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TOP 5 TWIN CITIES RUNNING TRAILS

Where to lace up your shoes and hit the ground running in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding metro.

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In the words of ’80s pop singer Gloria Estefan, get on your feet, get up and make it happen. Whether you are a seasoned marathoner, a weekend warrior or more of a couch potato, getting outside and going for a run is just what the doctor ordered. The Twin Cities boast countless trails for you to explore on your next run (which, by the way, should happen soon, as the fall colors are beautiful right now). Check out the trails that made our top 5 list and get running.

Mississippi River Gorge
Natural terrain
This wild trail runs for nearly six miles along the mighty Mississippi. Though challenging (keep an eye out for roots, rocks and other obstacles) this route is about as scenic as it gets and it’s only a few miles from the heart of the city. Start on the east side of the river, where St. Paul‘s Summit Avenue meets Mississippi River Boulevard. Run north until hitting Marshall Avenue, where you’ll cross the river into Minneapolis, then continue south on the trail. Ford Parkway crosses back into St. Paul for the last leg of the run. It can be difficult to stay on course—you are surrounded by wildlife on this one—so, when in doubt, use the river as your guide.

Chain of Lakes
Paved trail
Located in South Minneapolis, this system of lakes has miles of paved running trails that unfold along the waterside. Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet offer three-mile loops with views of the lakes, wildlife and even downtown Minneapolis’ skyline. Plus, the lakes’ close proximity to each other makes it easy to connect to neighboring trails and rack up more miles.

Summit Avenue
Paved sidewalk
If you’re looking for a spot for good urban running, look no further. St. Paul’s Summit Avenue is one of the prettiest streets in the area and you’ll see amazing Victorian brownstones, the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Mississippi River along the way. Start at the Cathedral in downtown St. Paul and head west on Summit. Run until you get to the Mississippi River and then turn around and run back the way you came. Such a simple route, and yet so beautiful.

Luce Line State Trail
Paved and crushed limestone trail
This massive trail stretches over 60 miles from the western metro to the central part of Minnesota. Starting in the western suburb of Plymouth, get on the trail where it intersects Interstate 494. Running west will take you through the towns of Wayzata, Orono and Long Lake, all of which are near beautiful Lake Minnetonka.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Natural terrain
The trails in this Bloomington park offer diverse scenery, terrain and skill levels. You can choose one of the wide, flat trails that wind around the lake, or challenge yourself on one of the trails that leads into Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area and see a wonderful view of the downtown Minneapolis skyline from the top of the hill.

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