Top Running Trails in Minneapolis

July 27, 2020
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Let’s face it. Everyone seems to be going a bit stir crazy during this quarantine. You can only walk your dog so many times or re-watch your favorite Netflix show. And looking at your budget, frequent liquor store trips is taking a dent. So, what better way to pass time during this pandemic than picking up a new hobby?


Many people are turning to exercise to help them get through. Whether you’re doing squats in a homemade garage gym, streaming a 30-minute booty workout, or lacing up the sneakers and hitting the trails, all of these options help pass time and keep you sane.


If running is one of your new hobbies, here are a few trails to checkout in Minneapolis that you’re sure to enjoy. Remember to keep your social distance and wear some ACT merch.


Lake Harriet

Lake Harriot is a beautiful city lake with a running trail perfect for any caliber runner. As part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, this trail sits just outside of downtown and stones-throw south of Bde Maka Ska. Home to hundreds of sail boats and an outdoor Bandshell, you’re bound to experience something that takes your mind off running. Just shy of three miles, this trail is relatively flat, paved, and there is a second trail for bikers so you’re not running for your life. When you complete your run, be sure to walk by the northeast side of the lake where there is a lush spectacular rose garden. You may also want to grab an ice cream cone from Bread and Pickle at the bandshell or take a cool down dip in one of the two beaches on the lake.


Theodore Wirth Regional Park

Theodore worth sits about 10 minutes west of downtown Minneapolis in Golden Valley. This park has activities for every outdoor enthusiast including mountain biking, tennis, archery, golf, and sledding in the winter. It also happens to have miles and miles of running trails, through the woods and around water.


If you want to avoid all the mountain bikers and off road trails, jump on the paved parkway trail and let your legs go! One recommendation – wear bug spray. Some of the trails sit in swamp land and can get quite buggy. Spray down before running and you won’t be sorry.


Stone Arch, Saint Anthony Main, U of M

As a former Gopher, I may be biased but this city loop is one of the best running trails in all of Minnesota. Starting at the historic stone arch bridge and heading north you hit St. Anthony Main on the far side of the bridge. Turn west and you will pass some quaint cafes and shops on one side of the street while the Mississippi river flows on the other. Once you hit Central Avenue, head north to University Ave. Follow University Avenue to the U of M and you can go any which way you want.


A personal favorite is taking university all the way to TCF Bank Stadium. After you admire the stomping grounds of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, loop around to the north side of Mariucci and look for the Dinkytown Greenway. Jump on this trail and you have a straight shot back to city. Under bridges, across railroad tracks and alongside the University of Minnesota campus. It’s beautiful. Once you cross the Mississippi river head east on W River Pkwy. This will take you under 35W and back towards Gold Medal Park and the Stone Arch Bridge. Boom! You did it! 3 miles down and a nice sweat to boot. Just be sure to take in the stunning historic views.


Cedar Lake Trail

Looking for a nice straight 3.5 mile trail? Then look no further than the Cedar Lake Trail. Starting on W. River Parkway in between Hennepin Avenue and 4th street, this trail is a straight shot through the city to Cedar Lake. Most of the trail is secluded and carries heavy bike traffic but you run past Target Field and you’re not stopping every block for traffic. Plus if you’re legs are feeling good after you hit Cedar Lake, you can keep going. In fact you can take this trail into Hopkins and even further west if you want. If you’re training for a long race, this is a great trail to put some serious miles on your legs.


Minnesota is home to some of the best trails and parks in the country. The most important part is to get out there and experience them yourself. If you’re like me, you’re looking for distractions on the trail to keep your mind off the pain of running. These trails are a great place to start. Happy running!


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