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The great thing about Rochester's extensive trail system is that it gives you the best of both words: not only are the trails great for recreation out in nature, they are also convenient for commuters trying to get errands done without driving. Bear Creek Trail is a case in point. The trail starts in downtown Rochester and meanders along the waterway, running through residential areas, parks and businesses.
The trail is packed with greenery, from open fields to shady woods. Underpasses under major streets allow for an uninterrupted and relaxed journey. The parks along the trail include (from north to south): Mayo Memorial Park, Slatterly Park, Bear Creek Park, McQuillan Fields and the Jean and Carl Frank Canine Park. Other points of interested that can be reached via the trail include the Rochester Civic Center, the Arts Center, Mayo High School, Longfellow Middle School and a mix of businesses.
If you are interested in a loop rather than going out and back, from the dog park you can use the sidewalk along 11th Avenue north until you get to Mayo High School, then make a right to take the trail that goes behind the school's athletic fields back to Bear Creek Park.
Parking is available in the parks along the trail: Slatterly Park (950 11th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904); Bear Creek Park (1237 Marion Rd SE); McQuillan Fields (1655 Marion Road SE, Rochester); and Jean and Carl Frank Canine Park (1839 Pinewood Rd SE, Rochester).
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