Trails Report

Flooding on Long Meadow Lake Trail by Gina Hatch

Trails are open year-round, from sunrise to sunset. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge trails range from rustic and wild to paved with more park-like amenities.  Need help choosing your adventure?  Check out the Visitor Activities page.  As a reminder, off-trail travel is prohibited.


Trail conditions are updated as reports are submitted by Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge staff and volunteer trail rangers.  Submit a trail report by emailing MinnesotaValley@fws.gov.  Information about individual trails can be found below. 

Trail conditions key:

OPENNo obstacles, surfaces and trail edges are well defined, minimal user impacts. 
CAUTIONSome obstacles may be present,  trail tread may be uneven or trail edges may be overgrown. 
CLOSEDImpassible; may be overgrown, flooded, or closed to public access due to safety hazard etc.  

Conditions can change rapidly. Be sure to check back frequently for updates on conditions and closures!  
Click the city area headings to view trail descriptions and find links to maps.

Trail NameCondition  Notes                         

Bloomington Area East (Long Meadow Lake Unit)  

 
Hillside TrailOPENSome gullies present. Watch your footing.
Spur TrailOPENThis connection spur is open between Hillside Trail and Long Meadow Lake Trail. Expect intermittent closures along the Long Meadow Lake Trail through April 2021. Please do not enter work zones while closures are in place. 
Long Meadow Lake Trail CLOSED Xcel Energy is conducting maintenance work that requires a closure to all public access to the entire length of this trail. More information here. Closure will continue along the Long Meadow Lake Trail through April 2021. Please do not enter work zones while closures are in place.
Bass Ponds LoopOPEN 
Hogback Ridge TrailOPEN 
Old Cedar Avenue: Observation BoardwalkOPEN 
Old Cedar Avenue: Bridge/Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional TrailCAUTION Expect work along the Long Meadow Lake Trail through April 2021. No access to Long Meadow Lake Trail from Old Cedar Avenue Bridge during intermittent closures. Please do not enter work zones while closures are in place. The Nokomis-Minnesota River Trail is managed by Three Rivers Park District
Bluff Trail     CAUTION Water over trail between Old Cedar Avenue parking lot and Bluff Trail. Trail very icy. To access the Bluff Trail from the west at Lyndale Landing, use the new paved segment of the Minnesota State Trail.

Cyclist reminder: Permanent closure to all cycling from Indian Mounds spur to Old Cedar Avenue parking area. 

Bloomington Area West (Bloomington Ferry Unit) 

 
Bloomington Ferry Trail   CAUTIONCyclists exercise caution. Trail goes close to receding river bank.
Minnesota River BottomsCAUTIONThis trail is groomed. NOTE: A small section of trail has been closed just east of the Bloomington Ferry trailhead due to receding river bank. Use alternate route and exercise caution where trail meets river bank. Trail is groomed from Lyndale Landing at 35W to Bloomington Ferry Bridge.
Minnesota Valley State TrailCLOSED Beginning December 28, 2020, the trail section under the Highway 169 bridge will be closed until March 2021 to all public access and pedestrian/cyclist use. For more information about the ongoing habitat restoration project within the Wilkie Unit click here.

This trail is managed by the Minnesota DNR and crosses refuge lands. 

Burnsville Area (Black Dog Unit) 

 
Cliff Fen Trail CAUTIONWatch footing around culverts and observation platform. Flooding has eroded trail tread. Do not attempt to cross.
Minnesota River GreenwayOPENThis trail is managed by Dakota County

Shakopee Area (Wilkie Unit) 

 

Minnesota River TrailOPEN 
Minnesota Valley State TrailCLOSED Beginning December 28, 2020, the trail section under the Highway 169 bridge will be closed until March 2021 to all public access and pedestrian/cyclist use. For more information about the ongoing habitat restoration project within the Wilkie Unit click here.


This trail is managed by the 
Minnesota DNR and crosses refuge lands.

Shakopee Area (Louisville Swamp Unit)

 
Minnesota Valley State Trail CAUTIONMinneosta DNR managed trail; The Minnesota Valley State Trail is closed from the Thompson Ferry Landing to Louisville Swamp. Construction will begin soon on the bridge connecting the state trail to Memorial Park in Shakopee. There will be periodic trail closures until June 2021 between Bluff Avenue East and Memorial Park.
State Access TrailOPEN 
Mazomani TrailOPENThis trail is groomed. Jabs Dike across Louisville Swamp is blown out and impassible.  Please plan your trip accordingly.
Middle RoadOPEN 
Duck LaneOPEN 

Chaska Area (Chaska Unit) 

 
Chaska Lake Trail     OPEN 
Levee TrailOPEN 
Minnesota Valley State TrailOPENMinneosta DNR managed trailPaved portion of this trail is open from Chaska to Shakopee

Carver/Jordan Area (Rapids Lake Unit) 

 
Rapids Lake TrailCAUTIONTrail overgrown. Area impassable, and use not recommended 
Forest Loop TrailOPEN 
North Hunter Lot TrailOPEN 
Carver Creek Loop TrailCAUTIONThis trail is groomed. NOTE: Trail is overgrown in areas and may be difficult to follow


Winter Trail Etiquette

There are many ways to get outside and enjoy winter on our trails. From hiking and biking, to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, trails on the refuge are multi-use, and a little courtesy goes a long way!
 
Here are our top tips for winter trail etiquette: 
  • Some trails are groomed for skiing and bicycling in the winter. Let groomed trails set up for a few hours before using them. 
  • Keep up to date on trail conditions by bookmarking this webpage and referring to it before you set out on your visit.
  • Adjust your bike tire pressure down to increase floatation on snow, and minimize rutting of snowy trail surfaces. 
  • Have fun, and be respectful! 
  • Cyclists should yield to foot travel (hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing). 
  • Leave trails in the same or better condition than when you found them. 
  • Pick up trash and pack it out. Not all trailheads have public trash receptacles, so please plan on packing out pet waste and other trash generated during your visit.

 

Trail Maps

 
 

Road Closures


Safety Reminder

Do not enter flood waters!  If you encounter flooded trails, turn around.  Flood waters can move quickly, erode trail surfaces, and be filled with debris.  Do not try to walk or bike across flooded areas at any time. 

During Minnesota's hunting season, it is strongly recommended that trail users wear an article of blaze orange/pink while visiting the following units: Wilkie, Louisville Swamp, St. Lawrence, Rapids Lake, Jessenland, and Blakely Units. Stay on the trail!  For more information about hunting on the Refuge, visit our Hunting page.

Contact us for specific questions about trails, access, or to share your observations.