Conveniently located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the 10 communities of the Twin Cities Gateway (Anoka, Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview) offer tasty eats, trails and parks, and recreational facilities.
Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley
Springbrook Nature Center has beautiful trails that wind through forests, over floating boardwalks, and through native prairies. There are over three miles of trails on very flat terrain, including the 0.4-mile paved Beaver Pond trail near the Nature Center as well as the 1.5-mile woodchip Outer Hiking Trail. Free parking and restrooms are available.
To make your hike even more fun, check out an activity backpack from the Nature Center. Each activity backpack includes supplies for family activities that can be done on the trails, and the backpacks are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton
Long Lake Regional Park has over three miles of paved trails, with views of Long Lake and Rush Lake. After your hike, enjoy some of the park’s other amenities, including a swimming beach with a concession stand, sand play area for toddlers, and two playgrounds.
Free parking and restrooms are available, and the trails are pet-friendly and open to leashed dogs.
Blaine Wetland Sanctuary, Blaine
Explore a unique natural habitat and spot native butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and more at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary. There’s a mile-long boardwalk that connects to an additional 0.8 miles of paved trails, with a free parking area located along Lexington Avenue North.
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Coon Rapids
Hike along the Mississippi River at Coon Rapid Dam Regional Park, which has over four miles of paved trails and an additional 1.5 miles of unpaved trails. You can cross the Coon Rapids Dam for up-close views of the river, and there’s also a visitor center, restrooms, a playground, and picnic pavilions.
Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park, Shoreview
Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park has plenty of paved and unpaved trails to explore, most of which follow the shores of the park’s lakes. The Snail Lake portion of the park also has a large playground and swimming beach, while the Sucker Lake portion has a small playground. Free parking and restrooms are available in both portions of the park, and the trails are pet-friendly and open to leashed dogs.
Bunker Hills Regional Park, Coon Rapids and Ham Lake
You’ll find one of only a few remaining oak savannah habitats in Bunker Hills Regional Park, which has over ten miles of paved and unpaved trails. The park also has native prairie and wetland habitats. You can pair your hike with a visit to some of the park’s other amenities, including a nature play area, Bunker Beach (the largest outdoor water park in Minnesota), a disc golf course, and a campground.