Has your pup already binged all the shows, put together all the puzzles, and knit the entire family sweaters? Yeah, we get it. The winter blues can be ruff when you’re stuck inside day after day. The good news? Minnesota has plenty of pet-friendly trails to explore and scents to sniff. Time to hop off the couch and check out these Twin Cities winter hiking spots!
1. Theodore Wirth Regional Park
A secret gem of the Twin Cities, The Loppet Trails at Theodore Wirth make you feel like you’re in Northern Minnesota without the trouble of a road trip. While there are trails marked exclusively for fat-tire biking and skiing, all natural snow ski trails are open to snowshoers and furry hikers alike. Feeling a bit thirsty after all the walkies? You can grab a patio spot and a beer at the neighboring Utepils Brewing Co. or La Doña Cervecería.
2. Lake Elmo Park Reserve
If you’re in search of a grrreat workout with a super scenic view, look no further! Lake Elmo Park Reserve has rolling hills and over 2,000 acres of lakes within their extensive trail system. Just be sure to veer away from the cross-country ski trails (closed to hikers) and pack plenty of water for both you and your BFF.
3. Elm Creek Park Reserve
With 20 miles of hiking open to dogs, the Elm Creek Park Reserve trail system is the largest floof-friendly park in the state and offers something for everypuppy. There’s paved and turf trails, skijoring/dog sledding trails, and an unfenced 29-acre off-leash area for socialization and play time. Best part? It’s free for all—no fees or parking passes required!
4. Crosby Farm Regional Park
A hike that’s low-key like Sunday Morning, Crosby Farm Park in St. Paul offers just over 6 miles of paved trails, making it an easy way to take in the beautiful views of Crosby Lake marshes and the Mississippi River. Pro tip: Because of the nearby water sources, paws have been known to get fairly muddy, so don’t furget to come prepared!
5. Fish Lake Regional Park
Going puppin’ stir crazy? Fish Lake’s 7-acre off-leash dog haven could be just the thing. Between the socialization and wide-open lakeside space for gettin’ out the zoomies, this park is pawfect for pup’s mental and physical health. After all that hiking, head over to OMNI Brewing Company for a pint. Puppers welcome inside and out!
Before you take off to explore these snowy MN dog hikes, consider the following recommendations:
- Everypup handles the cold a bit differently. These breeds were born to participate in snowball fights. Be sure to understand your doggo’s cold-climate inclination.
- Just like us hoomans, some pups prefer to bundle up. Consider winter booties to stay toes-ty!
- Always pack your adventure accessories! We ruv glow-in-the-dark toys and winter snowsuits. Fido will also want doggie bags, a foldable water bowl, and treatos of course!
- Remind pupper of hiking etiquette—stay leashed at all times, pick up after one another, and stay to the left side of the trail!
Got the deets on more spots for dog-friendly winter activities? Woof at us in the comments and tag us in pup’s adventures @sidewalkdog!
Featured photo: Yan Krukov
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.