All told, St. Louis Park and Golden Valley have more than 1,800 acres of nature combined. And with those acres comes miles of trails that are perfect for walking, hiking and biking.
The good news for hiking and biking enthusiasts is that the fun doesn’t end when the snow starts to fall — there are plenty of trails for fat-tire biking (think: mountain biking in the snow) and snowshoeing, which is just hiking in the snow with special shoes on.
So lace up your boots and grab your helmet — it’s time to hit the trails!
Walking, Hiking and Snowshoeing
First up on the hiking to-do list is Theodore Wirth Regional Park, a 740-acre park in Golden Valley that features more than 5 miles of trails perfect for hiking, snowshoeing and casual nature walks. If you’re looking to learn about some of the native plants and birds in the area, the park is also home to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, which houses more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species. Feeling adventurous? Hike the park’s Quaking Bog Loop trail, which spans the 5-acre, 3,700-year-old acid bog tucked into the wooded hills of the park. It crosses several boardwalks that float over islands of sphagnum moss.
The next hiking location that also provides fantastic animal-watching opportunities is Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park. The 160-acre natural area features marsh, woods and restored prairie. More than 3 miles of trails and walkways provide hikers with can’t-miss opportunities for leaf peeping, birdwatching and wildlife spotting. You might see anything from deer and turtles to foxes, minks and owls. Don’t miss the Interpretive Center, where you can explore interactive educational exhibits and see live animals, such as a red-tailed hawk and flying squirrel.
For a more easy-going stroll, head to Bass Lake Preserve in St. Louis Park. The 52-acre nature preserve is best known for its 1.4-mile George Haun Trail, which meanders through oak savanna and prairie and loops around Bass Lake.
General Mills Nature Preserve in Golden Valley provides a gateway to the city’s trail system, and it’s a suitable area for all skill levels. This stunning natural space spans across 27 acres and varying terrain — from a shallow marsh to wet meadows to floodplain forest. To access more trails, take the preserve’s half-mile trail that connects to the city’s trail system — it has interpretive signs to help guide you through your journey.
If snowshoeing is your thing, Brookview in Golden Valley is the place to be. It’s home to a groomed, lighted 1-mile trail that features gently rolling hills and meanders through the Brookview golf course. The trail is only open during the winter months and only if there’s snow on the ground.
Bring on the Bikes
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer cycling, mountain biking or fat tire biking, you’ll find plenty of trails that fit the bill in St. Louis Park and Golden Valley.
For a ride that offers both city and rural vibes, head to Schaper Park in Golden Valley and hop on the Luce Line Regional Trail. The 72-mile trail spans several cities, including Golden Valley, Plymouth and Minneapolis. Depending on how far you ride, you can enjoy everything from lakes and wooded bridges overlooking Bassett Creek marshlands to wetlands, tallgrass prairie and even Minneapolis skyline views along the way.
Feeling bold and ready for adventure? Golden Valley’s Theodore Wirth Regional Park is one of the premier mountain biking locations in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, boasting more than 12 miles of single-track trails. Beginner and intermediate riders should try out the Area 36 trail, which features a physically demanding but technically easy ride. For expert riders, the Brownie Lake Loop offers quite the adrenaline rush with its steep rock climbs, descents and drops. Pro tip: You can park at The Trailhead and use it as a launching point for your ride.
When you’re in the mood for a peaceful ride, the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail in St. Louis Park is a good bet. The trail technically begins in the nearby town of Hopkins before passing through St. Louis Park’s quaint and quiet neighborhoods. If you want to extend your ride, stay on the trail as it follows the tree-lined railroad passage into Minneapolis and take in the panoramic skyline views.