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.

Plan Your Visit

30 Minutes

For a unique experience, visit the Grimm Farm Historic Site. Explore the grounds and learn about the significant role the Grimm Family played in the Minnesota’s agriculture and dairy farming history. Want an in-depth account of the Grimm Family? Visit the Three Rivers Blog and read A Grimm Dairy Tale.

2 Hours

Spend a couple of hours exploring Lowry Nature Center, celebrating 50 years as nature’s classroom in 2019. While at Lowry, there is plenty to explore both inside and out. Keep an eye out for osprey nesting in the park, or stop by the raptor mew and learn about other birds of prey in the area. Explore and play on your own or check out the program offerings happening many weekend days throughout the year.

All Day

Bring your bike for a full day of adventure at Carver Park Reserve! Nine miles of trail will take you through much of the park where you can enjoy multiple vistas and wildlife viewing points. Stop by the Grimm Farm and Lowry Nature Center to explore and learn about the significant cultural and natural significance of the area. 

The paved trail in Carver Park Reserve also connects with the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail, where you can ride the 15 mile trail to Hopkins and enjoy beautiful views of Lake Minnetonka along the way. 

Make a weekend of it and stay in one of the bike-in campsites available at Lake Auburn Campground for just $10 per tent.

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

things to do

Archery

Archery

Children aiming at targets

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.

Bike Trail

Biking

Man biking on paved trail

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.

 

Boat Launch

Boating

Man and child fishing from boat

604 acres of water

Carver Park Reserve has access to three lakes. Stieger and Auburn offer boat launches and accessible fishing piers. Zumbra offers a boat launch. On Stieger, gas motors are allowed but no wake. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent at the campground. Call for hours.

Campground

Camping

Woman in tent

57 campsites

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. Five rustic group campsites are also available for reservation.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing

Skier on groomed trail

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. Classic and skate ski equipment rentals are available on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, when conditions permit. Don't forget to check the trail conditions before you head out.

Dog Trails - Off Leash

Dog Off-Leash

Dogs without leash

27 fenced acres

Let your four-legged friend roam free. A 27-acre off-leash area provides dogs ample room to run. The perimeter is completely fenced, and there is a separate section for small and/or frail dogs. Owners must pick-up after their dog. An annual or daily pass is required.

Dog Trails - On Leash

Dog Trails

Dogs on leash with companions

9.1 miles of trails

Dogs are allowed on all paved trails with a six-foot, non-retractable leash. Owners must pick-up after their dogs.
 

Fishing / Fishing Pier

Fishing

Children fishing from boat

846 acres of water

Dip a line in Stieger or Auburn lakes from the accessible fishing piers, or from a boat, canoe or kayak.

Geocaching

Geocaching

GPS units on table

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.

Hiking

Hiking

Family hiking wooded trail

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.
 

History Education

History Exploration

Grimm Farm House

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.
 

Horse Trails

Horseback Riding

Family horseback riding

9.2 miles of trails, open

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.

Nature Education

Nature Education

Young child looking at bug

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.

Paddling

Paddling

Youth kayaking on lake

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

Through Labor Day:

10 AM-8 PM, Thursday–Sunday 

Rentals available for groups Monday-Wednesday upon request. Call 763.694.2012 to make arrangements.

September 3–29:

10 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday

See rental pricing.

Picnic Area

Picnic Areas

Family at a picnic table

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.

Play Area

Play Areas

Two boys smile at the end of a silde

Open

"Habitats" play area at Lowry Nature Center is a place where children can interact with nature on a grand scale. While camping at Lake Auburn Campground, kids can burn energy on the play equipment.

Sledding

Sledding

Girl sledding on hill

Looking to get the wiggles out on a wintery day? Just a short jaunt outside of the entrance to Lowry Nature Center you’ll find an exciting sliding hill. A limited number of sleds are available to rent during nature center hours. Snowboards, tubes or railed sleds are not permitted. 

Snowmobile Trail

Snowmobiling

Snowmobilers on wooded trail

Carver Park provides links through the park along the west and south-western boundary to state Grants-in-Aid snowmobile trails.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Group exploring park on snowshoes

3.9 miles of trails

If snowshoeing interests you, you can rent a pair at Lowry Nature Center and explore a winter wonderland along the nature center trails.

Swimming

Swimming

Person on dock

Closed

Escape the beach crowds at the small unguarded beach at Lake Auburn Campground. Hours are 9:00 AM–8:00 PM, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Upcoming Events

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. 

Monday, Sept. 23
Celebrate the beginning of the best campfire season with 10% off when you register on September 23!

Sept. 22 & 23 | Multiple Locations
Celebrate the fall equinox in the parks! Explore the science of fall colors, try hands-on activities, take a guided nature walk and more.

All Programs and Events

Construction Begins On Carver Singletrack Trail

Construction is underway on the new Carver Singletrack Trail. The trail is anticipated to open in late spring or early summer of 2020. Learn more about the project

Natural Resources

Three Rivers takes great care to preserve the natural beauty of this park through the efforts of the Natural Resources division. In 1984, Three Rivers' placed six young osprey in Carver Park Reserve to establish a viable nesting population. 

Volunteering

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

Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund logoFunding to purchase a portion of the land for this park was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

#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.

The Three Rivers Blog

September 03, 2019

Friday is National Read a Book Day. To help you prepare, Mary Magers, bookseller at Minneapolis independent bookstore Magers & Quinn, agreed to share some of her favorite books about the natural world. From pollinators to weather to winter survival and more, read on to find your next page-turner.

August 26, 2019

Believe it or not, fall bird migration is already starting! From ospreys to owls to waterfowl, read all about what birds pass through our area of Minnesota and where in Three Rivers you can expect to see them. 

August 05, 2019

Saturday is National S'mores Day! Read on to find fun takes on the classic camping dessert, alternatives for dietary restrictions and ways to celebrate with Three Rivers. 

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