Take a hike.
You don’t have to go far to find a serene trail in the midst of wildlife and forest when you’re in the Twin Cities. With four distinct seasons that all offer a different take on natural beauty, any time of the year is the perfect time to lace up a pair of hiking shoes, grab a walking stick and hit the trail.
Many of our best trails are hardly removed from downtown areas in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Take the Pine Bend Bluff Scientific and Natural Area in Inver Grove Heights, for example. Hiking high above the Mississippi River through the area places you in one of the last relatively undisturbed ecosystems in the Twin Cities—you’re as remote as you can get within 30 minutes of downtown Minneapolis. Bring breadcrumbs and a cell phone.
Beginning trail runners and hikers like Pike Island in Fort Snelling State Park, with its flat three-mile trail along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. If you are looking for more of a challenge, consider Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington. Its unassuming ski hill is a lot tougher when you’re walking or running up instead of gliding down it. As you break a sweat, enjoy scenery that includes flashes of meadow, forest and lakeside views.
Another hiking favorite worth checking out is located in the southern suburb of Eagan, only a short drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul. With nearly 20 miles of hiking trails winding through forest and past lakes, Lebanon Hills Regional Park is the perfect place for a walk through nature. See waterfowl, herons and more as you explore the area. South of Minneapolis but closer to downtown is Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield. While the unpaved trails only amount to a few miles in distance, the spotlight at this hiking hot spot are the marsh and the species of birds it attracts.
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It’s not just a history buff haven. Fort Snelling State Park is home to extensive hiking, bike and cross-country ski trails that connect with Minnehaha Falls Regional Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Visit Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota's seventh largest park for more than 50 trails of hiking, gorgeous views of the St. Louis River and more.
Home of the famous Falls, Minnehaha Park is also known for its fresh eats and greenery.
The Mighty Mississippi flows through the Twin Cities and provides recreational fun for all skill levels. Whether you hit the water with a guide or prefer taking on the current alone, the steady flow of the Mississippi River is a paddle junkie’s dream come true.