"Hay" there! Fall is the perfect time to embrace the beautiful colors and changing of seasons. And what better way to spend a fall day then visiting some stunning parks and fall festivals in Minneapolis Northwest! We've gathered our top picks to make the most of the season and share your adventures with the world, with just a phone in hand!
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Choose your own adventure at the beautiful nearly 5,000-acre Elm Creek Park Reserve, whether it is biking or hiking the endless miles of paved trails or relaxing in the chalet! For more adventure, hit up the more than a dozen miles of single-track mountain biking trails. And don't forget your pup! The park also boasts an extensive 29-acre dog off-leash area.
Mississippi Gateway Regional Park
Experience serenity and natural beauty with breathtaking views of the changing leaves as you paddle down the Mississippi at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park. Don't have a kayak?! No problem! Simply rent a kayak through the Mississippi River Paddle Share program. All you have to do is reserve a kayak online, pick it up at the rental station (along with a life jacket), enjoy the ride, and return it to the designated return station. If paddling doesn't float your boat, hike or bike the nature trails along the river. No matter what mode of movement you choose, you're sure to enjoy some spectacular views and possibly even some wildlife!
Palmer Lake Park
For a nature escape just a few minutes outside bustling downtown Minneapolis, take a hike around Palmer Lake Park. As you wander the meandering trails, you'll forget you're even in the Twin Cities area! It's also a great place to do some birdwatching, as you can often spot American Redstart, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. And if you've added running a 5K to your bucket list, the 3.1-mile paved loop offers the perfect training route.
Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze
Nothing says fall like getting lost in a corn maze! You'll find this ultimate fall experience at Minnesota's largest corn maze, Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze. This year, the festival will be open every day from Sept. 19 through Nov. 1. Due to COVID precautions, there will be no petting zoo, but leashed pets are allowed! There will also be hayrides, a pumpkin patch, and a sunflower field to explore.
Fish Lake Regional Park
Hike, bike, paddle and more! The opportunities to explore are never-ending at Fish Lake Regional Park. The relaxing wooded lakeside setting provides the perfect canvas for the fall colors. Rent kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddle boards to experience the fun, or bring a group of friends and have a wild ride on the SUP Squatch, a giant stand-up paddle board for groups of 6-20 people. You can also bring your pup for some exercise and socialization in the dog off-leash area.
Historic Eidem Farm
Step back to a typical harvest season in the turn of the 20th century during Fall on the Farm at Historic Eidem Farm on Oct. 10. This educational event lets kids and families experience what it meant to “put up” for the winter. Enjoy tractor wagon rides around the property and a visit with the farm animals.
North Mississippi Regional Park
Did we mention we have some pretty spectacular views of the Mississippi in our area?! Another great spot for viewing the fall colors and paddling the river is North Mississippi Regional Park. You would never guess this peaceful nature oasis is right off a major freeway! You will find abundant wildlife in action: a Great Blue Heron nesting on an island, deer foraging, a beaver felling trees, hawks and eagles soaring overhead. Come back in the summer, when the prairie flowers provide ever-changing color. Walking trails meander through the prairie and along the shores of the river. Bike trails traverse the park and connect with Webber Parkway and commuter routes into downtown Minneapolis.