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.
- For a single skater, four inches of solid ice is the minimum thickness recommended, while seven inches of solid ice is the minimum thickness recommended for a small group.
- Spread out. Crowds can put too much weight onto one area.
- Ice thickness is not consistent 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.
- Stay away from areas with multiple or intersecting pressure cracks. Changing air temperatures and standing water on ice can weaken and crack the ice.
- Use extra caution on rivers and streams where ice can appear thicker than it really is. Moving water wears away 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).