Trails

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers close to 50 miles of trails along the Minnesota River from Bloomington to Henderson. 

Learn more about the trails and current conditions below. Download one of the following trail maps to print or save to your device.  

Downloadable Trail Maps

Georeferenced Trail Maps

Download a georeferenced trail map to use on apps like Avenza, to track your location without using internet or network connection. Directions to download and add to your mobile device when you click any of the following trail maps.

Trail and Hiking Related News (last updated 7/22/2024):

General Trail Updates:
  • Flooding has impacted many refuge trails and access points. Updates on flooded areas will be posted as it becomes available.
  • Do not attempt to use flooded trails or access points.
  • As floodwaters recede, we will be working to clear flood debris from trails. Please exercise caution and maintain a safe distance working maintenance crews. We appreciate your patience during this time.
Current Trail Closures:
  • Caspersen Landing - Closed until further notice due to flooding
  • Long Meadow Lake Trail - Trail closed Mondays-Fridays until further notice for state trail construction and repair
  • Minnesota Valley State Trail (MN DNR) - The trail is closed in Bloomington and from Belle Plaine to Shakopee due to high and rising water levels.
  • Mendota Trail (MN DNR) - The Mendota trail between Jens Caspersen landing and Ft. Snelling State Park
  • Minnesota Riverfront Park - Expect flooding at parking lot through the foreseeable future
  • Minnesota River Greenway - Closed until further notice due to flooding
Trails Affected By Seasonal Flooding:
  • Carver Creek Trail - Expect flooding through 7/26
  • Chaska Lake Trail - Expect flooding through 7/26
  • Mazomani Trail - Expect flooding through 7/26
  • Middle Road Trail - Expect flooding through 7/25

Bass Ponds Trail

Situated steps from the Mall of America, the Bass Ponds Trail loop is a premier birding hot spot on the refuge. Visit this former Izaak Walton League fish hatchery to spot some of the more than 250 bird species that visit the refuge each year. Walk down a steep driveway to flat loop trails that circle ponds, marsh and a spring-fed stream. Accessible parking at bottom of hill available by request.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: Bass Ponds Trailhead 2501 86th St E, Bloomington, MN 55425
Trail Length (mi)
0.85
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Bloomington Ferry Trail

From the parking area, go through the gate on the west side of the parking lot. This trail travels west through forest its entire length, ending at the Hwy 169 bridge, though it may appear to continue. Return by the same route. Going farther ahead leads to trespass on privately owned lands.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Length: 0.5 miles one way
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 11255 Bloomington Ferry Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Trail Length (mi)
0.65
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Bluff Trail

The trail can be accessed from the Old Cedar Ave Trailhead, Mound Spring Park at 11th Ave South near Indian Mounds Elementary, Pond-Dakota Mission Park, Hopkins Road or Lyndale/Sorensen Landing. This narrow trail rises and falls over forested hills and natural springs, with drainages leading to wetlands below. Bicycling is not allowed between Old Cedar Ave and the Mound Spring Park/11th Ave spur trail for the safety of all trail users.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is closed to biking from the Mounds Spring spur to Old Cedar Avenue trailhead.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 9551 Old Cedar Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425 or 11135 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420
Trail Length (mi)
4.77
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Point to point
View Trail

Carver Creek Loop Trail

Trail Length (mi)
2.21
View Trail

Carver Rapids Trails

Trail Length (mi)
2.64
View Trail

Chaska Lake Trail

Starting from either the Chaska Athletic Park or Riverside Park in Carver, the trail winds through floodplain forest along the MN River, as well as passing wetlands, Chaska Lake, former farm fields and a wooded slough. This trail is mostly flat and floods seasonally.

Open Season: Open year round: walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Length: 1.7 miles one way
Surface : Natural surface
Trailhead Address: 725 W 1st St, Chaska, MN 55318
Trail Length (mi)
1.78
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Cliff Fen Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.12
Route Type
Point to point
View Trail

Forest Loop Trail

Leaving from the asphalt trail below the Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center, this mostly level trail courses through oak and hickory forest, with a brief view of a slough connecting to Long Lake. View wood ducks in the slough and listen for frogs calling.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Surface: natural surface
Trailhead address: 5865 Rapids Lake Rd, Carver, MN 55315
Trail Length (mi)
0.63
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
View Trail

Hillside Trail

This loop trail descends steeply into floodplain forest to an observation platform overlooking Peterson Pond. Look for migratory waterfowl, turtles and beaver or muskrats before ascending back up towards the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center through restored prairie.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing in winter. Not open to biking or horseback riding.
Length: .4 mile loop
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425
Trail Length (mi)
0.43
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Route Type
Loop
View Trail

Hogback Ridge Trail

The one-way Hogback Ridge Trail connects the Bass Ponds and Old Cedar Ave trailheads. Travel west past the stocked fishing ponds, fishing dock, marshes and Long Meadow Lake for exceptional bird watching and easy walking. These trails are flat and may experience seasonal flooding. Stocked fishing ponds are available.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 2501 86th St E, Bloomington, MN 55425
Trail Length (mi)
2.42
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Long Meadow Lake Trail

With a trailhead 0.4 miles from the METRO Blue Line American Blvd station, this trail begins below the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center heading south and west through floodplain forest and marshlands. Travel 3.5 miles to the Hwy 77 pedestrian bridge or continue 3.7 miles on a minimally maintained single-track trail to the Lyndale Ave trailhead and boat launch. Hike, bike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski this rustic trail. This trail is mostly flat and floods seasonally.

Open Season: Open year round: walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Length: 3.5 miles one way (continues 3.7 miles single track
Surface : Natural surface
Trailhead Address: 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425, or 11135 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420
Trail Length (mi)
5.38
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Mazomani Trail

Mazomani Trail North
Information: Starting at the W 145 St parking area go 0.4 miles south past the kiosks to the trail junction. Travel west to loop back to the parking area via the State Access Trail. Enjoy a beautiful vista above Louisville Swamp where soaring hawks and Yellow warblers can be seen.

Open season: Open year round - walking, cycling spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat tire biking in the winter.
Length: 2.8 miles one way
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 3801 W 145th St, Shakopee, MN 55379

Mazomani Trail South
Information: Starting at the W 145 St parking area go 0.4 miles south to the trail junction. Continue south passing the historic Ehmiller home site. Cross the bridge over Sand Creek at 0.8 miles. The trail goes through upland forest, across creeks and past wetlands until it meets Middle Road. Head east, passing a large glacial erratic boulder. Travel west 1.6 miles through forest to Jabs Farm historic site. Return same way.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to cycling.
Length: 3.8 miles one way
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 3801 W 145th St, Shakopee, MN 55379
Trail Length (mi)
5.60
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Middle Road Trail

Middle Road passes through areas of marsh, crosses a large stream, and passes the junction with the Mazomani Trail South, then wanders through restored prairie and forest until it meets the State Trail junction heading south. This trail experiences seasonal flooding.

Open Season: Open year round: walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to cycling.
Length: 1.5 miles one way
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 3801 W 145th St, Shakopee, MN 55379
Trail Length (mi)
1.44
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Minnesota River Bridge Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.54
View Trail

Minnesota River Greenway Trail

This trail is short, yet is steep and contains stairs. The trail descends steeply into floodplain forest to an observation platform overlooking Peterson Pond. Look for migratory waterfowl, turtles and beaver or muskrats before ascending back up toward the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center through restored prairie.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing in winter. Not open to biking or horseback riding.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: Bloomington Education and Visitor Center 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425
Trail Length (mi)
3.77
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Route Type
Loop
View Trail

Minnesota Valley State Trail (Long Meadow Lake Unit)

Trail Length (mi)
1.16
View Trail

Minnesota Valley State Trail (Louisville Swamp Unit)

From north to south through the refuge, the trail passes the State Access Trail then drops to cross a bridge over Sand Creek. It veers west to follow the river most of the way through the Louisville Swamp Unit. The trail passes a junction with Middle Road before exiting the Refuge. This trail is mostly flat and floods seasonally.

Open Season: Open year round: walking, horseback riding, cycling spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat tire biking and snowmobiling in the winter.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 3801 W 145th St, Shakopee, MN 55379
Trail Length (mi)
5.65
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Minnesota Valley State Trail (Wilke Unit)

Trail Length (mi)
1.90
View Trail

North Hunter Lot Trail

Trail Length (mi)
2.11
View Trail

North Hunter Lot Trail Spur

Trail Length (mi)
0.27
View Trail

Prairie Loop Trail

Explore the restored prairie around the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing in winter. Not open to biking or horseback riding.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: Bloomington Education and Visitor Center 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425
Trail Length (mi)
0.23
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

Rapids Lake Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.16
View Trail

River Bottoms Trail

From the parking area at Bloomington Ferry, a trail begins next to the kiosk heading southeast. It follows the river for most of its route, passing Opus Marsh at 0.6 mi. For more than a half mile, the trail winds through very large cottonwoods, then crosses a small stream, before exiting refuge lands.

Open Season: Open year round: walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to biking.
Length: 1.8 miles one way (refuge portion from Bloomington Ferry to Izaak Walton, trail extends to Lyndale Landing)
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead address: 11255 Bloomington Ferry Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438 or 7701 County Road 101 E, Shakopee, MN 55379

Note: the trail continues to Lyndale/Sorensen Landing in the Long Meadow Lake Unit, crossing privately owned and City of Bloomington property for an additional distance of about 4 miles. The Refuge does not promote entering private property.
Trail Length (mi)
8.68
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail

River's Edge Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.06
View Trail

South Hunter Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.11
View Trail

State Access Trail

Known as State Trail Access trail. This straight, level trail goes 1 mile to a junction with the Minnesota Valley State Trail to the north. Continue west on the State Access Trail to join the Mazomani Trail to the south and loop back to the parking area.

Open season: Open year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the winter. This trail is open to cycling.
Surface: Natural surface
Trailhead Address: W 145 St. 3801 W 145th St, Shakopee, MN 55379
Trail Length (mi)
1.19
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
View Trail