Where To Go
Baker Park Reserve, Maple Plain
Start the day with a hike on the turf trail near Marshview Group Camp. Park at the trailhead on the north side of County Road 24, across from the Near-Wilderness Settlement entrance. Stroll the grassy trail and take in the fall colors of maples and basswood trees. Watch for wildlife like eagles soaring overhead, birds flitting through tree canopies and pond critters in the marsh.
Bring lunch and enjoy a picnic at the family picnic area on the eastern shore of Lake Independence, near the recreation entrance. Enjoy tranquil and colorful autumn views reflected on the lake.
Bryant Lake Regional Park, Eden Prairie
It’s easy to spend a full day enjoying everything Bryant Lake Regional Park has to offer. Bring your fishing pole and start off your day by dropping a line from the fishing pier. Keep your catch in a cooler and then head to the play area to burn off some energy. The play area features a series of nets to climb on and a toddler area for younger kids to enjoy.
Pack a picnic lunch or visit the concession stand for a treat. Challenge your friends to a round of disc golf! Day passes are available for purchase. Need discs? No problem! Bryant Lake has discs available to rent for $5.
Carver Park Reserve, Victoria
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.
Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake
Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch at one of the picnic shelters and play a game of sand volleyball. Go for a woodland treasure hunt and use your smart device to find a geocache or two. GPS units are also available to rent from the visitor center. Explore the woods on the Lakeside and Upper Ironwood trails and look for wildlife. End the day with a nap under big trees — the grassy areas below are a perfect place to hang a hammock and catch a quick snooze in the shade.
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Brooklyn Park
becoming Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.
Rent a backpack exploration kit from the visitor center and hike the 5.9 miles of turf trails south of the visitor center, where you can use your kit and explore the natural area. Some kits include binoculars, fun family activities, identification books and insect nets. The two turf trails follow the river downstream and offer gorgeous views of islands and back channels. Look for herons, eagles and other birds on your hike! Remember to pack snacks and stop at a rest area on your hike, where you can have lunch with a view. After you return your kit, visit the aquarium and see live animals up close!
Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, Rogers
Needing some solitude in the prairie? Spend the entire day hiking the 18 miles of turf trails through the park. Pack a lunch and find a peaceful spot along the trail to sit and bask in the quiet serenity and take in colorful fall views.
Bring your binoculars and watch for wildlife. Look for bumble bees buzzing over wildflowers and snakes slithering through the tall grasses. Watch for foxes on the trail and hawks soaring the blue skies overhead. Tip: Pack a journal and record your adventure in the prairie to remember and share it always.
Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove
Enjoy a full day of adventure with family or friends in Elm Creek! Start at the recreation area and hike the turf trails south of Mud Lake. Pack a picnic lunch or treat yourself to something from the concessions stand. Burn off any energy you have left at one of the largest play areas in the state! You’ll find swings, slides, ropes and other fun features.
French Regional Park, Plymouth
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.
Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista
Pack a picnic lunch and walk or bike to the farm from the Dakota Rail Regional Trail. Continue your trek on the 2.1-mile limestone trail that winds through the rolling hills of the park. Take the 0.5-mile trail around the pastures to the accessible fishing pier and enjoy the peaceful, quiet views over Whaletail Lake. This is a wonderful place to watch the sunset and spot wildlife.
Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington
Spend your day at Richardson Nature Center, where you can explore several nature exhibits, including an active bee hive, and see live animals up close! Rent a bird-watching backpack or pond exploration kit from the front desk and discover life around you on one of the many trails around the nature center. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch at a picnic area. Stick around for a program and learn more about life in the park.
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, Rockford
Pack a picnic, your bike, and spend a full day in the park! Work up a sweat goofing around at the play area near the beach or biking the paved loop through the park. Enjoy a picnic lunch after and bask in the scenery of the great outdoors. Tip: Bring your favorite book or journal and read or write in the serenity of nature under a tall oak tree.
Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, Savage
Pack a lunch and try geocaching! There are over 30 geocaches waiting to be found on over 20 miles of trails.
Silverwood Park, St. Anthony
Spend a fall day in the park hiking under tall colorful oak trees and explore the sculptures and poetry installations along the trail. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the island and look for ducks, cormorants, and other wildlife on your adventure or stop into the café for an after-hike treat. You’ve earned it!
Rainy day? Grab a coffee or tea from the café and meander around the gallery and check out the latest art exhibitions.
Spring Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake
Find one of the geocaches hidden in the area. All you need is your smart device to take you on a walk and an adventure all in one. There are a few picnic tables and benches near the parking lot for a quiet spot to enjoy a break or a meal.
The Landing, Shakopee
Note: Please check park hours for the date and time you plan to visit.
Immerse yourself in 19th-century life at a living history event. Explore the buildings and meet costumed interpreters. Pack a picnic lunch or buy concession food onsite.