Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail


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Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Carver, Hennepin
Length: 19.91 miles
Trail end points: Excelsior Blvd. and Milwaukee St. (Hopkins) and Carver Bluffs Parkway and Carver Creek Circle
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032114

Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail Description

The Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail runs southwest from the Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins to Carver Bluffs Parkway and Carver Creek Circle. The trail is over 19 miles in length and 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 House—housed in a restored train station—and 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 at Carver Bluffs Parkway and Carver Creek Circle. 

A section of the trail in Chanhassen was closed since 2014 due to erosion and damage from mud slides. However, as of July 2021, Carver County has completed repairs and reopened the damaged section of trail.

Parking and Trail Access

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, and at the intersection with the Chaska Ravine Trail off of Engler Boulevard.

Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail Reviews

Fun gravel ride

This has been on my to-do list for a while. Finally did it out-back from Hopkins and it didn’t disappoint. Great views and interesting scenery. The signage could be better around highway 62 and in Chaska, but it’s pretty good elsewhere. Looking forward to riding it again next year!

Still snow and ice

Today was 60 degrees, the warmest day of 2022 so far. Got out there to run. Lots of other people using the trail. Beautiful overlooks! The path into Eden Prairie from Chaska is largely unpaved. Some snow and ice still covers the ground.

Avoid this trail!

I'm giving this trail a one-star rating for it's current stage of chaos. Avoid it if you can. This is an otherwise great trail; however, the southwest light rail project makes it next to impossible to enjoy. I would avoid this trail until the project is done AND until the western end of the trail is repaired, which has been in disrepair for years!

Nice trail through small towns and suburbs and nature!

I started at trail's end in Carver. Make sure to park by the Casey's store as there isn't much more farther down. There is a section of this trail (between 101 and Pioneer Trail) that is closed. The detour is noted miles before you see you can't get through, so pay attention to that. The detour also takes you on some roads, so be prepared for that. Lovely when you get about midway through.


Very good bike and jalk/walk trail

Very good bike and jalk/walk trail

beware of closure

This trail needs better signage. Unless you're a local it's easy to get lost jogging around busy intersections that lack clear signage. Once off, it's hard to correct.

Also, near the western end it's closed due to mudslides and erosion. Crushed rock makes this a slow go but at least there's few riders & some nice scenery.

A quick way to beautiful scenery in the burbs

This is one of my favorite getaway trails when I need to get out of the urban area but don't have time for a long drive. You can easily bike to it from the center of Minneapolis or drive out closer and start partway. It goes through some industrial zones, but as you get farther out you see nice suburuban housing and backyard woods/wetlands followed by beautiful vistas overlooking the Minnesota River. It's most flat and gravel but an easy trail to get out of the city and get back in quickly.

north coridor is quiet while south is noisy.

The lake minnetonka trail is nice, rather quiet while the minnestoa river bluffs trail is noisy, crossing freeways and busy roads.

Great flat Family Ride

We ride this trail from Minnetonka Civic Center out to Carver Park with our kids. Very flat, stopping point midway in Excelsior. You can stop at Carver Park which has vending machines and water. Very few crossings so you don't have to worry about your kid getting run down by a car!

Collection of Off and On Road Trail Designations

This is more of a collection of the various designated roads as well as park trails than a single trail. A PDF map of the trail system can be found here: http://www.eminnetonka.com/public_works/parks_trails/trails/new_map.pdf

Some roads designated as trail roads can be quite busy; be careful and be aware.

Kiosks, but few rest rooms.

Considering these are crushed limestone trails in MN they're adequate, however, why have such fancy kiosks but so few restrooms, drinking fountains and benches in the shade. The northern segment (Hopkins to Victoria) is much more scenic & peaceful than the southern route which is chopped up by busy streets & freeways. It also ends abruptly onto busy 212 in Chaska where there is no signage or parking.

Can not wait for summer

"This is a great trail. My friends and I ride this trail till the end, come back to Minneapolis, have lunch at Maynards, and slowly take the rest of the way home. I like the gravel on the trail. I want summer to return.


Like home

"We ride this trail often with friends and relatives who live near it, so it feels like home. Although not the greatest surface (it's one of just a few of Minnesota's best trails that aren't paved), it makes for a cool summer day's ride with frequent shade, lake breezes, and very scenic marshlands. It also gets you to the Victoria House, whose menu often makes the ride more than worthwhile. Recent renovations to the trail are nearly completed, and the construction creates only minor inconvenience."

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