If you’re looking for a regional park experience that is big and busy with a lot of amenities, you have plenty of choices.
But if you want a hefty dose of solitude with your afternoon hike, you can’t do much better than Kingswood Park, a small slice of heaven on the shores of Little Long Lake in west Hennepin County.
Officially called the Kingswood Special Recreation Feature, the park is the newest addition to Three Rivers Park District. Last month, the Metropolitan Council approved funds to add 16 acres to the site, bringing it to 140 acres in all.
Once the home of a church summer camp, Kingswood was acquired by the park district in 2013 to preserve the area’s unique natural resources and features. The park now includes 70% of the lake’s shoreline as well as a rare tamarack bog and a unique glacial landscape.
Simplicity and serenity on the shores of county’s cleanest lake
It’s a great place to visit for hiking and fishing. And because it is mostly undeveloped, it also is serene and uncrowded, said Tom Knisely of Three Rivers Park District.
“Thanks to the glacial terrain limiting runoff into the lake, Little Long Lake is Hennepin County’s cleanest body of water. The lake’s deep, well-oxygenated water is home to trout, a rarity in the Twin Cities, as well as panfish and northern pike,” he said.
“The park is also home to a large stand of the original ‘big woods’ forest comprised mostly of old growth sugar maple and basswood. It’s pretty cool to experience.”
‘Stunning fall colors’ coming soon
Still relatively new within the park district, Kingswood is in the process of undergoing natural resource restoration. Currently open for “interim use,” the park features a short hiking trail and DNR boat launch that provides access to the lake.
In coming years, the property will be maintained in a natural state, and native vegetation restoration will occur as resources allow. A segment of the planned Baker-Carver Regional Trail will run along the park border.
Fall is a great time to experience Kingswood, according to Knisely.
“The fall colors in Kingswood Park can be stunning at times,” he said.