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.
Fall activities in Minneapolis include Caponi Art Park, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, scenic drives and apple orchards.
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.
With all the great things to see and do in the Twin Cities, it can be tough to try and fit everything in during your time here—and easy to miss out on some of the best. So we've compiled a list of the Seven Wonders of the Twin Cities to maximize your time, and to see how Minneapolis and St. Paul set themselves apart from the rest.