WELCOME to Thursday Night Hikes!
Thursday Night Hikers are a diverse gathering of people interested in enjoying the many outdoor spaces of the Twin Cities. Hikes are held every Thursday night, 7 pm to approximately 8:30 pm, from March through late November.
Check below for new hikes added each month. Then, join us — there are no fees or reservations — just show up at the evening’s location. Hikes are moderately paced and typically cover about four miles. (We hike in all types of weather unless it becomes severe.)
October 2017 Hikes
October 5, 2017: Battle Creek Regional Park Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join us for a hike among the Sandstone cliffs and steep slopes of St. Paul’s jewel, Battle Creek Park.
Battle Creek was named for the battle of Kaposia in 1842, between the Ojibwe and Dakota. It flows into Pig’s Eye Lake from the high land east of the river valley. Another great ravine there, having numerous tall white pines, is named Pine Cooley, from the French word “coule,” meaning “a ravine or run.” The approach of the Ojibwe for the attack and their retreat was by way of the ravines of Battle Creek and Pine Cooley.
Directions: Take I-94 to the east of St. Paul, and take the McKnight exit south to North Park Drive. Turn west (right) on North Park Drive and park on the street. The group will meet near the intersection of McKnight and North Park Drive.
October 12, 2017: Centennial Lakes Park Hike (Edina) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen
Join the group for a hike at Edina’s Centennial Lakes Park.
Centennial Lake has 10-acres of crappies, sunnies, bullhead and northern pike ready for fisherfolk to catch. The 24-acre park’s paved trails outline the lake, passing by a variety of delightful spaces. There is a park pavilion, an amphitheater, boating concession, maze, putting green, swings and many other types of seating throughout the different sunny or shady areas. Myriad shops and restaurants are just a few steps away from the paths, as well.
Directions: From Interstate 494 in Bloomington, exit onto France Ave. Go north on France Ave. and turn right onto Parklawn Ave. Take the first left into the parking lot. You will see “West Elm” on the building at the north end of the lot. Park near that end (but don’t park against that wall as it is restricted) and we’ll walk down into the park together.
October 19, 2017: Cedar Lake Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the group for an urban hike from Bryn Mawr Park under Highway 394 and along the trails of lovely Cedar Lake. The lake, about 170 acres and over 50 feet deep, is wrapped in greenery and offers iconic views of downtown.
Directions: Take I-394 to the Penn Avenue exit and go north on Penn Avenue about 100 feet to immediate first right turn, 8th Avenue SE. Turn right and park on the street as soon as you can see Bryn Mawr Park. (If you miss the first turn, the second right turn, on Mount View Avenue, also works, with a right turn on Oliver Avenue South to come back to the park.) Meet by the first ball field in Bryn Mawr Park.
October 26, 2017: Crosby Lake Regional Park Hike(St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe
Join us for a hike through the extensive prairie habitat and floodplain forest of the Crosby Lake Regional Park.
Crosby Farm Regional Park, at 736 acres, preserves a natural floodplain area of the Mississippi River and steep slopes of oak forest. During seasonal floods of the river, fish and other aquatic animals gain access to Upper Crosby Lake, Lower Crosby Lake, and all the ponds scattered throughout. Several regional trails connect to it, including the Big Rivers Regional Trail in Dakota County; the Samuel H. Morgan Trail; and the Mississippi Gorge Trail.
Directions: Crosby Regional Park is just east, across the Mississippi River, from historic Fort Snelling and the Airport. From the Fort Snelling area, go east over the Highway 5/West Seventh St/Fort Road bridge over the Mississippi River. Immediately across the bridge, take the Shepard Road/Edgecumb Road exit. Follow the signs to Shepard Road and at the intersection with Shepard Road, turn east (left).
The entrance to the Crosby Farm Regional Park is a few hundred feet further, on the south (right) side of Shepard Road. Follow the park road east down the bluff, past the Watergate Marina area, to the first parking lot in the park, by the park picnic shelter. If that first parking lot is full, continue 1/8th of a mile east past the picnic shelter to the next parking lot. We will meet in the parking lot by the picnic shelter.
September 2017 Hikes
September 7, 2017: Wood Lake Park Hike (Richfield) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe
Join us for a hike around the varied environs of the Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield.
Wood Lake is a lake that has turned into a freshwater marsh over recent decades. The Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre park with walking trails that include a 600-foot long floating boardwalk through the marsh. More than 200 different kinds of birds and 30 different kinds of mammals have been sighted in the park.
Directions: Take County Highway 62, exit on Lyndale Avenue, and go south on Lyndale Avenue to Lake Shore Drive, which is the first left turn after the intersection with West 66th Street. Turn West (left) on Lake Shore Drive and proceed about 400 feet to the Nature Center (at 735 West Lake Shore Drive) on the south side of the road. Meet in the parking lot by the main entrance to the Nature Center.
September 14, 2017: Northern Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Hike (Maplewood) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the hiking group for a hike in St. Paul’s Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The Nature Sanctuary was opened in 2005 with the help of many stakeholders, including the DNR and National Park Service. Once a barren, ecologically damaged site, ongoing cleanup and restoration are bringing back prairie, oak savanna and floodplain forest ecosystems.
The park’s namesake, Congressman Bruce Vento (1940-2000), was a 12-term Democrat from St. Paul who championed environmental and homeless causes, including efforts to ban oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, preserve tropical rain forests, and make it easier for the Hmong who fought with the U.S. in the Vietnam War to become U.S. citizens.
Directions: Take I-94 to I-35E in downtown St. Paul and proceed north on I-35E to the Larpenteur Avenue/Wheelock Parkway exit. Proceed on the frontage road to Larpenteur Avenue, the second street connected to the exit off ramp, and turn east (right) on Larpenteur Avenue. Continue on Larpenteur Avenue to Parkway Drive (the third stop light after leaving the freeway) and then go northeast (left turn) on Parkway Drive. Parkway Drive becomes Frost Avenue after crossing Arcade Street/Highway 61 in Maplewood.
Park at the Flicek Park parking lot, 1141 Frost Avenue, which is about 7/8ths of a mile from the junction of Highway 61 and Parkway Drive/Frost Avenue. Flicek Park is primarily a set of baseball fields with a parking lot and is located on the north side of Frost Avenue, just across from a pontoon boat sales room and a dog grooming facility.
September 21, 2017: Minnehaha Park Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen
Join us for a hike through Minnehaha Park, past the famous falls, and on the scenic trails along Minnehaha Creek and above the Mississippi River.
Minnehaha Park is 193 acres in area, with a 53-foot waterfall and limestone bluffs with river overlooks. Oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood trees dot the landscape as well as native shrubs and wildflowers.
Directions: From Hiawatha Avenue/MN Highway 55, south of downtown Minneapolis, proceed to 46th Street and turn east and immediately past the Holiday Gas Station, turn south onto the strip mall access road. Continue along the strip mall access road to the south end of the mall. The group will meet just south of Pet Supplies Plus. The trail to Minnehaha Park is about ½ block south.
September 28, 2017: Rice Marsh Lake Hike (Eden Prairie/Chanhassen) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the group for a hike along Rice Marsh Lake to Lake Susan, in western Eden Prairie / eastern Chanhassen. Rice Marsh Lake and Lake Susan are shallow lakes, each about 80-90 acres, and part of the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District.
Directions: Go west on I-494 to Highway 5. Continue west on Highway 5 to Dell Road, about 8/10ths of a mile west of Eden Prairie Road. Go south on Dell Road about 6/10ths of a mile to Rice March Lake Park, just south of the intersection with Erin Bay/Cascade Drive. Meet in the parking lot.