Lace up your running shoes and hit the trails along Minneapolis’ downtown riverfront. Not only are you getting a workout, but there is no better way to appreciate the views of the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls.
As of late, Minneapolis has received attention from multiple news sources about its exceptionally healthy and active citizens. Most recently, in 2014, Forbes Magazine published an article called America’s Top 20 Healthiest Cities. Minneapolis won first place, outcompeting Washington D.C. and Boston. The reason why Minneapolitans are so committed to fitness? Well, that cannot be determined with one answer, but what is most likely a big factor is the myriad of running trails available all around the city. An example is the paved 55-mile long Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. This trail is split into 7 interconnected loops, and the most urban and scenic section is the Minneapolis Downtown Riverfront.
What Makes It Great
From the Stone Arch Bridge, there are many options for your running regime. Running south on the west side will take you up and down through Mississippi’s bluff land. There are even exits on the trail that will take you to dirt trails that parallel the paved one. Eventually the trail leads you to Minnehaha Falls, which is the perfect place to rehydrate and take a breather while appreciating the beautiful falls. Going south on the east side takes you through the University of Minnesota campus and to a forested trail that borders the Mississippi River shoreline. There are exits along the way that offer extreme staircase workouts. If you prefer to avoid stairs, the trail uses a switchback at the end and continues to St. Paul.
One of the most popular running routes from the Stone Arch Bridge is the 3.1-mile loop to Boom Island Park. From the Stone Arch Bridge, run north on the west side of the river. Follow the West River Parkway Trail until you reach Plymouth Avenue Bridge. Cross the bridge and loop down to Boom Island below you. There are a couple miles worth of loop trails within the park, but what most people do is run along the Mississippi River. Follow the paved path until you reach an old railroad bridge, which now only holds pedestrian traffic to Nicollet Island. Now this old railroad corridor has transformed into a quiet, forested gravel trail. Cross the bridge and after a short incline, the trail intersects with road traffic. Either explore the rest of the historic Nicollet Island or take a left down E Island Ave until you reach Merriam St. Take a left and then a quick right onto SE Main St and soon enough you are back to the Stone Arch Bridge.
Who is Going to Love It
For those Minneapolitans who are getting sick of running on the treadmill, the Stone Arch Bridge provides runners a plethora of running options.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
With no designated hours and its well-lit paths, the Stone Arch Bridge offers runners great trails day and night. Though, plan accordingly before running late at night; it is a city after all.
Only a few blocks east from the heart of downtown, this trail segment follows alongside the majestic Mississippi River and is a local favorite for a before or after work workout.Apart of the Mill District, it is evident that the area surrounding the bridge is one of the oldest in Minneapolis.