WEST SIDE STORY [ Western Minnesota ] So much of Minnesota’s snowmobile culture focuses on the beautiful trails in the upper half of the state. But if your compass is always pointed north, you’ll miss out on the unique riding experience the western side of the state has to offer. Love riding drifts? Head to western Minnesota to enjoy snowmobiling across a wide-open landscape covered with sparkling, wind-carved snow. For many riders, the ideal trail winds through the woods, but for others, a day spent riding across open fields under the big sky is a special and increasingly unique experience. The majority of the terrain is flat and fast, and in the right conditions, you can see as far as 5 miles. Keep an eye on the weather before you set out to avoid getting caught in a snowstorm on the prairie. The region features hundreds of miles of trails across agricultural terrain as well as through secluded hardwood forests. A few remnant patches of bluestem prairie can be found out here. Three state parks and hundreds of lakes, most concentrated in the Detroit Lakes area, dot the Western region, adding interest to your ride. The Clay Trail Alliance, a supergroup that includes the Clay County Trail Blazers, Felton Rough Riders and Highway 32 Snoriders, maintains around 185 miles of trail in Clay County, and they work hard to maintain positive relations with the landowners that make a lot of these trails possible. They also groom the drifts to perfection. Take a minute to thank them, or the many other local clubs in the area, for their efforts. Remember, most grooming is a volunteer effort, funded by private donations. (Photo by Jam lor es Feist/Exp eAlex.com) 20 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations