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.

Horse Trail Conditions

Check horse trail conditions before you head out.

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.

Carver Park Reserve also has five rustic group campsites. Some group sites are now open! 

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 on a six-foot, non-retractable leash are allowed on paved and turf trails except where otherwise noted. 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, closed

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 & Process

Hours: Noon-7 PM, Thursday-Sunday

New in 2020: All boat rentals must be reserved online. Boats can be reserved in two-hour time blocks up to seven days in advance. Same-day reservations are available. See rental rates.

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

Lake Auburn Campground play area: Open
Lowry Nature Center play area: Closed

"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

Open

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

Explore Carver with KARE 11

Learn all about Carver Park Reserve and other Three Rivers parks in KARE 11's Hitting the Trails series.

Upcoming Events

July 11-26 | Multiple Locations
This year, Big Woods Classic is going virtual. Ride anytime and record your results. We've also added two more course options. Ride one or all three! Registration is open until July 23.

Ongoing | Multiple Locations
Learn the basics of archery and give shooting a try!

Ongoing | Multiple Locations
Go for a guided morning canoe on a serene lake, learn the essentials of kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and more!

All Programs and Events

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 57–59: Farming

Learn about agriculture in Minnesota from the past to the future. Hear from a Seneca Elder, learn about the origins of the dairy industry in the Midwest, and listen as Gale Woods Farm staff discuss the future of farming.

The Three Rivers Blog

July 13, 2020

Native woodland plants are disappearing from our forests. Learn what's causing this and how we're working to protect our forest understories.

June 15, 2020

Learn all about Minnesota's largest turtle, from the long list of things they eat to the huge number of eggs they can lay at once to what you can do to help protect them.

Best Places to Paddle Part 2

By: Grant Armour

June 08, 2020

Find serenity and relaxation on the water this summer. From lakes teeming with wildlife to calm waters with island shoreline to explore, read on to find some more of our favorite places to paddle in Three Rivers. 

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