The state of Minnesota is one of the country’s best places to live when you’re an active family. The charming Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen offers residents loads of outdoor recreational opportunities. Today’s the day to reach new peaks with a family hike near home. If you don’t know where to start, use this list to kick-start your next adventure.
Lake Ann Park
Chanhassen’s city officials maintain 65 miles of local trails for hiking, biking, and walking, including those you’ll find at Lake Ann Park. Discover this 102-acre city park’s peaceful wooded areas, gently rolling hills, and well-maintained swimming beach. The paved path follows West 78th Street, then cuts through the ball fields before reaching Lake Ann. Finally, you’ll wander along the shoreline, where it ends just past the fishing pier.
Lake Ann Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offers hungry families a variety of snacks from the concession stand that operates seasonally during the summer months. In addition to hiking trails, the park provides families with access to:
- Two picnic shelters.
- Tennis Court.
- Six lighted sports fields.
- Soccer field.
- Canoe racks.
- Non-motorized boat access.
Lake Susan Park
“A6302847 – 129” licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr by Joe K Gage
Another charming Chanhassen city park sits along the shores of picturesque Lake Susan. Hike the path here from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Explore this 33-acre scenic site with the trail that winds around both the lake and the adjacent pond. Following it can reveal loads of delightful natural discoveries — such as wildflowers, birds, and fish.
There’s a quick loop near Power’s Boulevard if you’re in a hurry to get the kiddos to school or hop on the path near the batting cages on Lake Drive and head towards the fishing pier for a longer hike. The whole family can play baseball, volleyball, basketball, and tennis at this park or rent a boat and float around the lake on a relaxing Minnesota afternoon.
Meadow Green Park
Spend a family day hiking at Meadow Green Park on Pontiac Lane. Many local youth sports teams meet up and compete here, and it’s clean and well-maintained. Everyone will enjoy plenty of amenities at Meadow Green, including a playground with slides, a climbing wall, and a tire swing.
Like all of our city green spaces, Meadow Green is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. This 13-acre destination offers access to the neighborhood’s network of walking paths. From here, you can hike the trail to nearby parks, including:
- Pioneer Pass Park (Bluff Creek Drive).
- Manchester Park (Lake Harrison Road).
- Power Hill Park (Flamingo Drive).
- Stone Creek Park (Stone Creek Lane East).
Rice Marsh Lake Park
Experience a fun-filled day on Rice Marsh Lake Park’s trail system. This four-acre park sits on Erie Circle and offers a 3.4-mile paved loop around the water. You’ll love this spot’s astounding views, and if you’re lucky, you just might spot native waterfowl like a duck or blue goose. So, don’t forget to bring your camera to this top pick and capture all the fun.
The path is a bit hilly, but never fear if you’re a novice hiker. Benches line the trail in case you and the kids need to rest. There are also basketball courts, ball fields, a playground, and a sheltered picnic area where you and the little ones can refuel after your hike.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
Enjoy a leisurely stroll or a fierce hike along the shores of Lake Minnewashta at this outstanding Minnesota regional park. Covering 340 acres, it offers outdoor enthusiasts a total of 5 miles of natural surface trails to work up a sweat.
The Lake Minnewashta Trail is a 1.8-mile paved loop that meanders through the area’s forest and over an inviting mix of terrain from grassy prairie to sandy beaches. It offers birdwatching opportunities and access to loads of Minnesota wildflowers when they bloom in May. This path is mostly flat, making it a good choice for a short hike and perfect for people of all ages and skill levels. Leashed dogs are welcome to use this trail, too.
Also within the park is the 2.5-mile long Marsh Trail to Prairie Loop. Reviewers report little traffic on this trail, and some even have it to themselves on occasion. This way is very hilly, and you’ll gain roughly 230 feet in elevation, so make sure you’re physically fit enough to tackle this challenging route. This path doesn’t have as much shade as the Lake trail, so make sure to wear sunscreen on sunny days. Likewise, the grassy surface can get a bit muddy after snow or rain, so watch your step.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a 1,200-acre horticulturalist’s dream located about 4 miles west of Chanhassen. This garden’s “Three-Mile Walk” provides an excellent overview of the grounds from the Sensory Garden at the Ordway Picnic Shelter. It allows visitors to hike to the Arboretum’s highest point. You’ll explore woods, wetlands, and prairie as it meanders through the Arboretum’s vast collections of native flora on a 2.25-mile trek.
Sign up the family for the center’s annual Fall Color Trail Run/Hike 5K and 10K in October, or wander down the beautiful paved Gail and Bob Buuck Walkway this afternoon. This walk offers stunning panoramic views of the Red Barn. Hike across paved paths, brick walkways, and gravel paths. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is $15 for visitors ages 16 and up. Kids 15 and under are free. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
So, there you have it! Crème de la Crème of Chanhassen provided you with this list of the best places to hike near home. Which location will you investigate first? Did we mention your family’s favorite spot to get up close to nature? If we missed it, let us know and drop us a line! We’ll be sure to add it to our growing list of fantastic local hiking spots.