Goldenrod Trail Loop

Anderson Lakes Park Reserve, Minnesota

Trip Date: Friday, August 25th, 2017
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★☆☆(3/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 2 miles roundtrip
Time 1 hour
Terrain A few hills
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly No
Accessible No


Hike Summary

This is the perfect weeknight trail: it's short with just enough curves and up and down to keep it interesting, the nature is pretty, and it's a short drive from many places in the Twin Cities. The park is right next to noisy U.S. Highway 169, and the scenery isn't quite good enough to make this worth the drive for anywhere beyond cities neighboring Bloomington. However, the parks throughout the Twin Cities are high quality, and there are many similar trail options for you in other locations: Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Tony Schmidt Regional Park in Arden Hills, Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul, and Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove.

Three Rivers Park District prohibits dogs on unpaved trails; signs in this park lead me to believe that dogs were previously allowed on the whole loop, but they've since updated their policy to stay consistent with the rest of their parks system. As such, dog owners can only do the short paved portion of this hike (around 1 mile roundtrip). This is definitely a family friendly hike and would be great for expending your kids' post-dinner energy. Winter use of this trail is unclear based on the park's website (this park is technically part of Hyland Lake Park Reserve and the PDF map for winter does not show the Anderson Lakes portion of the park), but my guess is the trail is unmaintained in winter and you are free to hike at your own risk. I hiked this on a Friday afternoon and saw one other person. Given the small parking lot, I wouldn't expect there to be many people even on weekends, especially now that dogs are banned from the unpaved portion.

From the parking lot, follow the paved trail, then turn left at the first intersection -- turning right takes you to the Anderson Lakes Parkway. Shortly after the trail becomes unpaved, there will be another trail on the left. That trail shortens the loop slightly and features more goldenrods (the picture at the top of the page was taken from that trail). Go straight to stay on course, or turn left if you want a shorter hike. After bending to the left, the trail follows Anderson Lake at a distance; however, the vegetation is too thick to give you much of a view, although it is likely that you could see the lake in early spring or late fall. The last part of the trail has views of a marsh with more goldenrods on the right side as pictured below. The trail eventually ends at the road to the parking lot, so turn left to follow the sidewalk back to the lot.

Goldenrods bloom next to the marsh

Goldenrods bloom next to the marsh
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If you hiked this at the right time of year (August and September), you will understand why this is called the Goldenrod Trail. Nonetheless, this is a decent trail close to home that you can enjoy any season* (jury is still out on winter). Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!


Take Interstate 494 to U.S. Highway 169 heading south. Exit at Anderson Lakes Parkway, then turn right. Turn right at the first driveway ahead -- it should have a Three Rivers Park District sign.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Parking is free at all Three Rivers Park District parks and trails. There are no facilities at this lot.

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External Links