WalksThese selected walks are generally on hard-surfaced trails, relatively level and generally shorter than hikes. They also usually have amenities, such as restrooms and drinking water and easy access/parking.
Mill Ruins Park
102 Portland Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Stone Arch Bridge
100 Portland Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55401
Water Power Park
204 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, GPS: 44.983742, -93.253622
Minnehaha Regional Park
4801 South Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417, GPS: 44.984108, -93.254675
5601 Minnehaha Drive South, Fort Snelling, MN 55111, GPS: 44.901526, -93.197771
Generally these selected hikes will be more strenuous than a walk. Suggested hikes often include unpaved paths, uneven footing, steeper grades, generally longer distances, and lack of amenities such as restrooms. They are chosen for their exceptional historic and natural values.
The 5 mile roundtrip Winchell Trail is a hiking-only trail on the west bank of the river between Franklin Avenue and 44th Street in Minneapolis. Unpaved trails break away from the main trail along the bluffs and cut into the woods, permitting additional exploration of the Mississippi gorge. One section takes the hiker down to the river while another crosses an oak savanna restoration. Some sections are rugged and may be muddy after storms. There are also a number of stairs along the route. Between 38th Street and 44th Street the Winchell Trail is paved and is separated from the adjoining bike path.
Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area*
7501-7593 110th St S Cottage Grove, MN 55016
The dunes are covered with a fascinating plant community that makes plant identification both challenging and rewarding. Be sure to take along a flower book as flowers bloom here from early spring to late fall. Hikers also are rewarded by views of the Mississippi River from the top of the dunes. Watch for blue racer snakes and prairie skinks (lizards) during warmer months. Both of these species are unusual for this part of Minnesota. A short hike will take the visitor to the top of the dunes, but there are many possibilities for both short and longer hikes. In some areas, loose sandy soils make for poor footing; use caution to avoid injury in this isolated area. It may be advisable to share your adventure with a partner.
Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area*
3501-3599 111th St Innver Grove Heights, MN 55077
The Mississippi River Companion provides maps and other information that will help you decide which trails you might enjoy. You can also call the Mississippi River Visitor Center at 651-293-0200 and talk to a ranger than can give you other recommendations.
* Hiking in Scientific and Natural Areas
Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) fall under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and are deemed to have special importance due to exceptional wildlife, botanical, or geological values. SNAs have special rules designed to preserve those values. See the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web page on rules for visiting state scientific and natural areas. Typically, SNAs have few or no trails, but the lack of trails offer a certain sense of adventure as one is free to wander widely. There are no restrooms or drinking water at either of these two locations at this time. Be sure to take sufficient water, especially during warm summer months. There are no admission fees at SNAs.
Last updated: November 22, 2019