Best Walking and Jogging Trails in Minneapolis
Minneapolis tops the state's list for having the best parks, with nearly 200 scattered throughout the community. More than 90% of people who live here have a park within 10 minutes of their residence, as many are close to new construction homes, condos and townhouses, and other planned neighborhoods. There are numerous trails for hiking, walking, biking, winter cross-country skiing, and other pursuits noted for keeping locals active.
In fact, Minneapolis has been lauded as a top city in the world for cycling. There are 120+ miles of trails and pathways in the community, many of which connect to local parks and urban areas. Minneapolis' trail systems are the culmination of decades' worth of work, and these top six trails near Minneapolis don't disappoint.
Afton to Lakeland Trail
Take a trek on the Afton to Lakeland Trail to bike, walk, or inline skate along four miles of asphalt pathway that parallels the lower portion of the lovely St. Croix River. Access and ending points to this rail trail are Pike Avenue in Afton and Hudson Road at 8th Street in Lakeland. This easy trail traverses through Croix Beak, Saint Marys Point, Lakeland Shores, and passes by Lake St. Croix.
The area boasts trees, small mammals, and wildflowers in spring. This wheelchair-accessible trail offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in snowy months. Those seeking to avoid the busy highway enjoy taking this semi-urban pathway instead of driving to soak in some nature while promoting the green reputation of Minnesota.
Bassett Creek Regional Trail
Those looking for a short, asphalt-paved trail can go to Hennepin County and head off onto the Bassett Creek Regional Trail. Just under seven miles long, the path has endpoints at 36th and Boone Avenue and 36th and Zachary Lane. However, several access points along the trail connect Theodore Wirth Regional Park and French Regional Park. Walkers, bikers, and inline skaters take advantage of the lush scenery along Bassett Creek Regional Trail, which traverses the city's Scenic Byway System through Crystal, Plymouth, Golden Valley, and New Hope.
Big Rivers Regional Trail
The Big Rivers Regional Trail is dubbed due to its remarkable convergence at the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. This 4.5-mile asphalt-paved trail is part of the 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and interconnects with a greater network of trails throughout the Twin Cities.The length of accessible trails makes this a popular spot for runners and cyclists training for marathons and long treks.
While most of the trail is easy to moderate, the area amid Snelling State Park's Bottomlands Trail is pretty rough terrain that's best for serious hikers and mountain bikers. Views include the rivers, Fort Snelling, Pike Island, and other sites of interest. The trail is accessible from several roadside points along I-494 and I-35 East in Mendota Heights, where there is ample parking for visitors.
Coon Creek Regional Trail
The six-mile Coon Creek Regional Trail is paved with asphalt, widely popular with walkers, bikers, and skaters, and is dog-friendly. Situated along the banks of Coon Creek, this two-lane trail connects Coon Rapids Boulevard and Northdale Boulevard. There are two parks—Erlander and Robinson—that meet up along the route. Visitors can also connect to the Sand Creek Trail via the northern zone, and there are plans to further connect Coon Creek Trail to the Mississippi River Trail and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. Currently, sidewalks make transitioning between segments fairly easy.
Lake Phalen Trail
The 3.2-mile Lake Phalen Trail boasts smooth and relatively flat asphalt pathways ideal for walking, skating, and biking. Not only is it wheelchair accessible, but there is a nice fishing pier for catching fish to take home or release back into the lake. This loop rounds the lake and has a series of new construction homes on one side.
Onsite, there are restrooms, sheltered picnic areas, and a beach for relaxing and swimming. The northern end connects to the Gateway State Trail, and the opposite end is at the access point of the Bruce Vento Trail. This is a great area to spend the day in groups or take in nature and get some exercise.
Minneapolis Diagonal Trail
The Minneapolis Diagonal Trail is also known as the Northeast Diagonal Trail and encompasses three miles of asphalt pathways that appeal to joggers, cyclists, walkers, and inline skaters. Trail end points are near Broadway and New Brighton Boulevard and at Stinson Boulevard. Because it travels through so many busy zones, the wildlife here is limited.
The trail is wheelchair-accessible and predominantly serves as a commuter route, so parking is mostly limited to commercial properties along the route. The majority of the Diagonal Trail is an easy hike, but the segment at Stinson Boulevard and E. Hennepin Avenue has quite a few intersections and driveways as it veers from the rail trail. Use caution here, and wear reflective clothing after dusk.
Love Hiking, Biking, and Skating? Minneapolis Has Trails to Please!
Known as an eco-friendly and active city, Minneapolis has been named one of the top 10 fittest cities in recent years. It's also amid the top cities for runners and biking enthusiasts seeking more than 100 miles of paved, off-road, and cross-country trails to explore. Many are wheelchair-accessible, connect to local parks, and are free to use.
Be a part of a green community that's walking- and commuter-friendly for those living in town. Curb gas and auto use by hitting the trails here in Minneapolis, MN. Whether coming for a visit or if you already call the Twin Cities home, don't miss these exciting trails throughout the region, and be sure to check out Minneapolis' most walkable neighborhoods.