|Distance||1.8 miles roundtrip|
- One of the best views of Downtown St. Paul
- The entrance to Carver's Cave
- Pleasant prairie contrasting industrial facilities
Tucked between the high sandstone and limestone bluffs near the Mississippi River and some railroad tracks near Downtown St. Paul, the urban location for this park starkly contrasts the freshly restored nature within. Historically, this was a sacred Dakota site home to Wakan Tipi, now known as Carver's Cave, with burial mounds located on top of the bluffs. As America expanded into the Minnesota territory and St. Paul was settled, those pioneers built the North Star Brewery directly in the side of the bluff. You can see some of the remnants of the brewery here today. Only a little over a half mile from the edge of downtown, this is a close spot for a quick walk on one of those summer days you don't want to waste sitting in your office staring out the window.
Note that I took a slightly different route that most people probably do because I was actually looking for Indian Mounds Regional Park (which is just a bit further down Mounds Boulevard) and ended up hiking here on accident (I was quite perplexed when I parked in a labeled "Indian Mounds Regional Park" and couldn't find any burial mounds). There's actually a dedicated parking lot (directions) for this park, and you don't have to climb up and down the bluffs. However, I think the St. Paul skyline view pictured below is worth the extra effort, and we could all use a little cardio anyway.
That's it for this adventure, and I hope you enjoy this little slice of nature tucked away in this strange industrial place. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!
Dogs are allowed on leash. This hike is short and family friendly, and you can cut out the portion that involves climbing the bluffs to make it even easier. You can access the trail in all four seasons. Given its strange location, I wouldn't expect that many people hike this trail on the weekends, but take that with a grain of salt given that I hiked this on a wintry Friday afternoon.
From Downtown St. Paul, take Interstate 94 east and exit at Mounds Boulevard. Turn right at the light, then continue straight to stay on Mounds Boulevard. Park in the lot on the right side of the road with a sign for Indian Mounds Regional Park.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There are no facilities at this lot.