by Don Begalle
Rivers can provide hikers with a scenic and relaxing focal point. The Twin Cities metro has several rivers running through or nearby and all have a park or two (or more) where one can enjoy a stroll along the banks.
In addition to being managed by the National Park Service, the Mississippi River is lined by parks along its run through the metro. If you are up north, hike near (or almost near) the river at the Coon Rapids Dam. Anoka County has a park on the river’s east side and Three Rivers has one on the west.
Like the Mississippi, the Minnesota River also has parkland along most of its metro miles. Stick close to home and hike in Fort Snelling State Park. Park under the Cedar Avenue (Highway 77) bridge and take the six-mile trail all the way to the Sibley House historic site (if you’re feeling up to it).
On the Wisconsin border, the National Park Service also manages the St. Croix National Scenic River. Head to Afton State Park for a 2.5 mile hike along this beautiful river.
Far out at the western edge of Hennepin County lies the Crow River. Three Rivers Park District’s Crow Hassan Park Reserve is the place to spend a little time on this river.
At the northern end of the metro, the Rum River chugs and curls southward on its voyage to the Mississippi. Take in this quiet river at Anoka County’s Rum River Central Park.
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