Amazing Eden Prairie Hiking Trails: Forget You Are in the Suburbs
Eden Prairie Hiking Trail seems like an oxymoron. But for some reason, they have some of the best hiking in the Twin Cities!
After having a great time on the Richard T Anderson Conservation Trail, I needed to see what else Eden Prairie had to offer. This is not the only hidden gem in Eden Prairie.
There are actually 5 beautiful trails in the area. Most of these hikes are hidden in neighborhoods, but as soon as you are on the trail, you couldn’t tell. I’m sure the local residents aren’t thrilled that I’m giving away their closely kept secrets. But you gotta check these amazing Hiking Trails in Eden Prairie.
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Hiking in Eden Prairie Conservation Trails Ranked
The Eden Prairie Conservation Trails extend to all four corners of Eden Prairie. Every hike has its own ecosystem and no two are alike. They vary in difficulty from easy, to challenging. I guarantee if you try one, you’ll want to do them all. Grab your Water Bottle and check em out!
Cardinal Creek Conservation Area Hiking Trail (Easy 1.5 Miles)
Cardinal Creek is a wetland near the Eastern Border of Eden Prairie. You may have seen the trail from highway 494, headed south. It’s most recognizable by the bog boardwalk through the cattails. This trail is easy for everyone to do. Also, stay quiet on the trail. The wildlife was very active with birds and frogs calling. We even spotted a beaver in the pond.
Park at the 9 Mile Creek Watershed Discovery Point Center, and take their trail behind the building. From there the trail makes a full loop behind homes. There is a short section on the neighborhood sidewalk where you cross the creek. The rest of the time you are in either a wooded or boggy area. MAP
Edenbrook Conservation Area Hiking Trail (Easy 3.3 Miles)
Within the wetlands of Eden Prairie, this hike has you escaping into a habitat like no other. Located in the Nothern part of EP, this is a fun conservation area with a labyrinth of trails. The hiking trail consists of 40% boardwalk due to all the bogs you cross.
The other portion is in grasslands or woods. The Edenbrook Conservation Area hiking trail has a small loop in the center and branches off. It contains two overlook areas that diverge. I recommend doing them both if you can and doubling back on the trail. It’s worth it! MAP
Lower Purgatory Creek Conservation Area Hiking Trail (Moderate 2.4 Miles)
The Lower Purgatory Creek Trail is a great wooded hike with rushing creek views. The trail is behind a few neighborhoods in South Western Eden Prairie. It follows along Purgatory Creek crossing over and over it again for about 1.2 miles.
At the end of the trail, you can take tall staircases up to adjoining neighborhoods. After that double back, making the entire hike 2.4 miles. The trail has slight hills, and some roots on the trail to be mindful of.
There is a parking lot at Homeward Hills Park, near the baseball fields. Cross Homewards Hills and take a left at the sidewalk. Take the first paved path on your right a few houses down. After crossing the creek, you’ll see the trailhead on the right. MAP
Riley Creek Conservation Area Hiking Trail (Moderate – Hills 1.5 Miles or More)
The Riley Creek Conservation Area Hiking Trail starts in a neighborhood park. There are many loops to explore and even a branch off to a neighborhood. If you complete the largest loop, it’s only about 1.5 miles.
Some of the most vibrantly green plants. I’ve ever seen in one area.
What’s fascinating about this trail, is that it’s a completely different ecosystem than the Richard T Anderson Trail a few miles away. Instead of steep hills, there are switchback trails making it an easier hike to start with. The landscape is always changing elevation but you rarely notice it.
The trail comes with a few cool features, like cows, a creek to stick your feet in, and some trees to climb over. If climbing trees isn’t your thing, they can be easily avoided on other loops.
The Eden Prairie Parks department has been actively clearing the trees so they may not be there when you go. For a longer hike, you can always take the branch out trail and double back. MAP
Richard T Anderson Conservation Area Hiking Trail (Challenging – Hilly 2 Miles)
Richard T Anderson Conservation Area is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding hikes in Eden Prairie. There are multiple loops to explore.
The longest loop you can complete is about 2 miles long. Each ‘loop’ has hikers going straight up the bluffs. If you complete them all, you are rewarded with some epic views of the city. I can only imagine what the first people to arrive here must have thought when they climbed this.
There are a port-a-potty, picnic tables, and a natural spring at the start of the trail. This is one of 2 different natural springs in the city. You can park at two different parking lots, or in the adjoining neighborhood to access the trails. MAP
Tips for Hiking in Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie Parks Department has done an excellent job of building and maintaining these trails. So far I’ve never gotten off the beaten track or had to bushwalk through tall grass. I wish more cities would take note. You don’t need any special gear besides a Camera.
With the exception of the Richard T Anderson trail, the parks don’t have maps or trail markers. You should download them on your phone before you leave. Some trails don’t have great GPS access. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on your personal navigation skills.
There may or may not be bathrooms at parking lots. COVID restrictions are making things unpredictable.
Staying Close to Home
For so long, I’ve been focused on the Minnesota State Park Hiking Club Trails, but I should have been hiking local this whole time! I can’t believe the cool stuff there is all within the city limits. I’m still working on getting the Hiking Club Miles too, but in between, I should have been hiking in Eden Prairie! Don’t forget to check out more great things to do in Eden Prairie.