|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. 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 beautiful 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.
If you start at the lot I described under the "Directions" section at the bottom of the page, walk along the trail near the fence preventing you from going down the steep bluffs. Continue following the paved trail as it descends the hill on a side street, then cross the street at the bottom. You'll see the entrance and parking lot for the park on the left, and the trail through the park begins underneath the bridge. Stay left at the junction ahead to hike the unpaved trail. The landscape is flat with prairie grasses on either side and a few scattered trees, much like pictured below.
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.
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