Outdoor Recreation in Rochester, MN

Rochester, MN, has plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming and hunting.

By AJ Donahue on January 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm EST
Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester, MN

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of www.olivejuicestudios.com

Residents of Rochester, MN have full range of recreational activities thanks to prestine parks, amazing natural amenities and a culture that supports activity. Winter, spring, summer or fall, Rochester's outdoor activities keep locals on the move. Here's a look at some of the parks to play in, sports to enjoy and facilities to admire in Rochester. 


Rochester has no shortage of splashy swimming options. Choose any of the city’s welcoming public spots, including the Silver Lake Pool & Kiddie Pool, Soldier's Field Pool, the Rochester-Olmsted Rec Center, the Rochester Area Family YMCA, the Rochester Athletic Club, and the Northgate Health Center. In the summer, visitors can take a dip at the lakeside Foster Arend Beach.

Winter Sports

Cold weather recreation includes three outdoor public skating rinks and seven outdoor hockey rinks, as well as indoor ice at Rochester-Olmsted Recreation Center. Rochester's Parks and Recreation Department maintains several trails for cross-country skiing as well as two hills for sledding.

Indoors and Out

Enjoy a strolling through Rochester’s 100-plus parks and more than 85 miles of paved walking trails, or traverse 12.5-mile Douglas State trail that begins in Rochester, stretches through Douglas and ends in Pine Island. The Douglas State Trail offers snowmobiling and skiing in the winter, but if the temperatures are just too low, stay warm while walking the city’s vast network of skyways and subterranean walkways downtown or hit the lanes at the newly renovated Bowlocity Entertainment Center.

Spectator Sports

Rochester offers plenty of opportunities to take in baseball games with the Rochester Honkers and Royals hitting the diamond in town. Ice hockey fans love catching all the action of MnJHL favorites, the Minnesota Ice Hawks.


With more than seven top-flight courses nearby, Rochester is laden with links. Enjoy city-owned greens, like Eastwood, Northern Hills and Soldiers Field; or explore the fairways at any of the area’s beautiful private courses, including the Rochester Golf & Country Club, Willow Creek Golf Course and the Golf Digest-recognized Somerby Golf Club in Byron.

Animals, Nature and Hunting

Rochester also has many nature-themed attractions, with the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center, the Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo and the Quarry Hill Nature Center all close by.

In addition, the region is packed with local game, including Canada geese, ducks and pheasant, with several guided hunt services available.

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