Recreation

Sustainability is more than recycling, composting, and riding a bike (though those aspects are also important!) A key piece of becoming a more ecological citizen is learning to love and experience what’s in your own backyard. Through the Recreation section of our SustainAbilities website, you’ll find trails, campgrounds, and other adventurous resources to help you explore your surroundings.
Trails Across Minnesota
Feeling extra adventurous? Have a look at the Top Ten trails in Minnesota for inspiration.
Trails on Campus
Unbeknownst to many students, St. Olaf college boasts 11 trails on its campus. By exploring the trails carefully labeled on St. Olaf’s Natural Lands Map, you will learn a lot more about the place you inhabit in just one afternoon.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
Located only 14 miles from St. Olaf College,Nerstrand is a park filled with “rolling hills and valleys, oak savannas, prairie remnants, and a meandering creek with its Hidden Falls, lush plant life, and looping trail system…The park also encompasses a demonstration dairy farm designed to promote sustainable rotational grazing through cooperative efforts.
St. Olaf Outdoor Recreation Program (STORP)
(STORP) offers a variety of outdoor activities for students, faculty and staff, including snowshoes, Nordic skiing, Backpacking, Frisbee Golf, and Overnight Camping. Participants may check out outdoor equipment, such as Nordic Ski packages (skis, boots, and poles), snowshoes, tents, sleeping bags, frisbee golf discs, backpacks, cookware, stoves, and other camping supplies at minimal cost.
Tour Northfield
For a less physically grueling way to experience your surroundings, consider taking a tour of Northfield. We’ve all heard the Jesse James Gang stories, but many Oles don’t understand to complexities of this Minnesotan town we call “home” from atop the Hill. We are more than “two colleges with a coffee shop and an Indian Restaurant in the middle.” Organize a group tour with the Northfield Chamber of Commerce or keep checking the sustiainAbilities website for upcoming tour dates with Nate Jacobi from the Center for Vocation and Career or the Activism for Social Change Network.
Skating in Northfield
The city of Northfield has many miles of recreational trails available for pedestrian, bike, in-line skating, wheelchair and stroller use. The trails wind through neighborhoods and beautiful nature areas within Northfield. Furthermore, The Mill Towns Trail is a planned recreational trail between Cannon Falls and Faribault, Minnesota, an hour or so south of the Twin Cities. The trail will link existing trails: the Cannon Valley Trail from Cannon Falls to Red Wing, and the Sakatah Singing Hills Trails between Faribault and Mankato. Check out the city of Northfield trails website for pdf overviews of all trails.
Camping
Have you always wanted to adventure on the chaotic Cannon River? The Cannon River Watershed Partnership offers Kayaking and Canoeing classes. Their mission is To engage people in protecting and improving the water quality and natural systems of the Cannon River watershed. Check out their website for upcoming Cannon River events, classes, and volunteering activities. Cannon Falls Canoe, Kayak and Bike Rental is another reliable source for a day of experiencing outdoor river fun.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Have you always wanted to adventure on the chaotic Cannon River? The Cannon River Watershed Partnership offers Kayaking and Canoeing classes. Their mission is To engage people in protecting and improving the water quality and natural systems of the Cannon River watershed. Check out their website for upcoming Cannon River events, classes, and volunteering activities.Cannon Falls Canoe, Kayak and Bike Rental is another reliable source for a day of experiencing outdoor river fun.