More Quiet(er) Parks to Explore

By: Erin Korsmo & Andrea Breitung

May 11, 2020

Category: Recreation

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.

1. Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, Brooklyn Park

A woman and her daughter sit on a log on the banks of a MIssissippi River.

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.

2. Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista

A green pasture is dotted with sheep.

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.

3. Anderson Lakes, Eden Prairie

A paved trail winds through the 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.

4. The Landing, Shakopee

Historic buildings line a gravel road.

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.

5. Tierney’s Woods, Bloomington

A steep dirt trail goes through the woods in spring.

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.

About the Authors

A woman in a black jacket smiles.

Erin Korsmo is the Web Coordinator at Three Rivers Park District. Her background is in journalism and content strategy. Erin has a longstanding passion for the outdoors. As a child, she went camping every summer and volunteered to count loons for the DNR with her family. Erin is a Minnesota Master Naturalist in the deciduous forest and prairie biomes. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, identifying and photographing plants and wildlife, crafting, and spending time with her husband and cat.

Andrea in a quinzhee

Andrea Breitung is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Three Rivers. She has been with the Park District in various roles since 2001. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology. When not working, she likes to go camping, hiking, geocaching, biking, and paddling, as well as spend time with her boyfriend and fur kids.


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