Hikes

Most Thursday Night Hikes are in the Twin Cities metro area. They vary from park and nature preserve trails through to urban neighborhood sidewalks. Below are upcoming hikes followed by a link to some of our other popular Twin Cities hikes.

We’re always adding new hikes so check back often or follow us to get an email (see FOLLOW US at bottom of page). More of our hikes can be found over on our POSTS page using the Categories box to select Hikes or the Archives box to select a variety of months.

July 2018 Hikes

July 5, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Swede Hollow Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Come along with us through historic “Swede Hollow” in St. Paul along the southern portion of the Bruce Vento Regional Trail and into the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.

Swede Hollow is the ravine in St. Paul that once carried Phalen Creek to the Mississippi River. (Phalen Creek was diverted into the Belt Line Tunnel in the 1920’s.)

Early Swedish immigrant settlers named the valley “Svenska Dalen” or “Swede Hollow.” Swede Hollow Directional SignsSubsequent Polish, Italian, and Hispanic immigrants moved into the squatter homes built along the sides of the ravine. In 1956, St. Paul Health Department officials “discovered” that Swede Hollow had no sewer or city water service. They declared it a health hazard, ordered the last 14 families to move out then destroyed the homes.

Directions: From the West, go east on I-94 to downtown St. Paul’s East 7th Street Exit. After exiting, follow Wall Street a couple of blocks to East Seventh Street & go east (left.) Continue on East Seventh Street about nine blocks, past the Highway 52 bridge turnoff, to the trailhead, just past the intersection with Payne Avenue.

From the East, take I-94 to the Mounds Boulevard exit. Continue on Mounds Boulevard to East Seventh Street & turn west (left.) Continue down the hill along East Seventh Street, a long city block to the trailhead. A small parking lot & the trailhead are on the south side of the street.

Meet in the trailhead parking lot. Additional parking is available on the street on Payne Avenue.


CANCELED Due To High Water  July 12, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Hidden Falls Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike south along the Mississippi River from Hidden Falls in the Highland Park section of St. Paul. A secluded area of the park features a small spring-fed waterfall over a rock ledge.

butterflyweed in bloomDirections: From I-94, on the western edge of St. Paul, take the Cretin/Vandalia exit. Go south about 1.5 miles on Cretin Ave. to Randolph Ave. & turn west (right). Proceed on Randolph a few blocks to Mississippi River Boulevard. Go south (left) on Mississippi River Boulevard, just past the Ford plant, to the park entrance, Hidden Falls Drive, just north of where Magoffin Avenue connects with the parkway. This is the north gate to the park. Take Hidden Falls Drive down the hill to the parking lot and meet by the picnic shelter, near the northeast corner of the parking lot.


July 19, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Boom Island Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Let’s take an urban walk on the wild side around the environs of Minneapolis’ Boom Island Park.
park in spring

Boom Island was the center of commercial activity in the “Upper Town” portion of St. Anthony. In 1849, Franklin Steele completed the original plat of St. Anthony, which eventually merged into the Nature CenterMinneapolis. the Thomas Irvine 

The hike route includes Nicollet Island and the James J. Hill bridge over the falls of St. Anthony. The route also passes by the outlet of Bassett Creek, Minneapolis’ best known subterranean stream.

Directions: From downtown Minneapolis, take Washington Avenue north & turn right onto Plymouth Avenue. Go across the river on the Plymouth Avenue Bridge to Boom Island Park. Park in the Boom Island Park parking lot (a Minneapolis Park Board pay parking lot) or park without charge on the streets by the park such as Sibley Street NE or Ramsey Street NE.


July 26, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Dodge Nature Center Hike (West St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Dodge Natr Ctr BarnCome explore the Nature Center’s trails through woodlands, wetlands and prairies with us. In addition, there’s a farm with animals, garden fields, apiary, orchard and even raptors used in educational programs.

Founded in 1967 by Olivia Irvine Dodge, Dodge Nature Center emphasizes environmental education for people of all ages, offering a great variety of nature-themed programs.

Directions: From Hwy. 110 in Mendota Heights continue east & turn left (north) onto Delaware Ave. Turn right (east) onto Marie Ave., past an entrance sign for Dodge Nature Center, to Charlton St. Turn left (north) onto Charlton, past Dodge Preschool on the left, & turn into the next driveway entrance on the left: Dodge Nature Center Farm (1701 Charlton St.). Turn in and park in the lot, where we will meet.


June 2018 Hikes

June 7, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Rice Creek Regional Park Hike (Fridley) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Let’s hike along Rice Creek in Fridley.

Rice Creek flows through a series of lakes and marshes in southern Anoka and northern Ramsey counties, eventually joining the Mississippi near Fridley. Its drainage basin is in the southern portion of the Anoka Sand Plain, which was formed after the last glacier retreated from the region about 12,000 years ago.

Rapids on CreekDirections: From I-694, take University Avenue exit and proceed north on University Avenue approximately 1.75 miles. Turn east on 69th Avenue exit but instead of taking a second right to 69th Avenue, continue straight on University Service Road. From University Service Road turn right (east) onto 71st Avenue. Follow 71st Avenue to end: a parking lot for Locke Park (840 71st Ave NE, Fridley MN). Meet in parking lot.


June 14, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Minnehaha Park Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Our hike through Minnehaha Park will begin on the scenic upper trail to pass the Longfellow House, Minnehaha Depot, historic John Stevens house and Minnehaha statue, then descend the trail to view the famous falls at several levels. Minnehaha Falls 2nd BridgeWe continue along both sides of Minnehaha Creek, crossing bridges several times while we travel down to the Mississippi River and back.

Minnehaha Park’s 193 acres of natural bounty includes 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, limestone bluffs with creek and river overlooks, beautiful spring wildflowers and a variety of floodplain and upland deciduous trees such as oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood.

Directions:  From Hiawatha Avenue/MN Highway 55, south of downtown Minneapolis, proceed to 46th Street, turn east & just 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 & park near Pet Supplies Plus. From there the group will hike a block south to the park.


June 21, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Central Park Hike (Roseville) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Come hike with us in Roseville’s largest park, beautiful Central Park.

Roseville was settled by farmers in the 1840s. Roseville, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and part of St. Paul originally were part of Rose Township. How did it come to be called Rose Township? trail in lush green woodsThe township was named after Isaac Rose, who led the land survey the federal government ordered in 1850.

Directions: From Highway 36  take Lexington Avenue north approximately 1/4 mile to County Road B2. Turn east (right) on County Road B2 and proceed east ½ mile to Victoria Street. Turn north (left) on Victoria Street and proceed ¼ mile to the park. There will be ball fields to the east (right) and a large parking lot to the west (left). We will meet in the large parking lot to the west.


CANCELED Due To High Water   June 28, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Pike Island Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join us for a hike around Pike Island, at the conjunction of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, in historic Fort Snelling State Park.

Pike Island is named for Lieutenant (later General) Zebulon M. Pike. There, in 1805, he made a treaty with the Dakota to purchase the land on which Fort St. Anthony, later named Fort Snelling, was built in the years 1820-24. The Dakota word “B’dote” means confluence and is the name for this place. It has the additional meaning as the place of creation or beginning of the Dakota people and for the world and life itself. Transliterated, “B’dote” became the name “Mendota.”

Forest trailDirections: From the West: Take Hwy 62/Crosstown Highway east to Highway 55, go south on Hwy 55 towards Mendota Bridge. Take “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit (between VA hospital & Mendota bridge). Follow signs to Fort Snelling Historic Sites & park in Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet by river overlook near interpretive center.  From the East: Head west across Fort Road/West Seventh Street/Highway 5 bridge from St. Paul’s Highland Park area & take Highway 55 exit north. Take “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit. Follow signs to Fort Snelling Historic Sites & park in Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet by river overlook near interpretive center.

Note: Fort Snelling Historic Site’s entrance is different from Fort Snelling State Park’s entrance off the Post Road exit from Highway 5, just west of the main terminal exit to the airport.


May 2018 Hikes

May 3, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: South St. Paul Riverfront Trail Hike (South St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Come with us for a hike on a “rails-to-trails” trail along the Mississippi River in South St. Paul. Once, South St. Paul was home to the largest stockyards in the world. Meatpacking and related businesses became the heart of South St. Paul’s economy. Lake Harriet Park, MinneapolisWorld War II brought peak years to the industry but in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the market decentralized and the sprawling plants became obsolete.

Directions: From I-94, near downtown St. Paul’s eastern end, take Hwy 52 exit south over the Mississippi River. Turn onto Concord Street/Highway 56 exit and proceed south to the northern end of South St. Paul. About 100 yards south of Butler Avenue intersection is the trailhead, on the west side (right) of Concord Street, underneath the pedestrian bridge spanning Concord Avenue.


May 10, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Battle Creek Singing Frogs Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Julia Dady

This is prime season to hear the wonderful spring frog choruses! Come with us for a hike in Battle Creek Regional Park – East End. frog and Butterfly(Note: This is a different location than other Battle Creek hikes).There are several ponds and vernal pools in this section of the park, making ideal frog habitat!

Directions: From I-94, take the McKnight Rd S. – South exit. Go south to Upper Afton Rd (4-way stop). Turn left (east) on Upper Afton Rd. to the park entrance on the left. (Note: This is the waterpark side – not the dog park, which is a right turn on the south side). This parking lot has a gate but is open until half an hour past sunset (8:29 on May 10), so we should be okay! Meet near the southwest corner of parking area.


May 13, 2018: SUNDAY, 3-5 pm: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Hike  (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen 

Spring ephemeral wildflowers are blooming now–trilliums, trout lilies, Virginia bluebells and much more. Let’s explore the oldest public wildflower garden in America this Sunday and enjoy them before they’re gone. (Note: We will stop numerous times on this hike to see/smell the flowers. So, definitely more smiles than miles.) Nodding trillium

Directions: (Note: Due to construction around I-394 you may wish to consider ALTERNATE ROUTES, such as city streets or Hwy. 55 to Theodore Wirth Parkway.) Take I-394 West and exit at Penn Avenue, then go south to the Frontage Road. Proceed west and turn north (right) on Theodore Wirth Parkway. Proceed north to Glenwood Ave. Turn right onto Glenwood, then turn left into the Wirth Beach parking lot. We will meet at the Wirth Beach pavilion and walk the path to the wildflower garden’s back gate.


May 17, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Arden Hills/Twin Cities Arsenal Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Let’s hike in Arden Hills on a portion of the North Rice Creek Trail through the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant/Arsenal area.

Checking ammunition cartridgesThe Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) was built as a self-contained community in 1941/1942 on four square miles of farmland to support the national defense. During World War II, the plant produced more than 4 billion rounds of ammunition and more than 10 billion rounds of ammunition for the Vietnam War.

Directions: The group will meet at the County Road I parking lot of the Rice Creek trail, east of I-35W. Take I-35W North from Minneapolis, exit on County Road I, and go East (right). The parking lot is about 1/4 mile East of I-35W on the North side of the road.


May 24, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Snelling Lake Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson 

Join the group for a hike around Snelling Lake in Fort Snelling State Park.

In 1819, Col. Henry Leavenworth and his troops spent the first three winters in a cantonment or barracks of log houses on the southeastern or Dakota County side of the Forest trailMinnesota River called “St. Peter’s Cantonment” (also called “New Hope”). The troops moved into the fort in the late autumn of 1822.  Prior to 1825, Fort Snelling was called “Fort St. Anthony,” alluding to the neighboring Falls of St. Anthony.

Directions: From the west: Take Hwy 62/Crosstown Highway east to Highway 55, then proceed south on Hwy 55 towards the Mendota Bridge. Take the “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit (between the VA hospital and the Mendota bridge). Follow the signs to the Fort Snelling Historic Sites and park in the Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet near the river overlook close by the interpretive center.
From the east: Head west across the Fort Road/West Seventh Street/Highway 5 bridge from St. Paul’s Highland Park area and take the Highway 55 exit north. Take the “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit. Follow the signs to the Fort Snelling Historic Sites and park in the Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet near the river overlook close by the interpretive center.

Note: The Fort Snelling Historic Site entrance is different from the Fort Snelling State Park entrance which is off the Post Road exit from Highway 5, just west of the main terminal exit to the airport.


April 2018 Hikes

April 5, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Big Rivers Trail Hike (Northern Dakota County) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Join the hiking group for a hike on Dakota County’s “Big Rivers Trail” along the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, on a late 1800’s rail bed converted to a hiking/biking/rollerblading trail.

The trail is built on the rail bed of the Minnesota Central RailRoad, one of Minnesota’s oldest railroads. In 1857, the Minnesota Central RailRoad was incorporated by a special act of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature and was an early predecessor of the Milwaukee Road.

Directions: Take I-35E from St. Paul across the Mississippi River. Exit at Highway 13. Take Highway 13 east (turn left) about 1/4 mile to the intersection with Lilydale Road and turn south (right) on Lilydale Road. Lilydale Road winds down a steep hill to the Pool & Yacht Club. Park in the trail parking lot, located off of Lilydale Road, just south of the railroad underpass, before reaching the Yacht Club.


April 12, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Gateway Trail at Flicek Park (Maplewood) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join us for a hike along part of the 18-mile Gateway Trail, formerly a Soo Line (Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie RailRoad) rail line bed, that stretches from St. Paul to Stillwater. We’ll access the paved, multi-use trail from Maplewood’s Flicek Park.trail bridge 

Directions:  Take I-94 to I-35E in downtown St. Paul. Go north on I-35E to Larpenteur Ave/Wheelock Parkway exit. Proceed on frontage road to Larpenteur Ave, the 2nd street connected to the exit off-ramp. Turn east (right) on Larpenteur Ave. Continue on Larpenteur to Parkway Drive (the third stoplight after leaving freeway), then turn northeast (left) onto Parkway Drive. Parkway Drive becomes Frost Avenue after crossing Arcade Street/Highway 61 in Maplewood.

Park at Flicek Park’s parking lot, 1141 Frost Avenue, which is about 7/8ths of a mile from Highway 61 junction with Parkway Drive/Frost Avenue. (Flicek Park is primarily baseball fields with a parking lot, located across from a pontoon boat store and a dog groomers.)


April 19, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Normandale Lake Hike (Bloomington)) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Join the group for a hike around scenic Normandale Lake, just south of Highway 494.

Directionpark lakes: Going west on I-494, exit at East Bush Lake Road. Turn south (left) onto East Bush Lake Road. Turn east (left) onto W84th St. Drive about 1/4 mile, turning south (right) into the parking lot at 5901 West 84th, the Normandale Lake Bandshell. (Additional parking is available on the west side of Normandale Lake, if needed.)


April 26, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Indian Mounds Park Hike (St. Paul)) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join us for a hike along the Mississippi River bluffs in the Dayton’s Bluff area of St.
Paul. We’ll pass near the remaining burial mounds in Indian Mounds Regional Park
that originally included mounds from 200 BCE – 400 CE, as well as later Dakota Indian burials.

IndianBurialMoundsMarkerDirections: Take I-94 east through downtown St. Paul to the Mounds Boulevard/Sixth Street exit. At the stoplight at the top of the exit ramp, go southeast (right) on Mounds Boulevard, proceed past 3rd Street and the I-94 overpass bridge. The Mounds Park overlook is two blocks beyond the overpass. Enter the parking lot on Cherry Street. Meet by the historical marker at the midpoint of the overlook.


March 2018 Hikes

March 15, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Lebanon Hills Regional Park Hike (Eagan)) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Join us for a hike within Lebanon Hills Regional Park’s glacial moraine landscape with almost 2,000 acres of woodlands, prairies, lakes and ponds. We’ll circle some lakes, check out the new shelter, talk easy tree ID and current park projects.

Directions: Take I-35E south, exit onto Cliff Road and go east 3.6 milesLebanon Hills new A Frame shelter in winter

to the Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center entrance (at the Hay Lake Road North intersection), which will be on the right. Follow the road to the Visitor Center and meet in the parking lot close to the Visitor Center.


March 22, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Midsection Gateway Trail Hike (Maplewood/North St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson 

Join the group for a hike along the midsection of the scenic Gateway Trail in Maplewood and North St. Paul, in eastern Ramsey County. paved trail in winter

The trail follows an abandoned Soo Line (Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie RailRoad) rail line from just north of downtown St. Paul to a park just north of Stillwater.  The western section of the trail goes through suburban areas and mostly residential

neighborhoods.

Directions: From Highway 36 east of I-35E, take White Bear Ave. exit. Go south on White Bear Avenue a few blocks to Maplewood Community Center (east side of road), 2100 White Bear Ave, just south of County Road B intersection. (If you’re driving south on White Bear Ave. and pass under a large pedestrian bridge, you’ve gone too far.) Meet at the south end of Community Center parking lot near Ramsey County Suburban Court building (2050 White Bear Ave).


March 29, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: West River Parkway Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson 

Come hike with the group along the west side of the Mississippi River below the University of Minnesota West Bank area and near the University’s Elmer L. Anderson Library.

The University of Minnesota was founded as a preparatory school in 1851, seven years before Minnesota became a state, closed during the Civil War, and reopened in1867. moss and old leaves in springIt was established as a land-grant college under the federal Morrill Land-Grant Act, with land to use or sell to provide an education for students of all incomes. The Elmer L. Andersen Library is named for former State Senator and Governor Elmer Anderson, who donated his personal library of 12,500 rare volumes. It houses eight special collections and archives units.

Directions:  From I-94, take the Riverside Avenue exit and proceed south on Riverside Avenue to Franklin Avenue. Go east (left) on Franklin Avenue about three blocks to Seabury Avenue. Meet on the corner of East Franklin Avenue and Seabury Avenue in Southeast Minneapolis.


 Popular Past Hikes

Click the title above for a look at some of the hikes we lead almost every year.

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