These Trails Were Made for Walking

A socially distanced shout-out to Nine Mile Creek and Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Team Minnevangelist is only three-quarters vaccinated, so we’re still filling our weekends with socially distanced trails and takeout. The next few weeks are shaping up to be beautiful, so we wanted to share two of our newest favorite spots to stroll in the sun and listen to podcasts. (FYI, Ashlea Halpern just finished the Chippendales expose Welcome to Your Fantasy and gives it two 👍👍, while Andrew Parks is usually streaming the latest Milk Street Radio.)

First up: Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, which actually runs for 14.63 miles through woods and wetlands, starting at the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail in Hopkins and meandering through the watershed communities of Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield, and Bloomington. If you travel west to east on the path, you have the option of picking up the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail, which connects to Lake Nokomis and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.

The paved path is shared by bicyclists, pedestrians, and dog walkers, but it’s also 10 feet wide so it rarely feels crowded. Trail parking and access points are available in multiple spots along the route; notable diversions include the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Snelling State Park, and the odd mossy log inhabited by fairies and gnomes.

The other greenspace we’ve fallen in love with is Hyland Lake Park Reserve, also in the Three Rivers Park district in Bloomington. A nice balance of rolling prairie and pristine lake, it’s home to the Richardson Nature Center, Hyland Hills Ski Area, two disc golf courses, pedal boats, and a ridiculously over-the-top playground. (We don’t have kids but if we did, we’d bring them here every day: This thing has hexagonal climbers and slides up to 50-feet long, plus there is a special section designed for children under five and those with disabilities.)

On our latest pass through the reserve, we walked the 5.4-mile Hyland and Bush Lakes Loop Trail, which had a small gain in elevation (380 feet) but got us far enough away from other people that we crossed paths with four deer and two turtles sunbathing on a log. 🐢🐢🪵🥰