Maple Grove now joins the ranks of Toronto, where you’ll find a similar skating trail, and Chicago, whose highly anticipated ice-skating ribbon opened in 2014 near Millennium Park. You may find natural ice skating trails plowed over a frozen lake in some states, but only a few refrigerated and maintained ice loops like Central Park’s exist.

Ice skating trail at night with Christmas lights

Drastically different than a traditional ice rink, Central Park’s skating trail is a meandering, 800-foot loop that winds its way through the park landscape (for comparison, a lap around a traditional hockey rink is 570 feet). This design offers a more sensory experience and a very welcome change in scenery while skating; the feeling is less like skating laps and more like a stroll through the park. However, like a rink, the skating loop is refrigerated and maintained by a Zamboni. This means the skating loop can open earlier in the season and remain open longer than most outdoor rinks.

Zamboni resurfacing the ice trail

Enthusiasm for Maple Grove’s skating trail has been incredible. The novelty of skating on a trail through the park is not to be underestimated. Watching the throngs of giddy families from inside the warming house will make you wonder why we’ve been gliding in monotonous circles all these years. The best part is that the Central Park skating trail is free, with skate rentals available for those who don’t have their own.

Interior of warming house at Central Park

A Year-Round Destination

Central Park isn’t just a spot for winter activities. Complete with an LED illuminated splash pad, multi-season park building, wedding gardens, a large play area with a 120-foot climbing wall, pickleball courts, a pond and a network of trails, the park is a year-round destination for residents and visitors. The sweeping central lawn provides beautiful greenspace and is home to community events. Its central location next to the Arbor Lakes Shopping & Dining District and the popular Town Green makes it a perfect spot to visit. 

A Park 30 Years in the Making

When Maple Grove incorporated as a city in the 1970s, it was essentially farmland waiting to be developed. There was no downtown and no defining features, but there was a whole world of opportunity. 30 years ago, the city of Maple Grove set their sights on a master plan to create a vibrant, walkable city center. Today, Central Park is a crucial piece of that puzzle.

The park is located a couple blocks each from Arbor Lakes, the Community Center, Government Center, Town Green and Maple Grove Library, all of which have been built since 1997. The whole area is connected by a network of trails, successfully linking visitors and residents to all of Maple Grove's amenities.