The sun’s a-shinin’, the snow’s a-meltin’, and there’s furry frens to meet! We’re saying hello to springtime and adios to the cold white stuff which means one thing: MUD. But don’t let the prospect of filthy paws keep you from getting out to sniff and ‘splore. Pounce off that couch and get your paws on these 10 paved Twin Cities walking trails.
Before you jetset on your adventures, make sure your pooch has a standard, non-retractable leash, and don’t furget to clean up after him. Not sure about the law of [paved walking] land? Check out our Good Dog’s Guide to Hiking Etiquette for some quick tips that’ll translate no matter where walkies take you.
1. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve
If pup’s never been to Stearns County’s Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, you gotta go! There’s endless beauty and fascinating land formations to take in on this springtime walk. The park has 600 acres of wetlands, granite history, and paved trails. Just no floofs allowed in the quarries or the Scientific and Natural Areas.
2. Fish Lake Regional Park
Leash pup the pooch for this fantastic West Metro walko. In addition to Fish Lake Regional Park’s picturesque paved trails, your BFF can get her zoomies out at the 7-acre off-leash dog park. Woof to the wise: hit up Daily Dose Cafe and Espresso for an energy boost on their patio!
3. Forbay Trail
If you’re pup for a road trip, check out Jay Cooke State Park’s Forbay Trail. It’s a quick 1.7-mile jaunt out and back. There’s some moderate incline walking but your woofer will be rewarded at the top with an Insta-worthy view of calm water and a rustic bridge.
4. Rice Creek Loop Trail
Just north of Minneapolis in Shoreview you’ll find the Rice Creek Loop Trail, an easy 1.7-mile paved section within the larger Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park. If pup’s really ready to roam (and you don’t care about getting a little dirty), there are 13+ miles of prairies, woodlands, and marsh to explore. Thankfully You Dirty Dog is right up the street for a post-adventure, self-service pitstop.
5. Willow State Park
Yeah, yeah, we know…Willow State Park is technically in the land of the cheeseheads, but it’s just too good to miss. Doggo won’t have to drive very far over the border to enjoy this lil’ slice of heaven. We love the variety of hikes (paved and unpaved) and difficulty levels that Willow State Park offers. Plus, there’s waterfalls for those selfie opps. Start packing the picnic now!
6. Gateway Brown’s Creek Trail
Nestled in the woods, Gateway Brown’s Creek Trail is considered the recreational jewel of the East Metro. This former Soo Line rail bed runs between St. Paul and Stillwater for 18 miles. We highly recommend starting with the 5.9-mile connection between Stillwater and the St. Croix River. Plus, after you get your sweat on, you’ll be conveniently placed to get your shop and sip on in Downtown Stillwater—they’ve got loads of dog-friendly stops.
7. Lebanon Hills Regional Park
With 2,000 sprawling acres of prairie, lakes, forest, and dog-friendly paved trails, Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Dakota County is sure to pawlease pups of all kinds. Just give the map a once over before you head out as some of their trails are shared with horses.
8. Whitetail Woods Regional Park
Whitetail Woods Regional Park is a quick drive from Minneapolis, so an evening walk after bork is totes doable. It’ll be easy for pup to get lost in his thoughts with the zen vibes offered by this furbulous wide-open space. You may even spot some wildlife since the trail system backs up to the Vermillion Highlands Wildlife Management Area.
9. Lake Harriet Loop
Between the sailboat sightings, the wildflower smells, and the abundant people watching, the Lake Harriet Loop is a mutts-do for any Minneapolis pup. This 2.8-mile walk can be bustlin’ at times, so if you’ve got a shy Shih Tzu, feel free to wander through the nearby neighborhoods to help Fido pick out his dream home instead.
10. Pike Island Loop
Tired of the same ol’ trip around the block? Located in Fort Snelling Park, the 3.9-mile Pike Island Loop is an easy and gorgeous walk in the heart of the Twin Cities. And although it’s an urban location, you could get lucky and spot an eagle or two! Just be sure to bring along your MN state park pass or grab a day pass in order to enjoy the scenic exploration.
Where is Spot’s fave spot to stretch her legs on a springtime walk? Bark at us in the comments and tag us @SidewalkDog in your adventures.
Featured photo: Andriyko Podilnyk
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, join our Dog-Friendly Twin Cities Facebook Group, and grab one of our Dog-Friendly Brewery Passes.