Coming in at No. 20 on FitBit's 2017 list, Minneapolis is a mecca for outdoor recreation. The Chain of Lakes--Bde Maka Ska, Harriet, Cedar, and Lake of the Isles--are popular with locals and visitors alike, connected by more than 11 miles of paved walking/running and biking paths, and part of the larger Grand Rounds trail system that encompasses 51 miles of trails. Pick a lake and make a loop--the biggest, Bde Maka Ska, is a perfect 5K--then reward yourself with a snack from one of the great lakeside eateries.

Lake Harriet in Minneapolies | Explore Minnesota

Cedar Lake bike trail in Minneapolis | Explore Minnesota


While Minneapolis is the city of lakes, in St. Paul it's all about the river. A paved ped/bike path parallels Mississippi River Boulevard on the capitol city's western edge, turning east past downtown and beyond, with beautiful views of the mighty river, lakefront homes, and cityscapes along the 15-mile route. If a loop is more your speed, head to Lake Como or Lake Phalen for a lap around the lake.

Lake Phalen, St. Paul | Explore Minnesota

Mississippi River Trail Bike Tour, St. Paul | Anna Min Enterprises


Three Rivers Park District, on the west side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, offers runners and walkers lots of options. At Carver Park Reserve, two paved loops wind past lakes and woods with plentiful wildlife. As an added bonus, those who like to exercise with their dogs can take advantage of the off-leash dog area just off
the trail.

Stretching 13 miles from Lake Waconia to Wayzata, the Dakota Rail Regional Trail follows a former rail corridor, traveling between Lake Minnetonka's many bays, over bridges, and past attractions like Gale Woods Farm and Big Stone Mini Golf. More paved loops can be found in Hyland Lake, Elm Creek, Baker, Lake Rebecca, and other park reserves throughout the Three Rivers system.

The Dakota Rail Trail between Wayzata and St. Bonifacius | Explore Minnesota

East of St. Paul, Lake Elmo Park Reserve has 5 miles of paved trails with gently rolling hills and a variety of landscapes. The Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in this region are both paralleled by paved trails, with segments like the Mississippi River Trail (in Hastings' Spring Lake Park) and the Minnesota River Greenway (in Burnsville). Catch a view of both rivers from the 4.5-mile Big Rivers Regional Trail from Eagan to Lilydale, which overlooks the confluence of the two.

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