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.
Hike locations and directions are posted here each month. Click on a hike’s link to learn a bit more about the place. 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.)
April 2017 Hikes
April 6, 2017: Summit Avenue East End Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe
Join the group for a hike along Summit Avenue, one of the best preserved upper-class Victorian promenade boulevards in America.
Summit Avenue is a monumental boulevard of houses, churches, synagogues, and schools that stretches four-and-one-half miles, from the St. Paul Cathedral to the Mississippi River. Once the abode of St. Paul’s rich and famous, in the 1850’s they began ascending Summit Hill and erecting splendid homes as monuments to their success. Of the structures built–an assortment of Queen Ann, Romanesque, Beaux Arts, Georgian Revival, and Italian Villa styles–85 percent remain intact. The architecture of Summit Avenue does not lack critics, however. Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, assailed it for being “the worst collection of architecture in the world.” Portland Avenue, paralleling Summit Avenue, also reflects upper class and upper middle-class housing built from the 1880’s through World War I.
Directions: From I-94, take the Dale Street exit and go south about one-quarter mile on Dale Street to Summit Avenue. Turn east (left) on Summit Avenue and continue to the intersection with Selby Avenue, right by the St. Paul Cathedral, 225 Summit Avenue, and park on the street. We will meet on the front steps of the Cathedral
April 13, 2017: Lake Nokomis Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the group for a hike around scenic Lake Nokomis in South Minneapolis.
Lake Nokomis was called Lake Amelia in a fort map in 1823, probably named for the wife or daughter of Captain George Gooding, who came with the first troops in 1819. The name for the lake was changed to “Nokomis” by the park commissioners of Minneapolis in 1910, renaming it for the grandmother of Hiawatha, the legendary hero in Longfellow’s famous poem “Song of Hiawatha.”
Lake Nokomis Park has 210 acres of water and 195 acres of land. It was acquired by the City of Minneapolis in 1907 for $65,000. The lake sits on a glacial terrace on top of St. Peter Sandstone. Initially was no more than 5 feet deep, and was subsequently dredged by the park board. Ground water coming into Lake Nokomis flows from the northwest, passes through the lake, and eventually empties into the Mississippi River.
Directions: From Highway 62 (Crosstown), take Cedar Avenue (Highway 77) north, past the bridge over the west end of Lake Nokomis and meet in the parking lot of Bergan’s Supervalu, 4715 Cedar Avenue South, just north of the intersection with Minnehaha Parkway. We can’t park in Bergan’s parking lot so please park on one of the adjacent side streets.
April 20, 2017: Normandale Lake Hike (Bloomington) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen
Join the group for a hike around scenic Normandale Lake, just south of Highway 494.
Directions: Take I-494 and exit at East Bush Lake Road. Go south on East Bush Lake Road to W84th Street. Turn east (left) onto W84th. Drive about 1/4 mile, turning south (right) into the parking lot at 5901 West 84th, the Normandale Bandshell. (Additional parking is available on the west side (Chalet Road) of Normandale Lake if needed.)
April 27, 2017: Mounds Park Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the hiking group for a hike along the bluffs above the Mississippi River in St. Paul.
Dayton’s Bluff, at the east side of the Mississippi in the southeast part of St. Paul, has a large, residential district on the plateau extending backward from its top. The name of the bluff commemorates Lyman Dayton, for whom a village and township in Hennepin County also were named. On the edge of the southern and highest part of Dayton’s bluff, in Mounds Park, is a series of seven large aboriginal mounds, four to 18 feet high, from which a magnificent prospect is obtained, overlooking the river and
the central part of the city.
Directions: 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.