Trails Report

Bass Ponds Trail with trees by Thia Xiong/USFWS

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.

Trail Maps

Trail Etiquette

Refuge trails are multi-use. A little courtesy goes a long way!
Here are our top tips for trail etiquette this spring and summer:
  • Always keep pets on a 6-foot leash. No off-leash areas are present within the refuge and training of hunting dogs is prohibited year-round.
  • Leave No Trace - if you pack it in, pack it out. Trash cans are not available at all trailheads. Please take your refuse and pet waste with you. 
  • Spring rains can create wet or muddy trail conditions. Minimize trail ruts by dismounting bicycles or riding on a drier day. If you must use a wet or muddy trail, ride through it instead of around it to avoid widening the trail corridor. Leave trails in the same or better condition than when you found them!
  • Know your right of way. Cyclists yield to foot travel (hiking, walking, jogging, and dog walking).
  • Some refuge units are open to hunting. During hunting season, we recommend users stay on trail and wear bright colors.
  • Cycling off trail or blazing new trails is prohibited to protect habitat and respect wildlife. Thank you for being a good neighbor!
  • Mind trail closures to avoid putting yourself or others at risk. Trail users have been injured or needed to be rescued from floodwaters after using a closed trail.

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.  

Trail Conditions

Conditions can change rapidly. 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 Click the city area headings below 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.
Long Meadow Lake Trail OPEN 
Bass Ponds LoopOPEN 
Hogback Ridge TrailOPEN 
Old Cedar Avenue: Observation BoardwalkOPEN 
Old Cedar Avenue: Bridge/Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional TrailOPENThe Nokomis-Minnesota River Trail is managed by Three Rivers Park District and intersects with the refuge's Long Meadow Lake Trail
Bluff Trail     OPEN
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   OPEN 
Minnesota River Bottoms OPENNOTE: 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. Sand and silt is present in some low-lying areas, and conditions improve after light rains.
Minnesota Valley State TrailCLOSEDThe trail section under the Highway 169 bridge will be closed to all public access and pedestrian/cyclist use until further notice.

For more information about the ongoing habitat restoration project within the Wilkie Unit, visit the project page.

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

Burnsville Area (Black Dog Unit) 

Cliff Fen TrailCLOSED Culverts have collapsed. Do not attempt to cross. Trail is overgrown and difficult to navigate
Minnesota River GreenwayOPENThis trail is managed by Dakota County

Shakopee Area (Wilkie Unit) 


Minnesota River TrailOPEN 
Minnesota Valley State TrailCLOSEDThe trail section under the Highway 169 bridge will be closed to all public access and pedestrian/cyclist use until further notice.

For more information about the ongoing habitat restoration project within the Wilkie Unit, visit the project page.

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 TrailOPENNOTE: Jabs Dike across Louisville Swamp is blown out and impassible.  Please plan your trip accordingly.
Middle Road OPEN 
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 Trail OPENTrail is maintained to the rapids. NOTE: Trail may be overgrown and unnavigable north of the river rapids. 
Forest Loop TrailOPEN 
North Hunter Lot TrailOPEN 
Carver Creek Loop TrailOPEN 

Road Closures

Safety Reminders

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. 

Hunting occurs at the Refuge. During Minnesota's hunting seasons, 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.