Fall is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the changing colors!

No matter what the time of year, I love enjoying all that nature near us has to offer. Whether it’s a short stroll or rigorous hike, the surrounding cities have many trails, wildlife and history to offer. Here are some of our favorite Twin Cities hikes, including the the nearby metro areas!

1.    Bass Ponds and Old Cedar Bridge Trail

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington

Level: Easy

Time: 1 hour

Total Distance: 3 miles round trip

Highlights: Lots of wildlife, including wood duck nests, sky blue waters along the trails and willow trees lining the path.

History: Bass Ponds were man-made by the Works Progress Administration to create a bass-farming site in the 1930’s.

2.    Crosby Lake Trail

Carver Park Reserve, Victoria

Level: Easy/moderate

Time: 2-2.5 hours

Total Distance: 4 miles round trip

Highlights: A boardwalk trail in a quiet park featuring a lake and pond views surrounded by wetlands, prairie meadows and waterfowl. Also check out the year-round activities offered at this park here!

History: This park was established in 1957, where you will find the Grimm Farm Historic Site, which is often called the birthplace of the Dairy Belt. You can read about how this site got its name in this article.

3.    Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail

Theodore Wirth Park, Golden Valley

Level: Easy

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Total Distance: 2.8 miles round trip

Highlights: Features a wildflower garden and bird sanctuary while taking you out of the urban landscape and into nature and seclusion, even with the Minneapolis skyline just miles away.

History: Built in the late 1800s, this park was used mainly as a nursery. Throughout the next 200 years it was slowly built up for more recreational use, now including a beach and picnic areas.

Be sure to check out the year-round activities offered in this park, the largest park in the Minneapolis Park System!

4.    Hidden Falls Shoreline Trail

Hidden Falls Regional Park, St. Paul

Level: Easy

Time: 2 hours

Total Distance: 3.75 miles round trip

Highlights: Quiet and shaded trail leading to a spring-fed waterfall.

History:Dating back to 1887, the park was left untouched until the Works Progress Administration installed a stone stairway to view the falls in the mid-1930s.

Additionally, throughout the summer, this park offers FREE Fitness in the Parks classes! Be on the lookout next summer!

5.    Two Bridges Loop

Mississippi Parkway, St. Paul

Level: Moderate/strenuous

Time: 3.5-4 hours

Total Distance: 7.1 miles round trip

Highlights: Starting in St. Paul at the Mississippi River Boulevard lot, you will walk along the Mississippi River crossing over to Minneapolis and back again to St. Paul. On this hike you will encounter a waterfall, wild flowers like daisies and violets and you may even notice the various urban wildlife living along the river. This hike can be a bit challenging at times, including light climbing, so be prepared with sturdy ankle support and water.

History: Did you know…. the Mississippi is still a working river? The upper river still carries 175 million tons of freight each year, mostly between St. Louis, MO and Saint Paul, MN. The River Parkway, aka the Great River Road, was created in 1938 by the governments of the ten states that the Mississippi runs through. It travels all along the Mississippi river through small towns, farmland and big cities all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, offering culture, nature and history. Interestingly, the state of Minnesota has the longest stretch of the Great River Road, traveling nonstop over 575 miles from Lake Itasca State Park to the Iowa border.

6. Lake Phalen

Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul

Level: Easy

Time: 1.5 hours

Total Distance: 3.2 miles round trip

Highlights:The water from Lake Phalen runs into the Mississippi giving views of oak savanna, shoreline restoration and a large beautiful park. The park has a golf course, picnic areas, a playground, tennis courts, fishing dock and amphitheater, which is perfect for families and couples looking to find some open space.

History: A small creek located near the lake is thought to be the location where Father Louis Hennepin stopped in 1680 on his way to the St. Anthony Falls. This area was highly populated with Swedish and Scandinavian immigrants after this time, around the mid-1800s. The was-creek is now contained in a tunnel, built by the railroad companies and part of it is also used now as a rail yard. The history of Lake Phalen and how it got its name also involves a historic murder mystery!

Happy Hiking!

We are Drs. Katie Corazzo and Rachel Alioto, licensed Naturopathic Doctors with offices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota. We are enthusiastic about holistic medicine and offer our patients comprehensive naturopathic treatments for a wide variety of conditions, including heart health, diabetes, anxiety and depression, chronic illness, women’s health, weight loss, and so much more. Call today at 612-564-2218 to set up a free 15-minute consultation for new patients.