Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Variety of trails run through Lake Elmo park

Lake Elmo. Photo courtesy of Washington County Parks.
Trails around scenic ponds, through rolling meadows, and past pretty lakes await day hikers at the Lake Elmo Park Preserve in eastern Minnesota.

To reach the park, from Interstate 94 in Woodbury, take Keats Avenue north. At 10th Street, continue straight/north into the park. Parking lot No. 1 is the first and southern lot; No. 2 is the second and northern lot.

While several trails crisscross the reserve, six trails in particular stand out for day hikers:
Red (Eagle Point) Trail – Among the more park's popular trails, the 3.7-mile loop circles Eagle Point Lake through woods and rolling prairie. Use parking lot No. 1 and head south, going clockwise about the lake.
Blue (Big Bluestem) Trail – The only park trail dedicated solely to hiking/snowshoeing, the 2.5-mile lollipop trail circles two ponds in a meadow. Use parking lot No. 2 and head north at Trail Junction 32.
Orange (Bur Oak) Trail – At 2.1 miles, the looping trail heads past two ponds and a small portion of southeast Lake Elmo. Use parking lot No. 1 and begin the route at Trail Junction 3.
Yellow (Northern Lights) Trail – The 1.2 -miles round trip trail covers the southern portion of the Orange Trail with an additional segment alongside a pond. Park in the same lot and use the same trailhead as for the Orange Trail.
Green (Lake Elmo) Trail – The scenic 2.3-mile loop passes Margaret Lake, Brown's Pond, and the south side of Lake Elmo. Use the same parking lot and trailhead (except go south) as for the Orange and Yellow trails.
Brown (Brown's Pond) Trail – For a loop around Brown's Pond that also passes Margaret Lake, try this 2.6-mile trail. Use the same parking lot and trailhead as for the Green Trail.
Black Trail – The paved trail runs alongside the park entry road through the reserve’s heart and forms a couple of stacked loops on Lake Elmo’s northwest side with some stems to nearby subdivisions.

Each of the trails, except for the Blue and Black, can be cross country skied during winter.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.