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.

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 and turf 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 â€“ 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

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 & Process

Hours: Noon-7 PM, Daily through Labor Day

New in 2020: Boat rentals can be reserved online or in person at the visitor center. 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

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.

Closed

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

0.5 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

Ongoing | Multiple Locations
Enjoy nighttime adventures under the magic of a full moon. Experience the beauty of the parks at night and see which creatures come out to greet you.

Ongoing | Multiple Locations
Students can fulfill curriculum needs and personal interests while developing an understanding of science, the natural world, art and more!

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.

French Master Plan

Three Rivers is developing a revised vision for French Regional Park. Learn more about the master plan and share your feedback in a survey.

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 69–71: Prairies

Prairies used to cover 18 million acres of Minnesota. Today, just over 1 percent is left. Listen in as we explore the importance of prairies and how we are working to protect them.

Related Blog Posts

October 13, 2020

Wood ducks are one of the most spectacular birds in North America. Learn what Three Rivers is doing to provide the space they need to nest and thrive in our parks. 

September 28, 2020

Purple martin numbers are in decline in the Upper Midwest. But with the help of dedicated volunteers, Three Rivers has successfully increased the martin populations in our parks. 

September 07, 2020

While dryland training is commonly used to prepare for winter sports, anyone can benefit from it. Learn what dryland training means and what kinds of exercises you can incorporate into your visit to the parks. 

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