Living in an urban environment does not mean there is no opportunity to exercise outdoors. St. Paul has many fine walking and biking trails, some of which pass through sites of historical interest. The best way to get to know a city is by walking through it since you see much more than you might from a car or bus. Walking is good exercise for the body and the mind, and it is a wonderful way for families to spend time together.
The Bruce Vento Trail
This trail runs through St. Paul, beginning near downtown at 4th St. and ending at Phalen Park. The trail is actually owned by a rail company and is being considered for a light rail line, so now is the time to see it. It runs through Swede Hollow, a former settlement, and passes close to the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The spur of the trail is just over 6 miles long, and its widely paved paths are perfect for walking, biking, and skating.
The Gateway State Trail
The Gateway Trail is a converted rail trail which crosses the Bruce Vento Trail. It begins at the intersection of Cayuga and L’Orient Streets, and meanders northeast to Pine Point Regional Park. It is about 18 miles long and, like many walking trails in St. Paul, it is paved, which makes it ideal for walkers of all ages. The trail is also used by bikers and skaters, but walkers have access to a natural surface path which parallels the main trail.
Lake Como Park Trail
The Lake Como Park Trail is located near the center of St. Paul and runs around Lake Como on Department of Natural Resources land. Since the trail is only 1.7 miles long, it is an easy walk for people of all ages and physical conditions. It is near the Como Zoo, making it a perfect spot for family outings; it also allows access to the conservatory, fairgrounds, restaurants, and other points of interest. Like most trails within the city limits, it is paved for easy walking, running, and biking.
The Sam Morgan Regional Trail
This trail runs along the Mississippi waterfront, through the city of St. Paul, and it is a paved trail with a nearly constant view of the river. The trails is wide and fairly smooth, making it good for walking, running, biking, and skating. Travelers may encounter pockets of debris on the trail since there are redevelopment projects in progress along the riverfront. There are areas which cross railroad tracks and some industrial development sites in the 5.5 mile stretch, but the path is still extremely lovely.
Trout Brook Trail
Trout Brook Trail is located at Lake McCarron’s County Park and links to Gateway Trail; it also runs through the Trillium Nature Sanctuary. At some point in the future, an extensive expansion is planned by the city of St. Paul for both the trail and the sanctuary. Like many of the walking trails in the city, the trail is an abandoned railway corridor, and as such, it is paved and smooth. The full trail totals thirty miles, but walkers who don’t aspire to marathon status can chose to walk different segments each day until they complete the trail.
There are over 75 miles of paved walking and biking trails located within the city of St. Paul. All of them provide a wonderful look at many different aspects of the city, in addition to offering many exercise opportunities. Residents and tourists will enjoy the unique beauty of the different trails which provide moderate exercise for people of every fitness level. Some of the trails have handicap access, allowing the physically disabled to enjoy a pleasant day of fresh air and sunshine.