An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide to St. Louis Park and Golden Valley

Minnesota’s Sweet Spot is the perfect destination for travelers looking to enjoy big city attractions while getting back to nature. St. Louis Park and Golden Valley offer an urban oasis for outdoor enthusiasts, with miles of hiking and biking trails, over 80 neighborhood parks, a regional park, and a 160-acre nature center that’s just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. No matter the season, we’ll help you experience Minnesota’s natural beauty.

Walking, Hiking and Biking

Whether you like to hike, bike or leisurely stroll, we have miles of scenic trails, quaint parks and lush nature areas. Navigating the parks is easy using the City of St. Louis Park Trail Map and the Golden Valley Trail Map.

The Three Rivers Park District maintains three bike trails that run through St. Louis Park and connect to miles of additional trails running from Minneapolis to Chaska.

  • Cedar Lake Trail – This 3.6-mile trail links St. Louis Park to downtown Minneapolis. It has separate lanes for bikers and walkers.
  • Cedar Lake Extension Trail – This 4.3-mile paved trail connects the Cedar Lake Trail from downtown Minneapolis to the Southwest Trail in Hopkins following the Hutchinson Spur rail line.
  • Cedar Lake Regional Trail – This 5-mile paved trail goes from the Kennilworth Trail near 31st and Chowen Avenue to 11th Avenue in Hopkins. It follows the rail line along Highway 7 and continues west through Hopkins to Chaska. The Southwest Trail also links east to the Kennilworth and Midtown Greenway Trails in Minneapolis. 

Please note: The Cedar Lake LRT Trail line is closed through Fall 2021 due to construction of the Southwest Light Rail. A detour is in place that uses the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail and the local bicycle network to connect users with the Midtown Greenway during this closure period. Detour signs will notify trail users of alternative routes.

Bass Lake Preserve is a 52-acre nature preserve best known for it’s 1.4 mile George Haun Trail that meanders through oak savannah and prairie around Bass Lake. It features a playground, pickleball and tennis courts.

General Mills Nature Preserve is a visually-stunning, 27-acre natural space with over 50 different native plants, a shallow marsh, wet meadow, floodplain forest and a half-mile trail that connects to the City’s trail system. Interpretive signs will guide you along your journey.

Theodore Wirth Regional Park

Located within the cities of Golden Valley and Minneapolis, Theodore Wirth is a 740-acre park that offers over 5 miles of cycling, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails. Visit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary where you’ll find more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species. Or explore the Quaking Bog, a 5-acre, 3,700-year-old acid bog tucked into the wooded hills of the park. You’ll cross a series of boardwalks floating over islands of sphagnum moss as you observe dragonflies, frogs and songbirds.

Westwood Hills Nature Center

Westwood Hills offers 160 acres of marsh, woods, and restored prairie. More than 3 miles of trails and walkways offer ample birdwatching and wildlife spotting, including deer, turtles, fox, mink and owls. A new net zero-energy designed Interpretive Center houses live animals (including raptors!), exhibits, classrooms and event space. The center offers year-round educational programs and annual special events. Enjoy canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing and kicksledding.

Canoeing & Kayaking

It may be known as the land of 10,000 lakes, but Minnesota actually has over 12,000 bodies of water. A visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without experiencing this unique geology. In St. Louis Park and Golden Valley there are many lakes and creeks that can be explored by canoe or kayak.

  • Westwood Hills Nature Center offers canoe rentals for use on picturesque Westwood Lake. A 2-hour rental is $20 for visitors, $15 for residents.
  • Adeline Nature Area has a small canoe launch that’s accessible via a paved trail located in a residential area at the southwest end of Sweeney Lake.
  • Sweeney Lake Park is located within Hidden Lakes residential community and features a small dock and canoe launch for public use.
  • Kayak The Creek rents kayaks, complete with paddles, life vests, and dry bags for phones and wallets, for parties of up to 7 kayaks for use on Minnehaha Creek, which flows through St. Louis Park and the neighboring suburbs. Kayaks will be dropped off at your desired launch point and picked up at the end of your 2.5 to 3-hour journey. Shoreside instruction is provided and guide service is available for an additional fee. Kayakers must be at least 12 with adult supervision.
  • Hoigaard’s Paddlesports Rentals in St. Louis Park rents canoes, kayaks, and standup paddleboards seasonally.

Fishing

Lakes, ponds and creeks scattered throughout St. Louis Park and Golden Valley have become popular fishing spots. So, grab your rod, reel and tackle box and get ready to cast out and catch “the big one.”

  • Lamplighter Pond is a small, 6-feet deep, 8.2-acre pond that houses a plentiful supply of bluegill, black crappie, and common carp. There’s a fishing pier on the west shore of the pond and a walking path.
  • Westwood Lake (Westwood Hills Nature Center) is a 64-acre lake stocked with bluegills. There is a fishing pier, paved and natural trails, interpretive center, playground, restrooms and ample parking. Fishing poles are available to rent.
  • Wirth Lake (Theodore Wirth Park) is a 40-acre, 25-feet deep lake that contains a large supply of bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, and walleye. There’s a pier on the east side of the lake and several shoreline fishing spots just north of it.
  • Wolfe Lake (Wolfe Park) is a 25-foot deep, 3.3-acre lake with a fishing pier and four shore fishing stations. Fish species include bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike and yellow perch. There is a sheltered picnic area, pavilions, a playground, and a restroom.