Here are fifteen of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis, MN

15 Best Hiking Trails near Minneapolis, Minnesota in the Fall

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LOOKING FOR SOME OF THE BEST HIKING TRAILS NEAR MINNEAPOLIS TO EXPLORE IN THE FALL?

Minneapolis, Minnesota is such a beautiful place during the fall. The leaves begin to change, the summer heat simmers down, and you can feel the seasonal transition happening in the air. One of the best ways to experience the fall season is by getting outside and taking it all in.

15 Best Hiking Trails Near Minneapolis In The Fall: An Overview

In this post, we’ll be diving into fifteen of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis. If you’re looking for a hike with city views, nature views, or trails that are dog-friendly, this list covers it all. Here’s an overview of all the fantastic walking trails we’ll be going over.

  • Minneapolis Micro Trail
  • Stone Arch Bridge Trail
  • Quaking Bog Loop
  • Hidden Falls Trail
  • Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail
  • Minnehaha Falls (Lower Glen Trail)
  • Lake Nokomis Trail
  • Lake of the Isles Loop
  • Lake Harriet Loop Trail
  • Bde Maka Ska Loop
  • Nine Mile Creek Loop
  • Cedar Lake Trail
  • Winchell Trail
  • West River Parkway Trail
  • Lake Independence Regional Trail

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    15 Best Hiking Trails Near Minneapolis For The Fall Season

    People who have never visited Minneapolis assume there aren’t many good hiking trails in the area. Thankfully, they couldn’t be more wrong! Minneapolis is a great place to explore outside, offering both paths on the outskirts of the city and in the hub of downtown. 

    Plus, autumn is one of the most ideal times to take advantage of all of these opportunities! The weather is perfect, the leaves are beautiful, and it’s a great chance to move your body before the cold season rolls in. Let’s get to it!

    Here are fifteen of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis, MN

    1. Minneapolis Micro Trail

    Distance: 0.02 miles
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Whoever named this trail wasn’t kidding… Minneapolis Micro Trail is only .02 miles long, but beautiful nonetheless. Located in a pollinator garden, this is a great place to get outside to experience the fall colors. This location is the perfect place to eat lunch or to meet a friend for a mid-day work break!

    It’s important to note that this trail is located on private property, although it has been said that the owners are more than happy to share this quaint spot during the daytime. The location is marked at 3204 ​​E 25th Street. Make sure to be respectful during your visit!

    The Stone arch bridge is one of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis, Minnesota!

    2. Stone Arch Bridge Trail

    Distance: 1 mile out and back
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    The Stone Arch Bridge might be one of the most popular walking bridges in all of Minneapolis. The wide path that welcomes walkers and bikers alike offers spectacular views of Minneapolis and the Mississippi River. This trail is perfect for those looking for a city view with a glimpse at the changing leaves along the river. 

    There are various opportunities to extend your walk if you’d like. On the west side of the bridge near Mill Ruins, there is a walking path alongside the river. On the opposite side near SE Main Street, head north to find additional walking paths with restrooms located nearby. 

    Stone Arch Bridge is a great way to get outside and explore the city for a bit. It’s not a relatively long hike, but the views are worth it and the path is well maintained!

    Wooden bridge to help walkers cross river

    3. Quaking Bog Loop

    Distance: 1.2-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Theodore Wirth Park – Minneapolis, MN

    The Quaking Bog Loop trail has been described as one of the best ways to experience nature so close to the cities! Located in Theodore Wirth Park, the Quaking Bog Loop trail is surrounded by large trees, mosses, and wetlands. 

    The trail features both natural walkways and boardwalks across the wetter parks. It’s a fantastic area to experience wildlife and the sounds of nature immerse you in the surrounding ecosystem. Make sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, as it is a wetlands area!

    Hidden Falls Path

    4. Hidden Falls Trail

    Distance: 1.3-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Hidden Falls Regional Park – St. Paul, MN

    Although this trail is located in Saint Paul, Hidden Falls is worth the short drive! Walk a short way in the woods and you’ll eventually encounter a ‘hidden’ waterfall that is located below Mississippi River Boulevard. 

    This waterfall is much quieter than others in the area, and there is more opportunity to get close to the falls. You’ll find a beachy area along with a few grassy spots that are perfect for an autumn picnic. 

    The trail is sandy at some points, and visitors have noted some fallen trees that they needed to maneuver around. However, it’s still considered a fairly easy trail. Hidden Falls loop trail is a favorite in the park, however, if you’re looking for something different, the park offers 6.7 miles of hiking trails.

    beautiful leaves changing in Minnesota

    5. Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail

    Distance: 1.8-mile loop
    Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
    Location: Theodore Wirth Regional Park – Minneapolis, MN

    Theodore Wirth Regional Park is a wonder in the city. It’s a fantastic place to escape the hustle and bustle and relax in nature. The Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail passes the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden which is a wondrous destination by itself!

    There are multiple paths to follow around the Wildflower Garden, and oftentimes it is a challenge to follow a particular path. They are all fairly short in distance, so if you lose your path, the worst-case scenario is you make your way back to the front! You’ll need to leave your pups at home because dogs aren’t allowed at this destination.

    Minnehaha falls is one of the best hikes near Minneapolis during the fall season

    6. Minnehaha Falls (Lower Glen Trail)

    Distance: 2.1-mile loop
    Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
    Location: Minnehaha Regional Park – Minneapolis, MN

    Lower Glen Trail is an extremely popular hiking route, and for good reason. The trail begins at Minnehaha Falls and then weaves through the canyon area through Minnehaha Creek. The trail consists of boardwalks and a natural path. 

    As you continue, Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River will join together, providing excellent riparian views. There are many bridge crossings to help navigate across the river, but many portions of this hike are rated moderately difficult. 

    This trail is a perfect example of getting both city and nature views. On the route, you’ll encounter the Godfrey Mill Ruins, beautiful stone bridges, grassy areas, limestone bluffs, and so much more!

    It’s important to note that to reach Minnehaha Falls, you will need to descend a wooden staircase. Depending on weather conditions and water level, it may be closed, so make sure to check recent reviews online to get more accurate information. The staircase is always closed during the winter season, but you should be able to access it during the fall.

    Best Fall this year due to vibrant trees along hiking trail near Minneapolis

    7. Lake Nokomis Trail

    Distance: 2.5-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Lake Nokomis Park – Minneapolis, MN

    Lake Nokomis Park is one of the few paved paths in Minneapolis, making it a great trail for all age groups. It’s located in Lake Nokomis Park, which has a variety of amenities along the way, including a beach, playground, boat launch, and fishing piers. 

    There are plenty of planted trees along the route, making it a great place to see the colors of the leaves as they’re changing. The lake, of course, only adds to the vibrant view. Walking around Lake Nokomis is great for families, friends, and even pets!

    lake of the isles in the fall

    8. Lake of the Isles Loop

    Distance: 2.7-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Park

    This 2.7-mile loop trail circles around Lake of the Isles with beautiful views of the lake and Raspberry Island. Hikers, bikers, and leashed dog walkers enjoy this trail all year round. It’s generally considered an easy route, although there are a few hills along the way!

    One of the benefits of this trail is that it has a restroom facility and water fountains in the park. If you enjoy checking out beautiful homes, this is a great trail to do so! It’s even more beautiful during the autumn when the leaves begin to change and reflect off of the lake.

    lake Harriett is one of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis in the fall

    9. Lake Harriet Loop Trail

    Distance: 2.8-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Lake Harriet – Minneapolis, MN

    Lake Harriet is a popular walking path for many who reside in Minneapolis. It’s a 2.8-mile loop trail that wraps around the lake, offering breathtaking views of the water and changing trees in the autumn. You can access Lake Harriet off of 44th Street. 

    There is no elevation gain on this path, so it’s rated relatively easy. It’s great for an afternoon nature stroll that offers nature views while still located within the city. Bring your family or pets for extra company!

    Consider extending your stay by checking out Bandshell Park or the Lyndale Park Rose Garden located across the street!

    Fall around the lake near Minneapolis

    10. Bde Maka Ska Loop

    Distance: 3.2-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Bde Maka Ska Park – Minneapolis, MN

    Formerly known as Lake Calhoun, the Bde Maka Ska trail loop is a popular fall trail around the lake for bikers, runners, and walkers alike. The trail is paved and fairly flat and is a great fall option for those looking for an accessible walk around the lake. There are great amenities around the area, and the park is near the chain of lakes for further autumn exploration!

    Along the way, you’ll stumble upon three different beaches which are great for taking in the fall colors that shine off the water. Other park amenities include a boat dock, fishing pier, volleyball court, softball and soccer field, drinking fountains, a restroom, and a pay-to-park lot.

    walking path near a river

    11. Nine Mile Creek Loop

    Distance: 4-mile loop
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: River Valley Park – Minneapolis, MN

    Despite the trail’s name, this hiking path isn’t actually nine miles long! This four-mile loop follows the downstream portion of Nine Mile Creek until its convergence with the Mississippi River. If you’re like me and like natural infrastructure on your hikes, you’re in luck because this path has plenty of bridges for river crossings. 

    Many hikers favor this hike due to the section that leads up to a bluff, which is breathtaking in the fall season. At the top, you’re directed through an oak savanna with gorgeous trees for viewing. Some parts of the trail are pedestrian-only but can be pretty steep in elevation.

    cedar lake

    12. Cedar Lake Trail

    Distance: 4.5 miles
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    This paved 4.5-mile path starts from downtown Minneapolis and makes its way to Saint Louis Park. This smooth and well-marked trail is great for hikers, bikers, and dog walkers alike! It is open from 5 AM to 10 PM and follows the former railroad lines of the Great Northern, Minneapolis, and St. Louis railways. 

    At the end of the paved path, you can continue for another 4.2 miles to reach Hopkins, Minnesota. The paved path turns into North Cedar Lake Regional Trail. This is a great fall hike for those in the neighboring cities to reach downtown Minneapolis.

    Beautiful trail in the summertime

    13. Winchell Trail

    Distance: 5.4 miles out and back 
    Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Winchell Trail is a great place to witness the leaves changing in Minnesota because it parallels the Mississippi River on the west side. Some trees line the pathway, and it’s a pedestrian-only path, providing the peace needed for a tranquil stroll. The path goes between Franklin Avenue South and East 44th Street. 

    The trail is a combination of paved and unpaved paths, though generally considered flat. Located close to the river, some sections aren’t well marked, so make sure to stay on the trail. You’ll pass through a beautiful river gorge and catch some amazing views on this trek!

    west river parkway

    14. West River Parkway Trail

    Distance: 7.24 miles out and back 
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    For those looking for great nature and city views in the fall, the West River Parkway Trail might be your best bet! Stretching between Plymouth Avenue North opposite Boom Island and Ford Parkway in Minnehaha Regional Falls, this trail witnesses some of the best sites in the area.

    Along the trail, you’ll pass by fantastic city views including the University of Minnesota campus, the Dinkytown Greenway, the Midtown Greenway, and downtown Minneapolis. For nature lovers, this path passes by many trailheads leading to St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, James I. Rice Park, and Godfrey Park.

    cool walkway near lake in mn

    15. Lake Independence Regional Trail

    Distance: 15.9 miles out and back 
    Difficulty: Easy
    Location: Hanover, MN

    Lake Independence Regional Trail is a 10-foot paved trail that is great for walking, running, rollerblading, biking, and dog walking! It connects to Crow-Hassen Park Reserve, Baker Park Reserve, and the Luce Line State Trail. The trail is open from 5 AM to 10 PM and is available for all-day use. 

    The majority of the trail follows along County Road 19 through a vast farmland. The trail in the southern section weaves through Lake Independence (surprise, surprise), Lake Katrina, and around Baker Park Reserve. The southern portion of the trail is more popular due to the stretch of lake views.

    Best Hiking Trails near Minneapolis with City Views

    Now that we’ve gone over fifteen great hiking trails near Minneapolis that are prime for the fall, let’s look at the trails listed above that offer some of the prettiest city views! 

    • Stone Arch Bridge Trail
    • Minnehaha Falls Trail
    • West River Parkway Trail

    Best Hiking Trails near Minneapolis with Nature Views

    If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle culture of the cities and want more of a walk in the woods, here are five of our favorites from the trails listed above!

    • Quaking Bog Loop
    • Hidden Falls Trail
    • Theodore Wirth Wildflower Trail
    • Nine Mile Creek Loop
    • Winchell Trail

    Best Hiking Trails near Minneapolis by a Lake

    Of course, being in the land of 10,000 lakes, many of the trails listed above involve walking around a lake. These lake loops are even better during the fall season because the reflection of the changing leaves on the water is one of a kind! Here are all the lake hikes included above…

    • Lake Nokomis Trail
    • Lake of the Isles Loop
    • Lake Harriett Loop Trail
    • Bde Maka Ska Loop
    • Cedar Lake Trail
    • Lake Independence Regional Trail

    Beautiful Fall Leaves driving through Minnesota

    Wrapping Up: 15 Best Hiking Trails near Minneapolis, Minnesota in the Fall

    There you have it! Fifteen of the best hiking trails near Minneapolis, Minnesota for the fall season. I hope that this list has provided you with some insight into the best places to see the changing leaves in the cities this autumn! Whether you’d like to walk in a wildflower garden, wetlands, a bridge overlooking the Mississippi, or around a lake, there is something for everyone in this magical city!

    Happy trails!