Hiking with Kids in Minnesota: Whitetail Woods Park



Dakota County has a new park. A new huge park.  How does this happen? I can’t say that I have any idea, but I’m sure it’s a complicated process. My understanding is that is has taken years to make Whitetail Woods Regional Park a reality.  I didn’t even realize that new parks were still being created. Most parks have been around for a minimum of twenty years, it seems. Most have been around for much, much longer. I have to cheer a little bit for good ol’ Minnesota once again.  A new park within 45 minutes to downtown Minneapolis. For sure, it’s a good thing. 



Given it’s new status, this park definitely is a little rough around the edges. The trails are fairly rudimentary, as are some of the shelter areas.  But hey! It’s new and that’s just the way it goes. Given the framework that has been started I can see the outlines of a fully functioning well developed space. 


It’s impossible to tell from the image {above}, but there is an amphitheater built into the ground.  Rather than using brick or stone, they created a natural number of levels on the ground.  I’m curious to see what sort of offers they make available within the coming summer.  


Hiking with kids is always an adventure, but the trails are quite easy here.  Again, with much more to be developed, they will need to vary the level of intensity for some of these hikes.  But if you need run off some steam with kids, this is a good place.  One area of note, is that there is a small section of the trail that is near the road into the park.  I’m not such a fan of this planning, though this close placement happens at many other parks. 




Anytime we are hiking I make sure to bring along some snacks.  Inevitably the kids will go through periods of boredom while hiking, but then be intrigued by something that appears along the way.  But once the hunger pains set in, the trip is sure to be painful.   My seven year old becomes angry and quite emotional when his blood sugar levels dip down.  I try to avoid the dramatics that ensue whenever possible.   A hiking trip can quickly go from fun, to torture in a matter of minutes if underfed.  As the mom of boys, I guess that’s just what I’ve learned:) 





Another reality I’ve come to accept while hiking with boys is that sticks are a necessity.  They just have to have them. I try to guide their natural tendencies into a handy walking stick.  That idea can create problems of it’s own- finding the perfect stick.  But it’s always great to have kids “hunting” for items as they hike.  Looking for the perfect stick can create a simple game that can engage the produce excitement for little ones. 




 Have you visited Whitetail Woos Regional Park yet? What park do you frequently visit? I’d love some of your suggestions if you live in Minnesota! 




  1. Barbara Montag says

    I live in MN and haven’t been there.
    Thanks for the posts and pics.

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