Trail

Richard T. Anderson Overlook Trail, Richard T. Anderson Conservatory, Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN
Length: 1.20 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, birding

LENGTH OF HIKES: 1.2 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Loop

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy

ELEVATION GAIN: 100 feet

PARKING FEE/PASS: No

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: Yes

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Yes

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Yes

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Roots and rocks

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Bug spray, water

Finding somewhere close to Minneapolis where you can feel like you’re away from it all can be difficult. Richard T. Anderson Conservatory, a hidden gem only 20 minutes from Minneapolis, grants you the feeling of being in the wilderness
without spending hours in the car. The trails wander up and around hills, along prairie-laden ridges, through a big woods forest, and into sedge meadows, providing an amazing amount of diversity in a short hike.

This area’s protection was truly a community effort. It was saved from development by a bond referendum of local citizens in 1994 and named after a leader of preservation of parks in the city of Eden Prairie. As you share this place with your family, it’s nice to remember the impact each of us has on protecting the wild places in our communities.

The 1.2-mile Overlook Trail takes you through some of the best parts of this park while keeping the distance little-leg friendly. Toddlers will love climbing up the initial hill to another hill overlooking the trees with views across the Minnesota River and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The hill is just steep enough and full of sandy big steps and tree roots to keep kids engaged while not being overly exhausting. The hills throughout the trail are also small enough that they aren’t too hard if you’re pregnant or new to hiking. Plus, there is usually a bench or picnic table to be found at the top of each hill to provide a great spot for snacks or to feed a baby.

Scattered throughout the park are several small creek crossings that provide great splashing opportunities. As you follow the trail, keep a lookout for seven
interpretive signs that describe the ecosystems you’re wandering through. This way you can describe to your kids the plants and animals around you without having to be an expert botanist or birder. Be on the lookout for cedar waxwings,
nighthawks, and if you’re really lucky, a great horned owl.

Like a lot of hikes in Minnesota, fall is the best time of year to visit for the bright reds and oranges of the sugar maples. The cooler temps also mean the mosquitoes are nowhere to be found! On those hot and humid summer days, it’s best to pick
somewhere else to hike as the mosquitoes are known to be overwhelming. In the winter, bring Yaktrax or Microspikes to help with traction; the trail can become ice covered. Springtime is mud time, and the hills can be tricky, so it’s best to let
the trail dry out a bit.

Map of the area http://gis.edenprairie.org/ParkTrails/RTA_Trails.pdf

INSIDER’S TIP
Be on the lookout for the natural spring flowing year-round near the parking lot for a geology lesson. It’s one of two natural springs maintained and tested regularly by the city for water quality. If you have time after your hike, check out the nearby small town of Chaska, MN. Highlights include getting a milkshake at Tommy’s Malt Shop and playing at the amazing beach, playground, and splash pad at City Square Park.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 100 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Creek / River

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“This is our family’s go-to hike when we want to hit the trails quickly and we’re short on time. It’s rarely crowded, and the interconnected trail system gives our toddler son the opportunity to feel in control as we let him pick which way he wants to go at each trail intersection. We know eventually the trails will lead us back to our car no matter which direction he chooses!” —BOBBY MARKO

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.