Hike Pike Island Loop at Fort Snelling State Park

hike pike island loop at fort snelling state park

Hike the Pike Island Loop

There are many beautiful places to hike in Minnesota, but the Pike Island trail is a bit of a hidden gem I only recently discovered.

Popular with hikers, runners, and families, Pike Island only gets more beautiful as the colors continue to change each season. The first time I visited Pike Island, the fall colors were beginning to give little pops of orange. I’ve returned during a few different seasons, and find each one to be lovely in its own way. This is a peaceful, and quiet walk. It’s a wonderful way to find some solitude without leaving the Twin Cities.

hike pike island loop at fort snelling state park
hike pike island loop at fort snelling state park

Parking and Trail Options

Pike Island is part of Fort Snelling State Park. You can either drive into the state park, where you will need to pay a fee, or you can park at Historic Fort Snelling, which is free. From there you can walk to Pike Island.

The trails are poorly marked and at times we were uncertain which way to go. We did find a few trail maps scattered around the island, but they weren’t super clear. We took the longer trail, which circles the entire island. There are a few options to cut across the island for shorter loops. Depending on where you begin and which path you take, your hike could be anywhere from one mile to four miles in length.

Spend Time in Nature

Along this loop, you may discover trees toppled over by beavers, or carved into by beetles. Or maybe you’ll find a snail shell, moss, wildflowers, or a bald eagle circling overhead. Whatever season you visit, you’ll be sure to find something unique if you look around carefully.
Do your best to leave what you see undisturbed. If you discover any berries or mushrooms, don’t eat them unless you’re certain they are safe. And when you’ve completed your hike, be sure to check yourself thoroughly for ticks.

A Remote Park within the City

The Mississippi River side of the island has a sandy beach and families often swim and boat in warm weather. You can also see Crosby Farm Regional Park across the river. It’s a beautiful spot and definitely a hidden gem. It’s an easy way to see the stunning fall colors in October, bursts of green in May, or a quiet snowy trail in January without ever leaving the Twin Cities. Looking for more ideas? Check out my blog post on Crosby Farm Regional Park, which is across the river from Pike Island!

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