Clifton E. French Regional Park

Along the north shore of Medicine Lake there are a variety of opportunities for outdoor exploration. French Regional Park offers amenities such as a swimming beach, fishing pier, lighted trails and more.

French PDF Maps

Summer | Winter

Tree Identification Hike

Find yourself in the parks with the Avenza app! Learn more.

Things To Do

Bike Trail

Biking

Group biking on paved trail

4.6 miles of trails

The parks paved biking/hiking trails provide a loop between the visitor center and beach. The park is also a great place to begin an adventure on the connecting Medicine Lake and Bassett Creek Regional Trails.

Boat Launch

Boating

Man fishing from boat

886 acres of water

Limited parking spaces are available for those launching watercraft; a daily or annual trailer parking pass is required. Paddleboats, rowboats, kayaks and canoes are available to rent during the summer. Sailboat slips and canoe/kayak racks are also available to rent.

Please contact the French Visitor Center at 763-694-7750 with any questions.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country Skiing

Skiers on a groomed trail

5.8 miles of trails

Lighted cross-country ski trails start at the visitor center and are groomed daily. A daily or season Three Rivers Park District Ski Pass is required.

New for the 2020-21 season: Classic and skate ski rentals are available by advance reservation only. 

Make sure trails are open before you visit.

Dog Trails - On Leash

Dog Trails

Women walking with stroller and leashed dog

4.6 miles of trails

Dogs on a six-foot, non-retractable leash are allowed on paved and turf trails. Owners must pick-up after their dogs. Dogs are not permitted on cross-country ski trails in the winter.

Fishing / Fishing Pier

Fishing

Man showing of the fish he caught

886 acres of water

With nearly a mile of shoreline to explore, dip a line into the quiet lagoon or the open waters of Medicine Lake. An accessible fishing pier is available or rent a boat to while away the afternoon. A valid Minnesota fishing license is required.

Geocaching

Geocaching

Group looking at GPS units

Geocaching is a family-friendly, high-tech treasure hunt that combines respect for the environment with a sense of adventure. This activity involves placing or looking for a cache using global positioning system (GPS) equipment. GPS units with pre-loaded geocaches are available to check-out for free at the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis (currently not available due to COVID-19). Units may only be used in the park and must be returned before closing.

Hiking

Hiking

Man hiking on paved trail in the woods

Spring, Summer, Fall: 10.4 miles | Winter: 2.7 miles

Spring, Summer & Fall Hiking

Turf trails feature views of marshlands, hills for climbing and a few seating areas for relaxing. Near the visitor center, a paved, 1.1-mile Trail at Your Pace features gentle terrain and rest stops every quarter mile. Paved trails provide a loop between the visitor center and beach and access to the paved Medicine Lake Regional Trail. Nordic walking poles and GPS units with pre-loaded geocaches are available to rent for free at the visitor center (currently unavailable due to COVID-19).

Fall Hiking – Lighted Trails:

Hike under the lights in fall. The Lagoon, Lakeview and Skyline have lights on until 9 PM until winter trail operations begin (typically after 2–3 inches of snowfall).

Winter Hiking & Walking

Go for a walk on the Medicine Lake Regional Trail, which connects French to Fish Lake Regional Park and Elm Creek Park Reserve. Access the trail from the French Visitor Center. For a different adventure, visit the 30-acre Nature Exploration Area. This natural area offers an ungroomed turf trail that circles a pond and wetlands. Challenge yourself on hills and valleys. Areas may be icy or snow-packed in winter. Boot grips and/or hiking poles are recommended.

Please note: In winter, hiking on cross-country ski trails is not permitted.

Paddling

Paddling

Family paddling on lake in a canoe

886 acres of water

Rowboats, kayaks and canoes are available to rent. Limited parking spaces are available for those launching their own watercraft; a daily or annual trailer parking pass is required.

Rental Hours & Process

Memorial Day Weekend–Labor Day
Daily: 10 AM–8 PM
Beach

Reserve a boat online. (Beginning May 24)

Boats can be reserved online up to seven days in advance or in person. Reserving online is encouraged to ensure availability.

Picnic Area

Picnic Areas

Girl enjoying a hotdog at a picnic

Picnic tables and grills are provided on a first-come, first-served basis near the lake and next to the visitor center. Two picnic areas with shelters are reservable for groups. The Visitor Center has concessions, public seating and restrooms.

Play Area

Play Areas

play area with a green slide.

Open

The new French Regional Park play area features iconic towers and nets, slides and more. Learn more about the project and see photos of the new play area. 

Hours: 9 AM–sunset, daily

Sledding

Sledding

Kids sledding on hill

A lighted and groomed sledding hill for non-rail sleds is located near the visitor center. Rent a sled from the visitor center or bring your own. Snowboards and tubes are not allowed.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Girl running on snowshoes

0.9 miles and 30 acres

Explore two different areas to snowshoe in the park. Please note: Snowshoeing is not permitted on cross-country ski trails unless otherwise noted.

Nature Exploration Area: This 30-acre natural area offers an ungroomed turf trail that circles a pond and wetland and offers hills and valleys to traverse.

Lagoon Trail: This 1.5K lighted trail is groomed for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Great for beginners, it traverses through woods, along the lagoon and over gentle hills. Lighted until 10 PM.

Rent Snowshoes

Snowshoes are available to rent online up to seven days in advance. Advance reservations are required.

Swimming

Swimming

Children swimming in lake

Open

Beat the summer heat at the Medicine Lake swimming beach. Changing rooms and restrooms are located nearby. No lifeguard on duty.

 

Upcoming Events

Food Web Journey

August 6 & 7 | Fish & French
Step into the food web game and imagine yourself as predator or prey. 

All Programs & Events

Quietly paddle Medicine Lake, work on strength and flexibility in Vinyasa Flow Yoga, get fit outdoors with the GreenFit Club or browse all programs offered at French Regional Park.

French Regional Park offers indoor and outdoor spaces that are perfect for meetings, retreats, weddings, and other events.

Equipment Rental

Need some gear? No problem. Three Rivers offers rental equipment for nearly any activity.

French Master Plan

Three Rivers is developing a revised vision for French Regional Park. Learn more about the master plan.

French Play Area Virtual Tour

Climb the towers, scale the nets and fly down the slides in a tour of French Play Area.

Natural Resources

Turtle Survey

In the spring of 2016, the University of St. Thomas and the Park District launched a three year project at French Regional Park to study turtle population dynamics in an urban lake.

#threeriversparks

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 93-95: The Crow River

Tune into The Wandering Naturalist as Angela and Brandon discuss the third of our three rivers ⁠— the Crow River.  Learn about the many challenges that face this river and what is being done to protect and improve it.

Related Blog Posts

July 19, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Beth Kalpin was looking for safe ways to get herself and her family out of the house. A walk through Hyland Lake Park Reserve kicked off what would become a year of new adventures at Three Rivers. From kicksledding to fly fishing and everything in between, read all about their year of outdoor explorations. 

June 14, 2021

When an invasive species isn't immediately eradicated, things can get tough to control. Learn about the most widespread invasive species in Three Rivers and how we and our wonderful volunteers manage them to protect our high-quality forests.

Species Spotlight: Beavers

By: Steven Hogg

March 08, 2021

Beavers are found throughout Minnesota and Three Rivers Parks, but how much do you really know about them? Learn all about their unique adaptations to living in the water, how they survive winter, and how and why their populations are managed.

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