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

Plan Your Visit

30 Minutes

Walk the paved path to the lake and enjoy lunch with a view at one of the many picnic tables along the lake. On your way back, burn off some energy with your family on the newly remodeled play area that features towers, nets, slides, swings and more. 

2 Hours

Bike or walk the 4.6-mile paved loop around the park and take in views of Medicine Lake. Stop by the pier near the rental equipment building and look for turtles, geese, ducks and other wildlife in the wetlands. Pack snacks and relax at the picnic areas near the beach, where you’ll find a perfect open space to fly a kite and gorgeous fall views over Medicine Lake.

All Day

Plan a full day of adventure hiking on the turf trails through the park! Park at the lot near the nature exploration area and head north. Explore the woods, look for wildlife and take in the sights. This area offers relaxing and peaceful views in the heart of the city. Follow the trail north and cross the paved trail to continue, where you’ll find the Meadow Trail and Lakeview Trail loops. Follow the Lakeview Trail back to the visitor center and treat yourself to something fun from the concession stand! End your day with a stroll down to Medicine Lake for colorful sunset views.

See 30-minute, 2-hour and all-day ideas for more parks!

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. Classic and skate ski rentals are available at the Visitor Center. See rental rates. Make sure trails are open before you head out.

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 trails. Owners must pick-up after their dogs.

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. Units may only be used in the park and must be returned before closing.

Hiking

Hiking

Man hiking on paved trail in the woods

10.4 miles of trails

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 Medicine Lake and Bassett Creek Regional Trails. Nordic walking poles and GPS units with pre-loaded geocaches are available to rent for free at the visitor center.

Fall Hiking – Lighted Trails

Hike under the lights in fall. The following trails at French have lights on until 9:00 PM until winter trail operations begin (typically after 2–3 inches of snowfall). 

  • Lagoon
  • Lakeview
  • Skyline
Paddling

Paddling

Family paddling on lake in a canoe

886 acres of water

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

Rental Hours:

10 AM-8 PM daily Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

See pricing.

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. 

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

0.5 miles and 8 acres

Explore two different areas where you can go off-trail with your snowshoes. One area is along the shore of Medicine Lake and the lagoons, the other is in the northeast portion of the park and includes a wetland area.

Snowshoes are available to rent at the Visitor Center. See pricing.

Swimming

Swimming

Children swimming in lake

Closed

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

 

Upcoming Events

Sept. 15 | MAC Wildlife Area
Try rock climbing, geocaching and more! Search for critters and explore with naturalists.

Sept. 17 & 19 | French & Hyland
Get ready for ski season with the dryland training club! Work on conditioning, balance, strength and more.

Sept. 22 | French & Lowry
Explore the play areas, buildings and trails at French Regional Park and Lowry Nature Center during these designated calmer times. Noise-cancelling headphones and sensory objects will be available. 

All Programs and 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.

Facility Hours

Visitor Center:

August: 9 AM–8 PM daily

Play Area:

9 AM–sunset, daily

Swimming Beach:

Closed for the season.

Equipment Rental:

Closed for the season.

Shuttle:

Closed for the season.

Equipment Rental

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

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.

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

#threeriversparks

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 25–28: 50 Years of Environmental Stewardship

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lowry Nature Center and the prairie at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Learn how Three Rivers has helped paved the way for environmental stewardship over the last 50-plus years.

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