Best places to hike in the twin cities
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With the government encouraging us to HikeLocal, people have been finding great hidden locations in their own backyard. There has never been a better time to enjoy hiking in Minneapolis and St Paul than today. This post is sponsored by DayTripper. There may be affiliate links within the post. I earn a small commission on any purchases made.
As always, the State of Minnesota has some magnificent parks, but since the start of Covid, they have become so busy, some have had to close their parking lots. Visit during off-peak times, weekdays, or early on the weekends to explore.
Pick up your Hydration Backpack and join me on the trail! The park has a few trails, paved paths, and other areas to explore along the Minnesota River. The park is broken into two sections, the Bluff and the River Bottom.
My favorite place to hike is the lower section, along the archery area. This underdeveloped area of Savage is a great opportunity for hiking in Minneapolis and St Paul. The Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve has a lush forest and is hilly. For this reason, it is one of the most challenging places to Cross-Country Ski in the winter. The flat trails along the MN River make it easy enough for anyone to do it.
The Carver Nature Reserve comprises parks, lakes, and woodland. My favorite hiking trails are at the Lower Nature Center. Acorn Trail is the most traveled. For a little space, take the loop around Crosby Lake.
They house a few birds that were rescued. An amazing area to hike in the Twin Cities is Crosby Farm. The farm is a secluded hiking location that sits along the Mississippi River. There are plenty of great areas to explore and hiking trails, but my favorite is not on the map. The Chanhassen Nature Reserve comprises hidden locations throughout Chanhassen. Every unclaimed area of land containing streams, marsh, and a lake is preserved as part of the nature reserve.
They include forested areas, woodland, marshy boardwalks. Wolsfeld Lake, Oaks, Maples, and more. There are many hiking and horseback riding trails within the Wolsfeld Woods Scientific and Natural Area. The Wolsfeld family settled in this area in the s. Every spring, they tapped the trees for Maple Syrup. The maple syrup saved the big woods from being chopped down for farmland. This is a great place to hike in Minneapolis and St Paul for those that love hiking up north in the big woods. The hiking is only a couple miles, but it has a small lake and beautiful farm views.
The best part is getting to see all the animals. They are super friendly and out year-round. Big Willow Park is a recent discovery of mine, that the locals of Minnetonka have been hiding. There are great trails and offshoots to explore. It winds between wetlands, woods, and streams. This spring we found painted rocks that someone put along the trail. The best paths to explore are on All Trails. One of the lesser-known areas in St.
Paul is the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary. The sanctuary connects to the larger Trout Brook Regional Trail. The sanctuary has a nature trail, hiking, biking, and restrooms. The St Croix Boom Site is an amazing little hike. Only about a mile and a half. But it follows along the St Croix River. This hike is amazing and not well known. Every time I go, there are only a few other people on the trail. Along the southern border of Eden Prairie are some stunning bluffs.
Not for the week of heart. The hiking trail goes up and down the bluff a few times, but it rewards you with beautiful overlooks of the Minnesota River. At the bottom, next to the parking lot, is a natural spring to fill up your water bottle at.
It is a challenging hike, but worth it! The Lost Valley hiking area is a beautiful area to explore, perfect for photographers.
There is a field road going through the middle of the scientific and natural area. One of the small state parks in the Twin Cities, Lake Maria State Park has a few smaller hiking trails and some camping. The hiking is primarily through woodlands and alongside Lake Maria. Even with its proximity to water, be prepared to climb a few hills. A hiking trail I love to do is Shadow Fall s.
Think Minnehaha, but without the crowds. On the river, there are tons of trails and ways to explore the small park. Bring your boots because this one will get you wet! Yes, but once past the waterfall, things get a lot quieter. The waterfall is the epicenter of all the traffic.
On a nice summer day, it feels like a summer festival is going on. The hike is about 2 miles long. Part of the hike is considered challenging because of the uneven terrain. During the winter hte trail is officially closed, but I have heard that there are ice caves that form along the riverbank.
Check out the map for all the details. There is also a cave nearby. These trails on a normal day can be busy. During social distancing, the crowds have doubled or tripled from their normal size.
These are still doable, but you need to get there early. Probably the most popular on the list. Afton State Park has some great trails to explore.
The trail is hilly, rocky, and goes through prairie, woods, and along the river shoreline. Get here early, and maybe on a cooler day as the hills at the end can feel like they go on forever. Fort Snelling is a fabulous place to explore with many trails to choose from. The island is at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi River. Their trail connects to Minnehaha Regional Park. During the springtime and into summer, areas of the park often flood, so check before you leave.
There are also interpretive centers, beaches, and other places to explore in the park. If you want a good example of a Minnesota State Park, this is it! A great area to explore is Lebanon Hills Park. They have a great set of trails to explore, including bike trails. Fall the leaves are stunning.
If you get a chance to hike, make sure you get there early. Otherwise, you might be fighting for a parking space. Similar to Minnehaha, most people go for the waterfall and struggle to get there. Make sure to park on the North side if you are hoping to find it for yourself.
14 Fall Hikes Near the Twin Cities – Minnesota Trails
It lets you enjoy the city life but easily get out into nature. Length: 8. Thankfully, our city makes it easy!