Let me preface this post by disclosing that I’ve only really explored hiking opportunities in the South Metro. It is quite a drive to make it to the north side of the area, so this list is clearly biased to the south side. There are so many different parks and reserve areas to explore in the Twin Cities. I’m constantly amazed at all the areas I have left to explore. The options seem limitless.
Based upon my experience to-date here are the four places I see as a must visit destination for hiking with kids. These places are great in the spring and summer, but fall is without a doubt one of the best times to visit each area. Minnesota trees in the autumn are magnificent and most of the photos I have featured are from that time of the year.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park: Jensen Lake Trailhead & Schulze Lake Beach
Lebanon Hills is by far the best option for hiking in the South Metro. The park is spread out over several different areas, but my favorites are the Jensen Lake Trailhead and the Schulze Lake Beach. Each of these areas have simple trails for hiking with kids. Learn more about Lebanon Hills.
Whitetail Woods Regional Park
Whitetail Woods is a new park. It’s almost hard to believe that new parks are still being created. This area is full of larger open trails for hiking and is continually being developed to provide additional offerings. Learn more about Whitetail Woods.
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Hyland Park Reserve trails are overshadowed by the tremendous playground that exists here. The play area is every kid’s dream. But beyond the playground is a large area to hike and explore. If you can manage to lure your little ones away checkout some of the 17.8 miles of trails.
Spring Lake Park Reserve
Spring Lake Park Reserve appears to a be a quiet hidden gem within the Dakota County park system. These lesser known trails have beautiful views of the Mississippi River Valley and there is even a simple playground to “reward” kids at the end of a hiking adventure.
Are there any other places you would add to this list? I’d love some recommendations on additional places to visit, please leave suggestions in the comments below!