The Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail runs southwest from the Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins to the eastern edge of Chaska. The 13-mile trail occupies a former rail corridor originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway and later abandoned by the Chicago and North Western Railway. The right-of-way is now owned by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), who intends to use a short portion of the corridor in Hopkins for a future light rail line. Fortunately, the HCRRA plans to maintain the existing trail alongside the new transit option.
Begin your journey in Hopkins at the Depot Coffee Househoused in a restored train stationand trailhead between Excelsior Boulevard and Milwaukee Street. The site also contains the western endpoints for the similarly-named North Cedar Lake Regional Trail/Cedar Lake Trail
and Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail
, which ultimately both take trail users to the heart of Minneapolis. Just west of the trailhead, a short trek up 8th Avenue will connect bikers, walkers and runners with the scenic Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail
The Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail passes a number of industrial and commercial properties in Hopkins before emerging into open space next to Shady Oak Lake. Much of the rest of the route consists of a similar landscape, although residential neighborhoods make up the scenery in Eden Prairie. Popular Miller Park emerges just past State Route 5/Arboretum Boulevard. The park contains several ball fields and stunning views of Mitchell Lake.
Shortly after the trail bridge over busy US 212, the pathway runs through the grounds of Bearpath Golf and Country Club. At Riley Lake Park, play a game of softball, tennis or volleyball, or go for a swim in the park's namesake lake. The trail finally reaches its endpoint in Chaska after a serene trek though a gorgeous mixture of open fields and forest.
Parking for the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail can be found at a number of points along the trail's route. In Hopkins, park at the Depot Coffee House and trailhead between Excelsior Boulevard and Milwaukee Road or at the lot on Excelsior Boulevard at the foot of 8th Avenue. In Eden Prairie, park at Miller Park on US 212 just west of Eden Prairie Road. Alternatively, park at Riley Lake Park on Riley Lake Road north of Pioneer Trail. In Chaska, parking can be found in a small dedicated lot where the trail meets Bluff Creek Drive.