‘Checkpoint MN’ Is Largest Outdoor Scavenger Hunt In U.S.

During the middle of winter, Checkpoint Minnesota inspires hundreds of outdoors enthusiasts hungry for prizes to explore. Ski packages, fat bikes and winter gear fuel the hunt.

It was minus-2 degrees on the Greenway Bike Path last week in Minneapolis. An arctic chill had settled over Minnesota, yet the man with the big leathers mitts would not give up. “I see the checkpoint way down there,” he said.

He was pointing off a bridge toward a sign topped with a blue arrowhead, one of 10 checkpoints he planned to visit. Before the week was done he would reach all 10 on the list, some of them hundreds of miles apart around the state of Minnesota.

The man is one of hundreds of people now in Minnesota braving the cold to get outdoors and search for these unique signs in the inaugural Checkpoint MN event. It launched last month and runs through February 7, 2014.

Fun group shot submitted from Sandstone Ice Park, one of 10 “iconic” places around Minnesota selected

More than 800 check-ins so far have been recorded, from Grand Portage National Monument at the tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead on Lake Superior, to the urban Greenway checkpoint, which is near the GearJunkie main office.

Checkpoint locations

Explore Minnesota and Monopoint Media partnered on the statewide event. GearJunkie.com is the prizing sponsor, and in all more than $40,000 in gear is being given away.

Major swag includes Framed Bikes’ “Minnesota 2.0” Fat Bike, ten jackets and sleeping bags with DownTek insulation, ski and snowboard packages from The-House.com, By The Yard outdoor furniture, and Clif bars by the hundreds.

Sample prizes from the event

Many items have been claimed. But there is still a stock left, including SPOT Gen3 devices, custom running socks from FITSOK, and more. See the prizes, $40,000+ in all, on the prizing page.

Hundreds of participants have uploaded photos

Anyone can participate in Checkpoint MN. But you need to be in Minnesota, and you have to get out into the cold. See the full checkpoint location list here, and then head out on an adventure… you have a few hundred people out there already in search of the signs to keep you company.

Go to the Checkpoint MN website for all event details.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.