After the temperature hits rock bottom and Jack Frost is really nipping at your nose, get dressed in warm layers and head out to ice skate. Natural ice is not usually as smooth as ice in a rink, but the view in a park can be spectacular.
Always be careful when venturing onto the ice. If you plan to go where the ice is not monitored for safety, make sure ice is at least 4” thick for a single skater and 7” thick for a small group. Always carry safety equipment.
Find out where to go with our weekly winter activities report, online from December until spring thaw.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
- Test ice thickness with an auger before skating. Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for a single skater. Seven inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for small groups of skaters.
- Spread out. Crowds can put too much weight onto one area.
- Be aware of changes in ice thickness across a body of water. Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off of the bottom.
- Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants, and docks. These structures absorb heat, weakening the surrounding ice.
- Avoid areas with multiple or intersecting cracks, and standing water over ice.
- Use extra caution on rivers and streams where ice can appear thicker than it really is. Moving water erodes ice from below the surface.
- Venturing out on ice alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun and for safety.
- Wear a PFD (life jacket).
- Always carry safety equipment and know how to use it.
- Check the weather and plan accordingly. Several days with temperatures above freezing will weaken the ice.