Time and time again, Minneapolis and St. Paul sit atop annual lists of the best park systems in the United States, including U.S. News, The Trust for Public Land, and Business Insider. Not only do the Twin Cities have dozens of beautiful, well-groomed city parks, but they’re entirely free of charge. And arguably the best season to explore our serene city parks is during autumn’s peak. Every autumn, locals and travelers alike take full advantage of the vibrant Minnesota fall colors by visiting several parks to snap photos, walk their dogs, and simply stroll underneath colorful, falling leaves. Minnestay has lovely vacation rentals in Minneapolis’ North Loop, Edina, St. Paul, and far beyond, so you’ll always be minutes away from a calming autumn adventure.
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST MINNESOTA FALL COLORS
To ensure that your autumn escape to the Twin Cities is nothing short of flawless, we’ve compiled four of the best hikes near Minneapolis that are equally spellbinding and undemanding. Don’t forget to consult the DNR’s handy Minnesota fall color map a couple of days in advance of your journey.
1. WOOD LAKE NATURE CENTER
The Wood Lake Nature Center is by far one of our favorite hidden gems in the Twin Cities. Yes, this preserve features a jaw-dropping blend of fire orange, amber, marigold, and kelly green, but you’ll likely also spot a wide variety of wildlife. In the past few visits, we’ve observed white-tailed deer, koi, egrets, painted turtles, owls, bad eagles, muskrats, and dozens of other bird species. Wood Lake is also a short jaunt from the Mall of America, Wild Mind Artisan Ales, and Uptown.
2. LEBANON HILLS REGIONAL PARK
Arguably the most vibrant Minnesota fall colors can be observed at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, especially on the Jensen Lake Trail. This 2.1-mile loop features a stunning mixture of sprawling lake views, dense forestry, and quiet marshlands. The fall colors truly pop in this massive, 1,869-acre park, and it’s far enough from traffic to create a calming allure. Most locals use this loop for jogging, dog walking, and leisurely strolls.
3. MINNEHAHA REGIONAL PARK
Whereas Wood Lake and Lebanon Hills are both secluded and infrequently visited, Minnehaha Regional Park ranks among the most popular natural attractions in the state. Minnehaha Falls is beautiful during all seasons, even in the heart of winter. But visiting in October is a must as quintessential Minnesota fall colors surround this rushing waterfall. We highly recommend walking along Minnehaha Creek all the way to the mighty Mississippi River or stopping for lunch at the seasonal Sea Salt Eatery. Many travelers combine a visit to Minnehaha Falls with an excursion to Fort Snelling State Park or Hidden Falls Regional Park.
4. LAKE OF THE ISLES
While Lake of the Isles lacks dense forestry, it remains one of the prettiest fall scenes in the Twin Cities. There are several beautiful lakes located in lively Southwest Minneapolis, but the serenity of this 2.6-mile loop is second-to-none. This cycling and jogging hot spot offers faraway views of Downtown Minneapolis as well as several island chains that are speckled with awe-inspiring Minnesota fall colors. Once you’re finished with the loop, you can trek over to Uptown for dinner at Roat Osha, India Palace, or Up-Down.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN MINNESOTA
Minnestay’s luxury vacation rentals are within minutes of the top-rated things to in Minneapolis, including Target Field, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and dozens of award-winning breweries, such as Fulton, Indeed, and Dangerous Man. Many of our luxury estates and lake cabins are also a short drive from some of the prettiest Southeast and Central Minnesota fall foliage. To learn more about our North Loop condominiums, please visit us online, or give us a call today at 612-216-5511.