About Regional Parks and Trails

Parks and trails offer delightful variety of landscapes and activities

Two people kayaking.From swimmable urban lakes to rural nature centers, and cabins tucked in the woods to prairie campgrounds, the regional parks and trails in the seven-county Twin Cities area offer natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and moments of magic.

Our regional parks and trails provide diverse opportunities for play, physical challenge, family and cultural gatherings, and solitude. The parks system also protects valuable natural resources and wildlife habitats, helps address climate change, and provides health and happiness for our communities, now and into the future.

Regional parks system at a glance

  • 56 regional parks and park reserves
  • 8 special recreation features (for example, Como Park Zoo & Conservatory and Gale Woods Farm)
  • Nearly 55,000 acres open for public use
  • Regional trails totaling nearly 400 miles
  • 63.3 million visits in 2019—millions more than the Mall of America

By 2040, we plan to expand the regional parks system to nearly 70,000 acres and 1,100 miles of trails.

What makes a park “regional?”

Regional parks are lands located in a high quality natural resource setting that adjoin lakes, rivers, or other water bodies. They often extend into multiple jurisdictions. Regional trails may traverse several municipalities and connect regional parks, park reserves, and the greater trail network in the region. Regional parks and trails draw visitors from across the metro area and beyond. They are the regional equivalent of state parks.

The system has grown and thrived for more than four decades through a unique collaboration among public sector agencies across the area.