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Worth a look: Winter 'camping' in comfort

Two luxury yurts completed in 2016 at Fort Ransom State Park near Valley City, N.D., offer all the comforts of home, including gas heating, kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms and a loft and can sleep as many as six people. (Bismarck Tribune photo)

So you want to go winter camping but don't want to sleep in a tent, burrow into the snow or make a quinzhee snow shelter?

Fear not, there are options out there that are considerably easier, not to mention a whole lot warmer.

In North Dakota, the state Parks and Recreation Department offers winter opportunities at a trio of state parks. Cross Ranch State Park near Center, N.D., has two log cabins and two primitive yurts available year round, and Lake Metigoshe State Park near Bottineau, N.D., has one primitive cabin and one yurt available year-round.

For the uninitiated, yurts basically are a cross between a cabin and a tent.

According to the Parks and Recreation Department's website, yurts have propane fireplaces, and the cabins have wood-burning stoves. In addition, two full-service yurts that completed last year at Fort Ransom State Park near Valley City, N.D., are equipped with gas heating, kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, a loft and can sleep as many as six people.

OK, so it's not camping in the traditional sense, but it's still an easy, low-impact way to get out and embrace winter.

In Minnesota, Glendalough State Park, Afton State Park and Cayuna State Recreation Area offer yurts for rent, and year-round camper cabins are available in northwest Minnesota at Big Bog State Recreation, Lake Bemidji State Park and Itasca State Park. For even more adventure, St. Croix State Park between Duluth and Minneapolis offers snowmobile-in tenting sites.

In addition to state parks, a Google search can shed light on winter camping, cabin or yurt rental options.

More info: parkrec.nd.gov or mndnr.gov/parkfinder.

-- Herald staff report

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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