Welcome to Thursday Night Hikes 2017!

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

Observations on Architecture along the Hike, Part 1

Observations on Architecture along the Hike, Part 2

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 Longfepark by waterllow’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.

Directionpark lakes: 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 Moundspark in spring 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.

These Thursday Night Hikes are also listed on MEET UP sites:
Twin Cities Hiking and
Twin Cities Indoor/Outdoor Sports & Recreation

March 2017 Hikes

March 2, 2017: Midtown Greenway Midsection Hike (Minneapolis)
Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Directions: Take Hiawatha Avenue to south Minneapolis to Lake Street. Turn east onto Lake Street and proceed about 15 blocks to 39th Avenue South. Turn north (left) on 39th Avenue South and proceed two blocks, to Brackett Park, at the intersection of 39th Avenue South and 28th Street East. Park on the street on either 39th Avenue South or 28th Street East. We will meet on the corner of 39th Avenue South and 28th Street East.

March 9, 2017: Como Park Hike (St. Paul)
Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Directions: From I-94 in the Midway area of St. Paul, take the Lexington Avenue exit and proceed north on Lexington Avenue approximately 1.25 miles, past University Avenue, past Minnehaha Avenue, over the first railroad bridge, and under the second railroad bridge, to Como Park. Lexington Avenue winds through Como Park and will bend around the northern end of Como Lake. There are two parking lots for the Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway, one south and west of the pavilion near the fountain roundabout and one east and slightly north of the pavilion, closer to the golfing clubhouse. Park in either parking lot and meet in front of the pavilion.

March 16, 2017: West River Parkway Hike (Minneapolis)
Hike Leader: Chris Olson

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.

March 23, 2017: Big Rivers Trail Hike (Northern Dakota County)
Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Directions: Take I-35E from St. Paul across the Mississippi River and exit at Highway 13 (Sibley Memorial Highway). 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 St. Paul Yacht Club. Park in the trail parking lot, located off of Lilydale Road, just south of the railroad underpass, before reaching the Yacht Club.

March 30, 2017: Midsection Gateway Trail Hike (Maplewood/North St. Paul)
Hike Leader: 
Chris Olson

Directions: From Highway 36 east of I-35E, take the White Bear Avenue exit and go south on White Bear Avenue a few blocks to the Maplewood Community Center, 2100 White Bear Ave, just south of the intersection of County Road B. The Community Center is on the east side of the road and has a large parking lot with several entrances. If you are going south on White Bear Avenue and pass under the large walk bridge, you have gone too far. Meet at the south end of the Community Center parking lot.

Mud & Moss


It’s official–spring has bounced into the region.

Not hearts and flowers spring. Not yet. More like crazy, head-case mud and moss spring. You know, Early spring. Brown mud, brown grass, brown leaves. Patches of dirty snow hanging on for dear life until rain converts it back into liquid form.

But we’re loving it, savoring the re-emerging hills of brown, covered with trees bare of anything but bark. We hike each trail, reacquainting ourselves with its curves, the sounds of the creek by its side, the smell of the air–raw or soft but filled with the scent of life, awake and getting ready to go to work.

Come watch Nature preparing for its closeup: join us for a hike.


Thanks for checking out our new Thursday Night Hikes website. We hope you’ll also check out our hikes in the coming weeks and months.

The next hike is Thursday night (of course), Nov. 3, at Thomas Lake Park in Eagan. The weather should be mild–just right for hiking and listening to the rustle of the oak and aspen trees. Please join us to walk and talk in the great outdoors.