As the weather continues to warm and the leaves on the trees grow larger, the pull to be outdoors is greater than ever. A few weeks ago, we shared some of our favorite parks for finding solitude and social distance. Today, we’re sharing a few more. From rolling farm fields to woodland oases, read on to find five more of our favorite spots to get away from it all.
Experience the magic of the Mississippi River from this unique gem in Three Rivers. Situated on a part of the river that is shallow and calm enough to wade into, this park is truly a gateway to the river. Take a stroll across Coon Rapids Dam, or go for a hike on the turf trail along the river. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles, osprey, great blue herons and other wildlife that live in the area.
Learn more about Mississippi Gateway from KARE 11's Hitting the Trails series.
With 3.5 miles of trails, Gale Woods Farm is a beautiful place to go for a hike. Take a stroll down to Whaletail Lake for gorgeous water views. Other trails take you through serene forests and around the pastures for possible animal viewing.
Please note that the barn and education center are closed. For the safety of the farm animals, dogs are not allowed at Gale Woods.
Nestled on the south end of Southwest Anderson Lake just a few minutes from Hyland Visitor Center, Anderson Lakes offers 2.1 miles of trails that take you through woodland, grassland and wetland habitats. The paved and turf trails are mostly flat, making it an accessible option for most. Choose your own adventure with a large loop or smaller loops. Parking here is limited, so consider an early morning or late evening visit.
As you walk, keep your eyes open for wildlife. This time of year, you might see hooded mergansers paddling around the pond or red-winged blackbirds calling from the cattails.
Go back in time as you stroll through The Landing’s historic village. See examples of 1800s architecture set against the backdrop of the Minnesota River. For a more natural experience, a 1.1-mile, unpaved hiking trail offers scenic views of the river and some of the best bird watching in the Twin Cities.
The Landing also connects to the Minnesota Valley State Trail. Bikes and dogs (on six-foot, non-retractable leashes) are both now welcome here. Parking is available at the main (west) entrance.
For quiet seclusion without the drive or long trails, try Tierney’s Woods. Its 1.8 miles of challenging, hilly turf trails wind through a picturesque woodland oasis. Listen for birds as you pass wetland areas. In the spring, look for blooming jack-in-the-pulpits and other woodland wildflowers. Hike all the trails, or choose shorter loops for a quick visit. Please note that parking is limited.