Hiking is such a great family activity… it’s free, it’s great exercise, you get all the positive benefits of spending time in nature and it’s something people of all ages can do if you pick the right trail! We have 11 more of the best hikes for families so find one that matches your broods pace and go for a hike!
Twin Cities Metro
Old Cedar Avenue Bridge (Bloomington MN) – The Old Cedar Avenue Bridge is located in the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, MN. The Old Cedar Bridge was reopened to pedestrians and bicycles in the Fall of 2016. After crossing the Old Cedar Bridge, take the ramp that goes to a sidewalk that runs parallel and slightly below the BIG cedar avenue bridge. If your family likes bridges, heights and a little bit of urban elements mixed in with really great wildlife viewing, this is a great spot for you!
Whitetail Woods Regional Park (Rosemount MN) – Whitetail Woods is the newest Regional Park in Dakota County. The hiking trails are very kid friendly. This park also has other amenities to enjoy including a nature play area, concerts in the summer, bathrooms and camper cabins. Read more about our experiences at Whitetail Woods here.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Chaska MN) – While the highlight of the Arboretum is the gardens, there is lot more to enjoy at the Arboretum besides gorgeous flowers. The Arboretum is over 1,000 acres, and there is a variety of terrains to hike. The Arb also had many kid friendly features such as indoor play spaces, different programs throughout the year, and a café to mention a few. The Arboretum is also a great option for winter walks and snowshoeing. More information about the Arboretum here.
Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls MN) – One of the most gorgeous spots in Minnesota and it is an easy drive from the Twin Cities. Some of the trails here are a little better suited to older kids but there is still plenty that little kids will enjoy – just keep them within arm’s reach! It’s a great place to see the forces of water at work with the potholes and cliffs.
Eastman Nature Center (Osseo MN) – This place is an amazing space, both inside and out. The nature center is beautiful and my kids had a blast checking out all they offer. The outdoor trails are great for kids of all ages and they also have a great outdoor nature play area.
South of the Cities
Cowling Arboretum (Northfield MN) – Located adjacent to the Carlton College campus, the arboretum is open year round to the public. We would recommend visiting in the summer when the school year is out because parking is much easier! Another benefit of visiting when school is not in session is that you can wonder over to the other side of Hwy 19 and explore the campus grounds a little. There is a beautiful little pond with a couple islands that have foot bridges so you can walk over to the islands, it is very picturesque!
River Bend Nature Center (Faribault MN) – River Bend has 10 miles of trails through beautiful prairies, forests and river banks. The nature center has all sorts of fun hands on learning activities.
Quarry Hill Nature Center (Rochester MN) – Quarry Hill is one of my family’s favorite places that have hiked in Minnesota. Not only can you search for fossils but the hiking trails were so much fun. There are also numerous old artifacts from when the area was a working quarry which the kids found really interesting. Read more about our adventures at Quarry Hill here.
North of Cities
Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji MN) – The Bog Walk at Lake Bemidji is a very special place. As you travel on the boardwalk that takes you through the bog you will see flora and fauna that is very unique. This place will always hold a very special place in my heart because it was the first place that we saw wild lady’s- slipper, and to make it even better there were loons calling from the lake while were admiring the lady’s-slippers. My Minnesota pride was shining bright on that hike!
Temperance River State Park (Silver Bay MN) – Located on the North Shore, Temperance River State park is a geological stunner. This is another trail better suited to older kids. There are some steep areas, and very high rock out croppings over the gorge and waterfall.
Itasca State Park (Park Rapids) – This iconic state park, Minnesota’s first State Park, encompasses the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The visitor centers are fantastic – especially the main visitor center and the one at the headwaters. The hiking is easy, beautiful and a must have on all Minnesotans bucket list!