You might not automatically associate Minneapolis with being an outdoorsy city, but you may actually be surprised at how much nature you can find in this city if you pay enough attention to it.
Minneapolis is actually home to lots of incredible hiking trails and nature parks that are just waiting to be explored.
You will be able to find everything here, from swamps and lakes to cliffs and mountains, and there are lots of impressive hikes that you can go on.
As well as this, you will be able to find hikes of all different levels of experience, which is great for both first timers looking to ease their way in and advanced hikers that are looking for a bit of a challenge.
To help you find out everything you need to know about hiking near Minneapolis and the Twin Cities Area, we have created this ultimate guide to some of the best hikes that you will find in this location.
This will provide you with all of the information that you need to start planning your next adventure.
14 Breathtaking Hikes Near Minneapolis And The Twin Cities Area
Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area are great places to be if you are looking to go hiking.
Whether you live in the area or you are visiting for a certain period of time, there are lots of trails and parks that you can visit if you want to be at one with nature for a while.
We are going to look at 14 breathtaking hikes that are close to Minneapolis and the Twin Cities Area below.
Easy Hikes In Minneapolis
First of all, we are going to start by mentioning some of the easier hikes that you can go on in the area.
These options will be perfect for beginners, or for those that have not been hiking for very long. If you want to ease your way into hiking, then these trails are the best places to start.
Jensen Lake Trail
The Jensen Lake Trail is around 2.1 miles long, and it can be located in Lebanon Hills Regional Park.
If you are looking for a more peaceful trail that you can take to surround yourself with nature, then this is one of the best hikes in Minneapolis.
It is situated in Lebanon Hills Regional Park, which is full of beautiful scenery, and this easy hike also features wooden boardwalks, beautiful wooded areas, and picturesque views of the lake.
As well as all of this, there are lots of things to do along the way if you consider yourself adventurous. There are places to stop for a picnic, areas to go canoeing, and there are even ski routes along the way.
If you want to be out for longer, there is also the option to take the 3.1 mile trail. This will take slightly longer as it includes the Sedge Pond and Bridge Pond Loop.
However, you should also know that lots of locals and visitors to this trail have reported a heavy presence of brown ticks, so you will need to check yourself after your hike.
It is also recommended to avoid taking any pets with you for this reason.
Luce Line Trail
The Luce Line Trail is a total of 74.9 miles, and it can be found in the Greater Minneapolis area.
If you are looking for a hike, run, or bike, then this trail is the perfect one to take as it offers a great mixture of long-distance outdoor areas that extend through into the Minneapolis area.
The trails are both gravel and paved, and they will run through forests, urban areas, and even more rural sections.
This offers hikers a variety of different options, depending on where they choose to start and finish the hike.
Although, there are also flat and wide pathways, which makes it a great place for hiking with families or dog owners.
Louisville Swamp Trail
Louisville Swamp Trail is between 2 and 7 miles in length, and it can be found at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
It offers a great escape from the urban bustle of the area, and it is actually a combination of multiple different trails that weave throughout the area.
This is why the length of the trail can be so varied, depending on the route that you choose.
This trail is located around a good sized swamp area, and the trail itself will run through flat grasslands as well as along the swamp where you will be greeted with prime wildlife and waterfront views.
The majority of the trail will be flat, and this is the perfect place to go hiking in Minneapolis for all levels of experience.
However, this trail is also subject to seasonal closures, so you will need to check this before you plan your trip.
Pike Island Trail
The Pike Island trail is 3.9 miles long, and it can be found in Fort Snelling State Park.
It is one of the more popular hikes that you will find in Minneapolis, and it offers hikers 3.9 miles of beautiful scenery, especially where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet.
Fort Snelling State Park is a stunning island that is full of tall trees, gravel paths, bridges, and colorful wildflowers.
When you are hiking in this area, you should also be on the lookout for some of the local bird species, and you will also be likely to bump into other wildlife along the way, especially if you go during the morning hours.
Although, you should know that during the rainy season, the trails can become quite muddy, but even then, it is definitely worth the trip through the mud to see everything that is on offer here.
You should also note that this park is subject to seasonal closures due to bad weather, so you will need to check this before your trip.
You should also be aware of the fact that there is an extra $7 fee to park here, or you will require a state park permit.
Mississippi Gorge Loop Trail
The Mississippi Gorge Loop trail has a total length of 5.6 miles, and it can be found in the Mississippi Gorge Park.
This is the place where nature joins with history, and it is one of the most interesting urban hikes in Minneapolis for both families and hikers with any level of experience.
This loop trail will circle around the banks of the Mississippi River, and you will pass by some really cool rock formations. You can scramble in these areas if you want to.
As well as this, you will also pass by the St. Anthony Falls and the surrounding forests in the area. The whole way, you will be surrounded by some of the best views that you will ever see, including that of the Minneapolis skyline.
The main reason why people love this trail so much is that you really feel like you are entering into nature, even though you are just a few minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Minnehaha Creek & Falls
Minnehaha Creek & Falls offers 1.8 miles of breathtaking scenery, and it can be located in Minnehaha Park.
This is the perfect trail for those who love waterfalls, as this is an easy, accessible, and stunning waterfall trail that is just on the outskirts of the city. It offers hikers flat terrain and excellent photo opportunities.
This is one of the most popular hikes in Minneapolis, and the waterfall has a 50 foot drop, allowing you to witness a wide and powerful cascade that will leave you in awe of its beauty.
Although, due to the fact that this trail is so popular, it is likely that the trail will be quite busy during peak times, so you might be better off going on a weekday or in the morning. There will be much smaller crowds at these times.
Hidden Falls Trail
The Hidden Falls Trail is 3.3 miles long, and it can be found in the Hidden Falls Regional Park.
This is another favorite spot for hiking in Minneapolis, and it features stunning tree-lined trails that can be found just a quick drive from downtown.
You will be able to hike through magical sets of waterfalls in the forest, and the sights are truly breathtaking.
At this location, you will be able to spot Mississippi River views, woodland bridges that slot right into their surroundings, glorious trees, and most obviously, the hidden waterfalls themselves.#
This is one of the most loved hikes in Minneapolis, so it is definitely worth arriving here early if you want to completely enjoy the peaceful nature that this trail has to offer.
Moderate And Hard Hikes In Minneapolis
Now that you know where all of the best places are to go if you are looking for a peaceful walk or an easier hike in Minneapolis, we are now going to look at some of the more difficult hikes in the area.
These are often better suited for hikers with much more experience and are looking for a bigger challenge.
Pleasant Valley Lakelet And Lower Bluff Trail Loop
The Pleasant Valley Lakelet and Lower Bluff Trail Loop has a total length of 6.6 miles, and it can be found in the Frontenac State Park.
If you are looking to escape the business of the city for the day and go somewhere for some peace and quiet, then this could be the perfect trail for you.
This is an extremely scenic trail that can be found just over an hour away from the Twin Cities area.
It is home to super interesting historic buildings, quiet woods, and amazing views of the bluffs that are surrounding the Mississippi River.
There are not many hikes that are near Minneapolis and offer so much variety, so you should definitely make the most of it.
This is a moderately difficult hike, but it is also accessible to hikers with less experience that are looking for more of a challenge.
Mount Tom Trail
The Mount Tom trail is a total of 3.9 miles long and is located in Sibley State Park. This is not a hugely popular trail in the area, which means that it is one of the quieter hikes that you can go on in Minneapolis.
There is lots of nature and stunning views to soak in along the way, and this trail is rated as having a moderate difficulty.
It features a gradual incline that allows you to overlook the tower at the top, and if you do choose to climb the overlook tower, you are sure to be rewarded with amazing views of the nearby Shakopee Creek and Mount Tom itself.
Lots of people love this trail, but you should be warned you will need to pack bug spray during the wetter times of the year. It is also a good idea to wear trousers if you want to avoid being bitten.
Hidden Falls Loop
The Hidden Falls Loop is 8 miles long and is located in the Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park.
Although we have already mentioned the Hidden Falls trail on this list, the Hidden Falls Loop is a different hike to try out near Minneapolis if you are looking for something with a higher level of difficulty.
There are lots of trails surrounding Hidden Falls, and they connect to form a large loop.
Some of the trails that we are talking about here are the Fawn, Hope, Beaver, Maple, Big Woods, and Fox trails that all reside within the park.
The main reason why people love this trail so much is due to the fact that the hike has lots of refreshing scenery, as well as diverse terrain if you manage to complete the entire loop.
Although, you should know that the trails at this park are subject to close in bad weather due to mud and flooding, so you should be sure to check this before you plan your journey.
Prairie And Deer Valley Loop
The Prairie and Deer Valley loop is a total of 19.3 miles long, and it can be found in Afton State Park.
This is yet another favorite trail in the Twin Cities area, and this is mostly because it is one of very few places when people can ‘actually’ go hiking in Minneapolis, but this depends on your definition of hiking.
This is definitely a rare treat for hikers that are looking for something more complex and challenging.
Due to the fact that this is a more difficult trail, you can expect to have to overcome more challenging terrain here than in many of the other trails that we have mentioned.
Although, it is totally worth the effort, as the vantage point near the St. Croix River will offer you excellent views of pretty much the entire trail, including the prairies, forests, wildflowers, and waterways.
The Devil’s Kettle trail is 2 miles long, and it can be found in Judge C.R. Magney State Park.
It is home to powerful waterfalls and various amazing photo opportunities, and this is one of the most popular hikes near Minneapolis.
It includes lots of stairs, and there is a moderate incline that will take you all the way from the trailhead to the viewpoint of a magnificent set of waterfalls.
There are picturesque wooden boardwalks and stairs that will provide a trail that is easy to navigate and that leads straight past the majestic waterfalls.
This is not the easiest of trails to navigate, but the views that you will be presented with are more than worth the many stairs that you will need to climb to reach the top.
Pincushion Mountain Trail
The Pincushion Mountain trail is 9 miles long, and it is located in the Superior National Forest.
It is a combination of forests, lakes, and creeks that all meet at the scenic Pincushion Mountain trail. It is more than 4 hours away from Minneapolis, but it is well worth the journey.
The terrain and the forests at this location will provide the opportunity for you to be transported into a totally different environment.
This trail is not like many of the other hikes in the area, and the forests that envelop the train are mostly made up of evergreen trees, which provides the trail with an almost Pacific Northwest vibe.
This is one of the most scenic hiking trails to take near Minneapolis, and it is a great choice for people that have some extra hiking experience under their belts.
The path will wind through stunning green forests that will allow you to look out over Lake Superior, in addition to the surrounding rocky cliffs and gorgeous creeks.
One of the main reasons why this trail is so popular is due to the wide and sweeping views of Lake Superior, as well as the green forests that stretch all the way to the shores.
What You Should Take Hiking In And Near Minneapolis
When it comes to hiking in and near Minneapolis, you will first need to make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion.
You will need to wear breathable hiking clothes for warmer hikes that will allow you to stay cool.
On the other hand, if you are hiking in colder weather, it is important to dress in layers and wear a down jacket to keep warm.
It is also a good idea to take a waterproof jacket with you in rainier seasons, and come equipped with a good pair of hiking boots.
It can also be a good idea to take some trekking poles with you. You might not need them for every hike that is on our list, but they will come in handy at times.
It can be helpful to take ones that are lightweight, durable, and easy to transport.
One item that is essential no matter which hike you are going on is a bottle of water. It is really important to stay hydrated on your hike, especially in warmer weather.
Sunscreen and bug spray are two other items that you will need if you want to avoid sunburn or being bitten by bugs, which are two things that commonly occur on hikes.
Finally, you should pack a first aid kit filled with essential items for any emergency, just in case.
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