To call this hike a hiking trail may be a stretch. It was more like a nature trail. It’s incredibly flat and didn’t make you feel like you escaped civilization. For someone who wants a mini escape, or is trying to get back in shape, this is the perfect place.
Welcome to hike 1 of 5 of my Hiking in Eden Prairie Series. Each day this week, I’ll be adding in another great hike that’s included in Eden Prairie’s Conservation Areas.
The Trail at Cardinal Creek Conservation Area
Cardinal Creek Conservation Area is a nice beginner hiking area hidden in some neighborhoods of Eden Prairie. The best place to access it is from the 9 Mile Creek Discovery Point area off of Gerard Road.
They have a nice parking lot and a great interpretive center to explore. The official park map can be found here: OFFICIAL MAP.
Depending on how much you frequent 494 South you may have seen the trail already from the highway. The most notable feature of it is the long boardwalk going through the middle of cattail reeds and bog.
The whole time I felt like there was a fight between man and nature.
The trail buts right up with Highway 494 and the traffic sounds carried 75% of the places. It was hard to escape. On the flip side, there were constant sounds of wildlife all around us. It was like a war to find out who would be louder.
The trail also is right next to people’s property. There were trees blocking the view, but you could still see their houses, taking away some of the magic of the experience.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a fun hike. Once we got away from the houses, I enjoyed myself a lot more.
Even with the sounds of traffic, the bog walk was a huge surprise. It stretched for a long way and sunk when you walked over it. It is an odd feeling whenever you are on a boardwalk.
Further down the trail, there was also a small dam connecting the basin of water to Cardinal Creek. It looked like an infinity pool.
My kids learned why it is so important to stay quiet on the trails. In addition to the birds everywhere, we also found a Beaver.
The second we pointed it out to my 6-year-old, he immediately made a clapping sound that scared him underwater.
I was shocked at how close we were to it. Maybe it’s because the MN Zoo Beavers are so elusive, but I always consider a Beaver sighting a treat!
Would I Go Again?
Yes, but only because it was interesting and close to home. I like a little more challenge on my hikes. I was looking for a little more.