Carver Park Reserve
Situated on the western edge of the Twin Cities, Carver Park Reserve is home to Lowry Nature Center, Grimm Farm Historic Site and King Waterbird Sanctuary. Here, you may spot trumpeter swans, osprey, mink, white-tailed deer, barred owls and a variety of waterfowl and songbirds. Explore year-round activities that take advantage of winding trails, rolling wooded terrain and interconnected lakes and marshes.
things to do
Range & Walking Course
Keep those skills sharp at the Carver Park archery range. Targets at multiple distances and an elevated platform provide plenty of opportunities to work on your shot, and the walk-through course will have you primed for the season. An annual or daily pass is required for individuals 16 and older.
9.1 miles of trails
A well-maintained, paved trail creates a loop on both the eastern and western sections of the park, with a connecting link in the central part of the park. The trail travels through the park's big woods and along the many marshes. The trail connects to Lowry Nature Center, Lake Auburn Campground and the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail.
For an authentic camping experience, try the Lake Auburn campground. This 57-site rustic public campground is located near an unguarded beach, play equipment, miles of trails and other park amenities for true outdoor fun. Carver Park Reserve also has five rustic group campsites.
11.3 miles of trails
An extensive network of trails groomed for skate and classic skiing winds through the western portion of the park, passing scenic overlooks along the way. One trail leads to Lowry Nature Center. Skiers ages 12 and older must have a Three Rivers Park District daily or annual cross-country ski pass.
NEW FOR THE 2020-21 SEASON: Classic and skate ski equipment rentals are available to reserve online up to seven days in advance, when conditions permit.
Don't forget to check the trail conditions before you head out.
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.
25.7 miles of trails
A well-maintained paved trail runs along both the eastern and western sections of the park. A centrally located link takes you to a variety of scenic overlooks. Wildlife in Carver Park Reserve may be spotted along the turf trails, as well as over 1,700 feet of floating boardwalk that take you through marsh and tamarack swamps.
Please note: In winter, hiking on cross-country ski trails is not permitted.
Within Carver Park Reserve, you’ll find the Grimm Farm Historic Site, often called the birthplace of the Dairy Belt. The farmhouse area serves as an educational facility where guests have the opportunity to experience Minnesota’s agricultural heritage and explore the relationship between food, land and people. Open seasonally.
9.2 miles of trails
Extensive horse trails take riders past many of the lakes and marshes in the western portion of the park. Limited trailer parking is available off of Grimm Road. Horse trails are not open during the winter. An annual or daily pass is required for each rider age 16 or older. Three Rivers Park District does not rent horses.
The first public nature center built in the Twin Cities, Lowry Nature Center is a beautiful, prairie-style building nestled in the middle of Carver Park Reserve. Inside, view seasonal interpretive displays, visit our live animals, observe birds in our wildlife viewing area, or just relax near the fireplace or on the deck.
704 acres of water
Carver Park Reserve has access to three lakes: Zumbra, Steiger and Auburn. Launch your own boat on all three, or rent a canoe, kayak or rowboat at Lake Auburn Campground. Steiger Lake has a no-wake restriction.
Rental Hours & Process
- Through Labor Day: Noon-7 PM, Thursday-Sunday
- Sept. 8-27: Noon-6 PM, Saturday & Sunday
New in 2020: Boat rentals can be reserved online or in person at the Lake Auburn Campground office. Boats can be reserved in two-hour time blocks up to seven days in advance. Same-day reservations are available. See rental rates.
Grab a bite and some rays at one of the first-come, first-served picnic areas found is the north-western portion of the park reserve. The Springview Picnic Area is also available for group reservations (not available in 2021).
3.9 miles of trails
Ongoing | Multiple Locations
Students can fulfill curriculum needs and personal interests while developing an understanding of science, the natural world, art and more!
Feb. 7-16 | Multiple Locations
Celebrate Valentine's day outdoors! Go for a candlelit snowshoe, try kicksledding, cozy up around a campfire and more.
All Programs and Events
View upcoming programs and events at Carver!
Volunteers are an important part of the operations at Carver Park Reserve. Put your talent, passion, and energy to use in the parks by volunteering.
Funding to purchase a portion of the land for this park was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The Three Rivers Blog
By: Lisa Kapsner-Swift
One Three Rivers enthusiast challenged herself to ride 140 miles in three days between all seven of the Three Rivers park reserves. Read all about why she did it, how it went and how it felt to complete this journey.
By: John Moriarty
It takes months of planning and preparation to conduct a controlled prairie or woodland burn. As our Natural Resources staff plans for next year's burns, read on to learn about all of the steps they take before ever lighting a fire.
Aerations systems will be installed in several lakes in and near Three Rivers parks. Operation of the aeration systems may result in unsafe ice conditions on portions of the lakes for the duration of the winter.
KARE 11's Hitting the Trails series highlights Three Rivers Parks.
The design for the Carver singletrack trail was finalized, and construction started the first week of September.
Three Rivers is part of a statewide effort to restore bee populations and learn more about their needs.