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Best Hiking Trails In The Twin Cities

November 7, 2010 2:21 PM

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Elm Creek Park Reserve

credit: CBS

If Minnesota is known for one thing, it’s the great outdoors and hiking is one of the best ways to experience it. So lace up your boots and hit some of the best hiking trails in the Twin Cities.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

860 Cliff Road
Eagan, MN 55123
651-554-6530
www.co.dakota.mn.us

Spanning over nearly 2,000 acres Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Dakota County offers over 14 miles of summer hiking trails and over 12 miles of winter ski trails. Start your hike at the Schulze Lake Trailhead which is located adjacent to the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center.

Minnehaha Park Trails

4801 South Minnehaha Park Dr.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 230-6400
www.minneapolisparks.org

Any hiking trail featuring a waterfall is going to top the charts and that’s certainly the case for Minnehaha Park with its 9.91 miles of trails. As one of Minneapolis’ oldest and most cherished parks, this 193-acre haven overlooks the Mississippi River and has a vast landscape providing beautiful displays of seasonal wildflowers and native trees. Keep an eye out for several historic-inspired sculptures.

Afton State Park

6959 Peller Avenue South
Hastings, MN 55033
651-436-5391
www.dnr.state.mn.us

Anyone desiring a hike filled with wooded ravines, grassy ridge tops, steep bluffs, spectacular bird watching and scenic St. Croix River views will enjoy hiking the trails of Afton State Park. This 2,702-acre park is located five miles south of the town Afton and has more than 20 miles of dedicated hiking trails.

Elm Creek Park Reserve

credit: CBS

Elm Creek Park Reserve

12400 James Deane Parkway
Maple Grove, MN 55369
763-694-7894
www.threeriversparks.org

The “Three Rivers Parks” name was inspired by the parks’ geography which is positioned within the watersheds feeding the three regional rivers: Mississippi, Minnesota and Crow.The entire park district boasts 27,000 acres throughout the Twin Cities and includes an extensive trail system. In the spring, summer and fall, hikers can choose between paved bike/hiking trails or unpaved hiking-only trails. Elm Creek Park Reserve is the largest of Three Rivers Parks with 4,900 acres and 51 miles of hiking trails.

Winchell Trail

3601 West River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55406
612 230-6400
www.nps.gov

The Mississippi Gorge has a fascinating geological history as it is the only gorge dug by the Mississippi River. Hikers can enjoy an easy five-mile roundtrip hike or wander off the main trail for some slightly more challenging paths. Most of the trail runs along the bluffs and passes one of the Mississippi’s steepest and deepest points. The trail is easily accessible along every part of the trail. Sections of the trail are paved.

-- Beth Blair has turned a decade of travel industry experience into an action-packed travel writing career. She writes for various print and online publications and is co-founder of TheVacationGals.com and TheSpaGals.com. Learn more about her at BethBlair.com and find her on Twitter: @BethBlair.

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