10 Minneapolis Hikes for the Entire Family

Whether you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or just a need a little fresh air, Minneapolis has a hiking trail the whole family can enjoy.

Please note, because of the new restrictions regarding COVID-19, a lot of Minnesotans are taking to the outdoors for a breath of fresh air and a break from their homes. This means walkways and popular outdoor locations are likely to be busier than usual. Please continue to practice social distancing in these settings, remaining at least 6 feet away from passerbys and others near you.

Ready to explore the parts of Minneapolis full of nature and wildlife? Thankfully, our city makes it easy! Wherever you begin, discover amazing trails in an eclectic mix of neighborhoods. From nature trails to urban walks, your inner hiker can venture to scenic wonders and cityscapes, lakes and parks. Plus, you reap the calm, creative and physical benefits of the outdoors—a win-win for both your mind and body! 

1. Minnehaha Falls/Minnehaha Creek Trail

Where: South Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • 10 miles of trails, 53’ waterfall, regional park; 1.8 miles Minnehaha Creek trail
  • Family-friendly
  • Partially ADA accessible (excludes gorges trail below the Falls) 
  • Open year-round (Instagram-worthy waterfall, especially in winter; limited trails access in winter)
  • Unique features/sights: 53’ waterfall and gorges trail below the Falls, plus four botanical gardens. Minnehaha Creek Trail loop leads to Falls—don’t miss “Cottontail on the Trail” giant-size sculpture by artist Jeff Barber!

2. Lake Harriet/Lyndale Rose Garden and Peace Park

Where: Southwest Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • 2.8 miles paved loop walkway; Nearby Lyndale Rose Garden and Peace Park on northeast end of lake 
  • Family-friendly
  • ADA compatible on paved loop walkway
  • Open year-round (in winter: plowed walkways, Lake Harriet Bandshell and restaurant closed)
  • Unique features/sights: Lake Harriet is part of Grand Round Scenic Byways, connecting with Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and Lake of the Isles trails. The Lyndale Rose Garden features 60,000 roses in bloom each summer while Peace Park features serene Japanese-style bridge and Roberts bird sanctuary! Lake Harriet Bandshell features a Music in the Park series in the summer.

3. Fort Snelling State Park/Pike Island Loop/Lake Nokomis Trail

Location: between Minneapolis – St. Paul, at confluence of Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers; Lake Nokomis Trail starts in Minneapolis 
Skill level: Easy to moderate

  • 5 miles paved trails, 18 miles gravel trails along Minnesota River and Mississippi River; Snelling Lake, Pike Island 7 miles loop trail; nearby Lake Nokomis 2.5 miles loop trail
  • Family friendly
  • ADA compatible on paved walkways
  • Open year-round
  • Unique features/sights:  Hiking, biking, snowshoe and cross-country ski trails connect to the regional trail system. Snelling Lake fishing pier is open when whether permits while nearby Lake Nokomis trail features beautiful wildflowers!

4. Nicollet Island/Boom Island Trails

Location: Northeast Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • Nicollet Island, on Mississippi River north of Saint Anthony Falls, features 2.1 miles loop trail. Boom Island, connected by pedestrian bridge, offers spectacular river views, paved walkway and biking paths.  
  • Family friendly
  • ADA compliant walkways
  • Open best from March-October
  • Unique features/sights: You'll find a miniature lighthouse on north side of Boom Island (originally named for booms that separate logs floating down the Mississippi River to sawmills powered by St. Anthony Falls)! Boom Island offers great river views, is the site for free yoga summer series.  

5. Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail/Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Location: North Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • 2.7 miles trails and garden walkways
  • Family friendly
  • ADA accessible on paved walkways, limited ADA access on woodchip trails
  • Open best from April – September
  • Unique features/sights: Trails meander through woodlands, wetlands and oak savanna. The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden features 500 plant species and bird sanctuary features 140+ migratory birds! 

6. St. Anthony Falls/Stone Arch Bridge

Location: Northeast Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • 1.8 miles loop trail
  • Family friendly
  • Partially ADA accessible
  • Open year round
  • Unique features/sights: The Heritage loop trail includes a history of the area and buildings, nature and river plus the nearby Mill City Museum. The Mississippi River & National Recreation Area includes St. Anthony Falls waterfall and lock and dam (occasional tours)! Historic Main Street features shops, live music, festivals, theater and nightlife while the photogenic Stone Arch Bridge can be crossed by walking and bicycle path.     

7. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden/Loring Greenway Bridge/Loring Park

Location: Center Minneapolis (intersects Downtown and Uptown)
Skill level: Easy

  • Est. 1.6 miles
  • Family friendly (bridge crosses over Hennepin Ave. moving traffic below) 
  • ADA compliant
  • Open year round
  • Unique features/sights: Among other art, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden features the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The Loring Greenway Bridge (designed by Siah Armajani) connects to Loring Park, a beautiful place to take a rest along the way. You will also find gardens in bloom, the Berger Fountain, and plenty of festivals year round such as Twin Cities Pride and Holidazzle!

8. Mississippi River Gorge Trail AKA West River Parkway Trail

Location: North Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • Out and back 3 miles trail (between Plymouth Ave. North near Boom Island and Ford Parkway to Minnehaha Trail)
  • Family friendly
  • ADA compatible
  • Open year round
  • Unique features/sights:  Heading back on East River Parkway features a beautiful view of the city across the Stone Arch Bridge. Bring a camera because the view is picturesque! 

9. Nicollet to Peavey Plaza

Location: Downtown Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • 2 miles paved walkways
  • Family friendly
  • ADA compliant on Nicollet sidewalks, with curb-free intersections; partial accessibility for Peavey Plaza
  • Open year round on Nicollet, limited winter access to Peavey Plaza
  • Unique features/sights: You'll find illuminated walkways (1,500 LED lights), a plethora of restaurant options with delightful patio seating as weather permits, and plenty of big name stores like Target's flagship store. Enjoy native plantings and trees, public art, and artist-designed lanterns at “Light Walk” corridor between 6th and 8th Streets that highlight events, festivals, markets and performances. Peavey Plaza is your oasis with water features, trees, greenery, and seating to enjoy the day.

10. Warehouse District/North Loop

Location: Center/Northwest Downtown Minneapolis
Skill level: Easy

  • Est. 1.4 miles; James Rice Park bike trail, West River Parkway connect to Grand Rounds Scenic Byway 
  • Family friendly (heavy vehicle traffic during peak times)
  • ADA accessible on paved walkways
  • Open year round
  • Unique features/sights: The Warehouse District (on the National Register of Historic Places), once a shipping hub, is now home to shops, restaurants, sports arenas, concert venues and plenty of events. North Loop, once rail and industrial center oriented toward Mississippi River, is now a thriving neighborhood with bustling nightlife (restaurants, brew pubs) and high end shopping.