Minnesota is informally known as the land of 10,000 lakes. This route, located 2 miles southwest from Minneapolis downtown, is a great example, featuring three beautiful lakes within a fairly small area; Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles (closest to downtown). The loop around each lake is 3–3.5 miles and a great option for a longer run is to combine all three for an 11-mile loop. Bonus: Maintained in Winter.
There are good connectors between the lakes, and separate paths for running and cycling. You run through beautiful parks and pass by lovely homes, while enjoying spectacular views of the lakes, with the downtown skyline serving as the backdrop. Each lake has a bit of its own character; at the bottom of the chain, Lake Harriet is more residential, Lake Calhoun is the largest, Lake Harriet is the quietest and smallest. There is also one more lake in the northwest: Cedar Lake. The paths are plowed and kept open also during the winter. Water fountains and restrooms available. The Twin Cities Marathon Course incorporates this route.
- 11-mile loop with variation possibilities
- Depends on which lake
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These are very popular year round trails with separated paved pathways for foot traffic and bikers/bladers. I ran there on Sunday Jan 21 on clear blacktop. It was awesome.