Trail blazing with your dog around Twin Cities is an adventure, not to mention good exercise. For a change in fitness regimen, take your dog to these exurban parks and recreational areas for a good trail hike not far from Twin Cities. Getting to each is usually less than two hours. Chances are parking won’t be a problem, and you’ll have plenty of time to rejoin the crowd before sundown.

Luce Line State Trail
1200 Warner Road
St. Paul, MN 55106
(651) 259-5841
www.luceline.com

With over 75 miles of asphalt, crushed stone and grass, biking and walking can be a notch rugged. But equestrians, hikers and bikers love this state trail for its rural beauty, rare wildlife and proximity to lakes and nearby suburbs. The trail is also wheelchair accessible. Your canine friend will be able to run free, if not wild. Originally an old abandoned railroad bed, the Luce Line State Trail begins from Plymouth and ends at Cedar Lake Trail on I-394. West of Minneapolis, the trail leads through rural Minnesota. Depending on how far you want to drive, you can park at any of these locations:

  1. Plymouth, off 10th Ave. and Vicksburg Lane
  2. Long Lake, off Stubbs Bay Road
  3. Lyndale, off County Road 92
  4. Off Carver County Road 127, south of County Road 20
  5. Towns of Watertown, Winsted, Hutchinson and Cosmos
  6. Schaper Park off Schapper Road (Golden Valley)
  7. Bryn Mawr Meadows park, off Morgan Ave. S (west of Minneapolis)
(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Murphy Hanrehan Park Reserve
15501 Murphy Lake Road
Savage, MN 55378
(763) 694-7777
www.threeriversparks.org

This regional park near Burnsville has fairly rugged terrain, but an energetic hiker can make it. Your dog will probably enjoy the hike because of the rare birds and wildlife habitat. This hiking trail is only 1.5 miles, but hikers discover it to be very invigorating. At the end of the trail, you and your dog can backtrack to Burnsville. This city,15 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, is full of its own attractions.

William O’Brien State Park
16821 O’Brien Trail N.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047
(651) 433-0500
www.dnr.state.mn.us

Your dog will love the trails in this recreational park and so will you. Easily accessible, William O’Brien State Park is a convenient drive one hour east of metro Twin Cities. One of the most dog-friendly parks, your canine will feel welcome here. The trails are relatively easy to walk, and wheelchair accessible. Many of these trails have interpretive signs. Congenial and picturesque, this state park is an all-year favorite.

Related: Best Dog Walking Trails In Minnesota

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Hiawatha Trail
Minneapolis, MN 55417

The residential neighborhoods along the Hiawatha Trail make it convenient for commuter usage. This trail connects the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and downtown Minneapolis to key sightseeing points in the Twin Cities area. Extending through parks and over and under a light rail train pass, the Hiawatha Trail is very urban. Eventually, it meets the Minnehaha Trail through Minnehaha Park. Your dog will have ample opportunity to meet and greet other canines along the way.

Minnehaha Trail
4801 S. Minnehaha Park Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 230-6400
www.traillink.com

In Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem, Minnehaha was the love of Hiawatha’s life. A mix of rural beauty and open areas along the Mississippi, the Minnehaha Trail connects two parks in metro Twin Cities. Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul is on the south side, and at the trail’s northern end is Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. Fort Snelling is rich with outdoor activities, including hiking. The 53-foot waterfall in Minneapolis is a natural wonder and work of art. Your canine will love roaming along this poetic trail, and so will you.

Related: Best Hiking Trails In The Twin Cities

Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.